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Wal-Mart eyes Pea Ridge for new store

story by Kim Souza
ksouza@thecitywire.com

Wal-Mart Stores plans to build a Neighborhood Market in Pea Ridge pending the approval of the large scale commercial development early next month.

A permit for the 41,000 square-foot hybrid grocery store was filed with state health department on Oct. 16. The store is planned on an 8-acre track at 6971 Slack Street, property that Mayor Jackie Crabtree said the retailer has owned for several years.

Crabtree said Wal-Mart officials met with city planners in recent months and detailed their plans for the Neighborhood Market, but the large scale development will be discussed and likely approved at the city’s next council meeting on Nov. 5.

“I think it’s right for us,” he said. “Walmart owns 36 acres here and the proposed site is for 8 of those, I am not sure what, if anything, they have planned for the other property.”

Wal-Mart has embarked on an aggressive campaign to roll out 120 small format stores this fiscal year, and adding up to 150 more next year. By fiscal 2017 Wal-Mart estimates these new stores will represent $12 billion in additional sales annually. Bill Simon, CEO of Walmart U.S., said this week that the retailer is investing in ecosystem build-outs that will help them win a larger share throughout rural America.

Crabtree said he doesn’t expect any major hiccups in the plan and the city is open for new business.

“New business can help bring in more population, who then feed the need for more business. It’s a teeter-totter effect,” Crabtree said.

Vicki Briolat, agent with Crye-Leike Real Estate, lives in Pea Ridge and welcomes the proposed Neighborhood Market.

“I think it’s great because it will give our residents another option for shopping locally. Families looking to locate in Pea Ridge for the rural lifestyle also want some conveniences when it comes to shopping. Not everyone works in a larger town nearby,” she said.

Wal-Mart’s new hybrid Neighborhood Markets typically include a four pump gas station and a full service pharmacy with ship-to-store conveniences for general or specialty merchandise often available same-day when ordered online.

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Simon said Neighborhood Markets posted a 3% gain in comp sales in the recent quarter, with total revenue in this format rising 30%.

Centerton and Siloam Springs also recently approved new Walmart Neighborhood Market developments similar that one planned for Pea Ridge.

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