Walmart to put Neighborhood Market in Alpharetta

First one in Georgia as Walmart goes

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Walmart will open a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Alpharetta that will compete directly with Kroger and Publix.

Although there are more than 180 Neighborhood Markets to date (the first Walmart Market opened in 1998 in Bentonville, Ark.), this one along with six other stores in the metro Atlanta area will be the first in Georgia. Walmart corporate communications officer Glen Wilkins said the plans call for refurbishing a former grocery store in the Alpharetta Crossing Shopping Center at the corner of Haynes Bridge Road and Old Milton Parkway.

The 40,000-square-foot store will open in late 2012 carrying a full line of groceries, a pharmacy, health and beauty aids and a “limited selection” of general merchandise.

“We found we needed to fill a gap in our market for the everyday customer who only needs a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread,” Wilkins said. “Our regular Walmart stores can be five or six miles from one another, and we want to find a more convenient solution to pick up the things they may need on a daily basis. It’s a grocery store.”

These smaller stores are also meant to woo shoppers with easier parking, less crowded aisles and quicker checkout.

Wilkins said the Neighborhood Markets will soon be in Snellville and Marietta also. The store will employ 45 to 100 people. The strategy is to fill in where those Walmarts are already.

Wilkins said Walmart is not challenging the big grocery chains. It is instead trying to better serve its customers.

“This is a smaller-basket concept. We know our customers like shopping at Walmart. Sometimes with the challenges of traffic and convenience, it is hard for them to come to our stores. This fills that gap,” Wilkins said. “We want to continue to provide that convenience.”

Walmart will be competitive in price “for the market we are in,” he said. “We will have everyday low prices.”