From Supercenter to 'Express' in Storm-Damaged Area

Bentonville, Ark., Wal-Mart Stores is opening a new “Wal-Mart Express” on the site of its hurricane-damaged Wal-Mart Supercenter in Waveland, Miss. This new store format will offer a merchandise mix focused on the needs of the community, which still is recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the company said. Operating more recently as a “tent store” to provide basic needs for residents, the new store will open its doors on Saturday.

The Wal-Mart Express is a new store concept that differs from the footprint of a typical Wal-Mart store. According to Pam Kohn, the division’s senior VP, “The new prototype store will allow us to respond to this community’s immediate needs.” Wal-Mart eventually plans to return the Waveland store to a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

The new 57,000-sq.-ft. store can be entered through the original front entrance and is enclosed within the original 205,800-sq.-ft. building by dust-proof, insulated walls. The merchandise mix will differ from a typical Wal-Mart store, focusing on essential items, in the quantities and sizes needed for the community, as it continues to rebuild from the storm.