Walmart to compete with grocery stores -- slated to open Sept. 19 in Alpharetta

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. — If someone asked you who is the largest grocery store chain in the country, it’s not likely that Walmart would come to mind.

But, for several years, Walmart’s grocery sales have exceeded their retail sales, which has soared the company to the very top of the grocery chains in the U.S.

Well, look out. Now, the behemoth of low prices is hitting our market with their latest grocery concept planned at the corner of Haynes Bridge Road and Old Milton Parkway in Alpharetta.

The Alpharetta store is scheduled to open Sept. 19.

Although the concept was started in 1988, Walmart is just now opening their smaller sized store that caters only to the grocery buyer, in north metro Atlanta.

The concept was originally known as Walmart Neighborhood Market, but has since rebranded as Walmart Market.

Beginning in 2008, Walmart started an expansion into the smaller Southern markets. The store, with only about 40,000 square feet, is only about one quarter the size of their superstores.

The company hopes to open these smaller stores in more urban areas that they refer to as “food deserts,” where the lack of competition has kept prices higher.

They also plan to go head to head with existing grocery players in our market.

Walmart benefits from their huge buying power while leveraging their supplier market. Although the grocery business has historically had low profit margins, Walmart’s tunnel-like vision on low prices will help keep them ahead of their competition.

The company plans to open 300 of the stores by the end of 2016.

Grocery prices, along with fuel costs, have continued to rise. It’s likely that the low-priced grocery concept will be a winner during periods of rising costs. Many consumers will avoid the higher end gourmet markets. Whereas the gourmet stores may struggle with inflation pressures, Walmart’s buying power as the No. 1 grocery store in the country will keep it a strong competitor in the marketplace.

Brian Patton, CCIM is a commercial real estate broker, author and speaker. He can be reached via www.CapitalListings.com, or 770-634-4848.