Has anyone else had the experience of hosting two Wal-Mart Super Centers in one community?
I write from Idaho Falls, ID, a community with population 50,000 and with a largely rural trade area of about five times that number sperad over three states ID, WY, MT). Last winter Wal-Mart opened a Super Center, and I mean this is a BIG store, on the east edge of town. This week (9/22/03) the firm announced it would build another Super Center of equal or greater size, plus three stand alone restaurant pads, at the interchange of a state highway and the Interstate highway that bisect the western edge of the city. The distance between the two Super Center sites is less than five miles.
What is the rationale for this marketing approach? Has anyone else seen this in their community? We've always assumed that Wal-Mart is playing to the regional trade area. This new site suggests the chain is acting like a traditional grocery firm like Albertsons. Typically, grocery stores in our community serve a circular geographic area of 1-2 miles.
I'd be grateful for information from others who have two Wal-Mart Super Centers in the same town, especially a small one, and how they impacted the local and regional economy. Pointers to formal studies or reports available in electronic form would be appreciated.
Member, Idaho Falls Planning Commission
Idaho Falls, ID
Personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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