NBC 7's Consumer Bob reports on the new Walmart Neighborhood Markets opening up around San Diego County. The retailer's grocery store concept will continue to expand, too.
In tough times, Walmart is getting smaller.
Instead of making bigger and bigger superstores, the world's largest retailer is turning to grocery stores. In San Diego county, two Walmart Neighborhood Markets opened in Oceanside and Escondido, doubling the number of these stores in the county. There are two more in the pipeline as well.
San Diego State marketing professor Michael Belch says Walmart expanding its grocery stores is good for consumers.
"I think it will increase competition in the local neighborhoods," Belch said.
According to CNBC, Walmart plans to add 400 more Neighborhood Markets by fiscal year 2017. At the same time, they plan on adding another 300 super centers.
Walmart store manager Samuel Long says customers are looking for grocery store alternatives.
"We are a low price retailer," Long said. "We are here to save people money so they can eat better."
The Walmart Neighborhood Market looks similar to most large grocery stores. It sells fresh produce, frozen goods, meat, dairy and dry goods. They will also offer some health and beauty products, cleaning supplies and a pharmacy.
Shopper Jessica Casarin is happy to see the store come to her neighborhood.
"It's a great idea, Not just for them but also for shoppers like me," she said.
However shopper Robert Lacey has mixed feelings.
"I'm kind of happy and then on the other hand, maybe not," he said. "It does kind of effect the Mom and Pop stores."
Part of Walmart's strategy to expand its grocery stores may be to avoid online competition. While online retail giant Amazon has been able to erode some of Walmart's business, groceries have not proven to be a big online draw.
"When you have perishables, I think you want that local presence where you can go in the store," Belch said.
However, Walmart is finding a way to combine its grocery store and online website. Customers can order merchandise online and have it delivered at no charge to a Neighborhood Market for pick-up.