ROCK HILL — Wal-Mart will build one of its neighborhood markets at the intersection of Celanese and Ebinport roads in Rock Hill, company officials announced Friday.
No timetable for construction was announced, but company spokesman William C. Wertz said the retailer hopes to be open sometime in 2014. The stores typically take between eight and nine months to complete after permits are obtained, he said.
Wal-Marts neighborhood markets are about one-fourth the size of the companys supercenter and sell fresh produce, meat and dairy products, bakery and deli items, household supplies and health and beauty products. Neighborhood markets also have a pharmacy.
Theyve worked out well, and Wal-Mart is placing them in areas where they sense vulnerability among their competitors, said David J. Livingston, a grocery analyst.
The location is just west of the Harris Teeter at Celanese and India Hook roads.
Livingston said Wal-Marts neighborhood markets will be competition for drug stores as well as Harris Teeter.
To compete, these stores will have to differentiate themselves, Livingston said. Wal-Marts focus has been on low prices, while Harris Teeter has taken a more upscale approach with strong perishable offerings and, until recently, a hometown advantage. The sale of Matthews, N.C.-based Harris Teeter to Kroger was approved this week by shareholders.
Typically, Wal-Marts neighborhood markets employ about 90 people,Wertz said. The stores complement rather than compete with the companys larger supercenters, he said.
They are an alternative to the big stores and allow people to quickly pop in and pop out, Wertz said.
Most of the neighborhood store workers will be employed full time.
The closest Walmart supercenter is in Newport, a few miles west of the proposed neighborhood market location in Rock Hill.
This will be the second neighborhood market in South Carolina and the second in the Charlotte metropolitan area
At a recent Goldman Sachs Annual Global Retailing Conference, Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon announced the company expected to expand its small stores from 290 to 500 in the next 18 months. The companys two small-store concepts are its neighborhood market and Walmart express.
Don Worthington 803-329-4066