Get ready for more small Wal-Mart stores, and sooner. The mega-retailer known for its big-box strategy said it's planning to speed up openings of its Neighborhood Market and Express stores.
While some Wal-Mart workers are protesting low wages and slashed hours with a strike that started last week in Los Angeles and has spread to other cities, the company said Wednesday that it hopes to launch 500 Neighborhood Market stores and 12 Express stores by fiscal year 2016.
William S. Simon, president of Wal-Mart U.S., said 10 Express stores and 217 Neighborhood Market locations were opened by July.
The Express format is usually 10,000 to 15,000 square feet, while the Neighborhood Market concept tends to come in under 55,000 square feet. Both models are designed to operate well in urban markets.
Meanwhile, more Wal-Mart employees are walking off the job, according to protest organizers. Protest planners said the strikes were the first ever in Wal-Mart's 50-year history.
"These workers are sick of toiling in 100-plus-degree heat, they're sick of poverty wages, and most of all, they're sick of being ignored," said Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director of the activist group SumOfUs.org.