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Wal-Mart may build 850 urban 99 stores.

A June 24 research report from Merrill Lynch Global Securities said Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will be able to build 850 of its smaller Supercenters, known as the Urban 99 prototype, within the next decade.

The company opened its first Urban 99 store in January in Tampa, Fla., which had a city ordinance banning big-box stores 100,000 SF in size and larger.

At 99,000 SF, the new stores can go into urban areas where land isn't available for a traditional Supercenter, which can range in size from 187,000 to 220,000 SF. The Urban 99 stores require 10 acres of land, which is half the territory needed for a traditional Supercenter.

The Urban 99 stores are a cross between the larger Supercenters and Wal-Mart's 40,000-SF Neighborhood Market stores. Urban 99 stores sell groceries as well as the most popular items from the traditional Supercenters.

Merrill Lynch believes more than 90 percent of Wal-Mart's 200 new Supercenters that will be built in 2013 will be some variation of the Urban 99 format. Wal-Mart believes it can build 1,000 to 1,500 more full-sized Supercenters in the United States.

Merrill Lynch said Wal-Mart's sales and earnings could grow at a double-digit rate through the end of the decade. Market share of the nation's supermarket industry should grow from 11 percent in 2003 to 21 percent in 2013, Merrill Lynch reported.

Wal-Mart's Urban 99 store in Tampa should see sales of more than $70 million in its first year, Merrill Lynch said.
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Title Annotation:Retail
Comment:Wal-Mart may build 850 urban 99 stores.(Retail)
Author:Bowden, Bill
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 12, 2004
Words:253
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