WAL-MART NEIGHBORHOOD SET FOR FORT WORTH

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores here said last week it is going to bring its small-store Neighborhood Markets concept to Fort Worth, Texas, with a unit to open by the end of next year.The Fort Worth store is to be one of the projected five to 10 Neighborhood Markets the company plans to open in 2000, Keith Morris, a company spokesman, told SN. Other announced sites include Oklahoma City, which

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores here said last week it is going to bring its small-store Neighborhood Markets concept to Fort Worth, Texas, with a unit to open by the end of next year.

The Fort Worth store is to be one of the projected five to 10 Neighborhood Markets the company plans to open in 2000, Keith Morris, a company spokesman, told SN. Other announced sites include Oklahoma City, which will get two, and Murphy, Texas, which is to get one.

Wal-Mart currently operates six Neighborhood Markets, including one in Fayetteville, Ark., that opened last week.

Morris added that Wal-Mart is exploring other store sites, including several in Fort Worth and other Texas communities.

Some of these, he added, could open next year, because the small stores not only take less time to build than the company's regular discount stores or Supercenters, but also tend to move through the local government approval process much more quickly.

"We could be talking in August and open by the end of the year," he said.

However, Morris flatly denied the company has plans to open 20 Neighborhood Markets in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram had reported last week.

He said the company has filed at least one additional building permit in Fort Worth and has been scouting several other sites, but some of these "may never come to fruition."

He also said Wal-Mart still considers the concept to be in the testing phase, with the stores in Oklahoma City and Fort Worth the format's first urban proving grounds.