BENTONVILLE, Ark. — The small-format Marketside stores Wal-Mart will open in Phoenix later this year will reportedly be more upscale than the company’s other formats. According to reports in the Financial Times of London, the 15,000-square-foot stores will depart from Wal-Mart’s everyday-low-pricing strategy by taking more of a “premium” approach, including food prepared and served on the premises by “meal specialists,” who will also reportedly double as cashiers. The FT report quoted a job description that says, “Perhaps the most fun is the opportunity for this knowledgeable team to engage with customers, sharing cooking tips or providing recommendations for meal solutions.” It was also reported that senior buyers at Marketside will oversee a unique private-label assortment, suggesting Wal-Mart is developing new lines exclusively for the small format. According to FT, the stores will be run out of an office in Phoenix by a new business development unit headed by David Wild — in contrast to discount stores, supercenters and Neighborhood Markets, which are all run from the corporate office here.
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