The following is from the June 24, 2008, edition of The Austin American-Statesman. SMU Marketing Professor Ed Fox provided expertise for this story.
Wal-Mart plans smaller Northcross store
Neighbors who opposed Supercenter praise move
By Shonda Novak
Wal-Mart is dramatically scaling back plans for its Supercenter at Northcross Mall (in Austin) after a two-year controversy and a court fight with neighbors opposed to the store.
Wal-Mart now plans a 99,000-square-foot store, about half the size of the 192,000-square-foot facility it had planned. The store will have one story instead of two, and parking lots will replace a proposed three-story garage. The store will have groceries and traditional discount merchandise but no garden center or auto service shop.
Ed Fox, marketing professor at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business, said Wal-Mart is still working on how to incorporate its Supercenters — traditionally sprawling suburban stores — into urban neighborhoods.
"They haven't been able to do it in a way that meets their profit plan and gives consumers the shopping experience they want," Fox said. "They're concerned about offering multistory stores in urban areas that stray too far from their core operating model.
"They will continue to experiment, but this may indicate that the stores that they'll open in urban areas in the near future will be smaller versions of their standard Supercenter."
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