Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wal-Mart's New Logo For It's 'Marketside' Small-Format Grocery Stores Unveiled

As we've reported before, Wal-Mart, which is the world's largest company and retailer, is preparing to open three or four small-format grocery stores called Marketside in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan region this summer.

Pictured above is Wal-Mart's Marketside grocery store logo. The logo was published this week on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Website as part of a filing by the retailer. This is one of the first published looks at the Marketside logo.

The 15,000 square foot Marketside stores are similar in size and format to Tesco's Fresh & Easy grocery markets. Tesco has 43 Fresh & Easy stores to date in Arizona, Southern California and Nevada.

The Wal-Mart Marketside stores will be located very close to a number of Fresh & Easy markets in the Phoenix, Arizona suburban region. The three or four mini-Wal-Marts are just the start; more will be coming, likely including in California.

Natural~Specialty Foods Memo, which has been writing about small-format grocery stores and Wal-Mart's Marketside format development for some time, has a piece today on the Marketside logo--along with offering additional information on the store format, including information we haven't read elsewhere.

Global number-one retailer Wal-Mart is really firing a competitive shot at Tesco, the third largest retailer in the world, with its Marketside development. Although Wal-Mart says it isn't the case, the petite grocery stores are an obvious target against Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market stores.

Wal-Mart, which recently became the number one food retailer in the U.S., with about a 20% national market share, isn't about to let Tesco steal share away from it in the USA if it can help it. The small-format Marketside stores are a direct development in that regard, no matter what Wal-Mart says.

In the United Kingdom (UK), where Tesco is the number one retailer (food and general merchandise), it and Wal-Mart, which owns the number two Asda chain, are battling hard as well. Wal-Mart-owned Asda recently launched a major expansion program, aimed directly at trying to take market share from Tesco.

What is developing then is a cross-Atlantic retail battle royal between the world's number one--Wal-Mart--and number three--Tesco--retailers. In the U.S., it's Tesco's Fresh & Easy vs. Wal-Mart's Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets (45,000 square foot supermarkets) and now Marketside, a format which looks very similar to Fresh & Easy. [Note: Wal-Mart created its Neighborhood Market format many years ago. We wonder if they are steamed that Tesco used "Neighborhood Market" as half of their U.S. retail store name, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market?]

In the UK, both Tesco and Asda operate at least five different formats respectively. Tesco is the leader in small-format food retailing in the UK with its Tesco Express stores. The U.S. Fresh & Easy stores were modeled after Tesco Express to a large extent. Asda doesn't have a small format grocery store in the UK. However, perhaps Wal-Mart will enter the segment in Britain with a version of its new Marketside format?

The competition between these two mega-retailers is only going to get hotter; especially this summer when the first Marketside grocery stores open in the Phoenix, Arizona suburbs. At least three of the stores are within a short distance of existing Fresh & Easy grocery markets in the region. That should be interesting.

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