Business, Economics and Jobs

Walmart's new strategy for tapping the Millennial market


A Walmart employee gathers trolleys in Paramount, California, on Black Friday.

Walmart is opening small versions of its mega-stores on college campuses.

The retailer recently announced its plan to open a new concept store at Arizona State University. The initiative is part of the chain's new "Walmart On Campus" initiative. A similar store is already open at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and a third is planned at Georgia Tech.

Arizona State's Walmart will only have about 10 employees and includes plans for a pharmacy, grocery and convenience items, and campus merchandise. The grand opening is scheduled for May. The new store already has a Facebook page, but it's only gotten 22 likes. 

“Walmart on Campus is a small-format test store that allows us to bring our low prices to students in a convenient location,” store manager Mario Espino told the Phoenix Business Journal. He added that the store will not sell alcohol.

Walmart's new campus stores are smaller than regular Walmart supercenters. Arizona State's store will be about 5,000 square feet and Georgia Tech's will be only 2,500. That's tiny compared to the chain's 180,000-plus square foot Super Walmarts. 

Advertising Age notes that this small-store format is one the chain also could use to branch into its untapped urban markets with large millennial populations, like New York. 

Although it wasn't tied to the store's announcement, the Rob and Melani Walton Fund of the Walton Family Foundation also donated $27.5 million last spring to Arizona State's Global Institute of Sustainability. The gift is the fourth-largest in the university's history, according to AZcentral.

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