Smaller Walmart stores expected to affect local grocery prices

Smaller Walmart stores expected to affect local grocery prices
Published: Jul. 18, 2014 at 10:36 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 18, 2014 at 11:10 PM EDT
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GOOSE CREEK, SC (WCSC) - Over the last year, the shakeup in the supermarket industry has affected all of us in one way or another in the checkout line.

Since late 2013 Piggly Wiggly sold its stores to Harris Teeter and Bilo. Kroger took over Harris Teeter. Food Lion closed some stores.

Now, Walmart is getting in on the action, not with more supercenters, but with traditional sized stores called "neighborhood markets." They're popular in the mid-south and mid-west.

The Walmart Supercenter in Goose Creek is just as it sounds, huge.

But a smaller version with only food will be built a short drive away where St. James meets Central Avenue.

Walmart shopper Sheila Gaither said, "I think people would like that so they wouldn't have to walk across the whole store to get from the groceries."

Earl Glover said, "I don't think it matters too much to me. We all gotta eat. Just another grocery store I guess."

There's already a Publix, a Bilo, a Super Walmart on St. James and not mention many other convenience stores close by.

"They're creating stores that are much smaller and hoping that they can go out there and get consumers to come in for a quick purchase," said Seth Mendelson.

Mendelson is the Editorial Director of Grocery Headquarters Magazine. They keep track of business in the supermarket industry.

"WalMart's neighborhood store is designed to go after the Family Dollar, Dollar General type of retail," said Mendelson.

Mendelson says this push by Walmart could leave other stores scrambling for ways to make sure you don't leave with an empty cart.

"For some of these other retailers, they have to cut their pricing, which means their profits get hurt," said Mendelson.

Glover said, "That's a win, win situation then if the prices come down."

Julie Rose said, "I think it's a good idea, if it could lower anybody's prices, that would be great."

Mendelson says the effect of too much competition could be a setback for other businesses.

"You know what happens then, they may have to lay off some people. They may have to take measures that doesn't help them and therefore, doesn't help the community over the long haul," said Mendelson.

Mendelson says the battle for more shoppers has been going since day one.

"This is not something new," said Mendelson.

But he says Walmart's name alone gives them the upper hand. A second Walmart Neighborhood Market will be coming to Dorchester County.

They are expected to break ground in a couple of months at Dorchester and Bacons Bridge Road.

The store should be open by next summer.

The Goose Creek store doesn't have an opening date just yet.

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