Wal-Eye Fishes For Fresh & Easy’s Progress

Wal-Mart is keeping a close eye on the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market stores in the U.S., Wal-Mart’s chief merchandising officer told Reuters.

"We have people in those stores every day, every week," said John Fleming at a Bank of America conference. "We continue to monitor the progress that they make."

Tesco has Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets in California, Arizona and Nevada. The smaller, convenience-sized stores are aimed at shoppers looking for ready-to-eat meals and fresh produce who might not have time for a trip to a full-scale grocery store.

Wal-Mart is preparing to launch its own small-format grocery stores in the Phoenix area, the Marketside concept, which are similar to Fresh & Easy’s.

Fleming said Wal-Mart is studying different store formats beyond its supercenters that combine a full grocery store with general merchandise, Reuters said. While Wal-Mart touts the supercenter’s one-stop shopping convenience, the stores can be more than three times the size of a U.S. football field.

"Convenience is certainly a trend in the future," Fleming said.

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