The world's biggest retailer seems to be putting out all the stops lately to adapt to a new retail environment. Earlier this year, Wal-Mart launched its small-format Express stores, meant to allow the chain to enter urban markets with high barriers to entry and compete with supermarkets and drug stores on their own turf. Now, Retail & Consumer reports the retailer has opened two pop-up stores, measuring 1,000 sq. ft. and 3,000 sq. ft. at the Topanga Mall in West Los Angeles and at Horton Plaza in San Diego.
Wal-Mart has been quietly working on this initiative for some time, according to The New York Post. In part, this is an attempt to compete with Toys 'R' Us' pop-up Express stores during the holiday shopping season since Wal-Mart's pop-up units will concentrate on toys and electronics and will operate through December 31.
At the same time, it's a testing ground used by Wal-Mart's management to create more synergy between its bricks-and-mortar locations and its online sales, a strategy pioneered by Apple stores. According to a Wal-Mart spokesperson quoted by CSPnet.com:
"The store will display key holiday items such as toys, electronics, gaming and home theater. These items can be picked up at the Walmart.com store or nearest Walmart store via the Site to Store and Pick Up Today options. Products can also be delivered to customers' homes via the standard shipping options currently available through Walmart.com. Customers will also have an opportunity to purchase a small selection of items at the store, mostly accessories."