The world's largest retailer has begun construction on a 14,400-square-foot store in Gentry, Ark., a town of 3,158 about 20 miles southwest of the company's Bentonville headquarters, according to the permits.
While Wal-Mart has kept details of the new stores a closely guarded secret, Steve Restivo, a company spokesman, confirmed the location of the store opening and the timing.
Work on similar stores in nearby Prairie Grove and Gravette is also expect to begin this month, said town officials. Each new store will feature a pharmacy and a grocery section.
"Wal-Mart's U.S. store fleet is designed for yesterday's retail wars," said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners in New Canaan, Conn. "If they want to capture their rightful share of today's shopping trips, they have to have a smaller format. God bless supercenters, but they are not designed to get in and out of within five minutes."