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Wal-Mart creeps closer to NYC

New York — Wal-Mart is on the prowl, testing the defenses of increasingly urban — and therefore, still somewhat alien — locations. It's in the Apple. It's on the mall. It's in the nearby 'burbs. In the last three weeks, the giant retailer has opened a traditional discount store in Norwalk, CT, a mall-based store in Massapequa, Long Island and, last Friday, launched a "tent event" on Chelsea Piers in Manhattan that will run for the next two weeks.

In another foray into a traditional mall setting, Wal-Mart opened in a former Sterns at the Sunrise Mall in Massapequa Park, on the south shore of Long Island in late May. It is the 15th such venture since the merchant crept into a mall setting virtually unnoticed for the first time in 1990, according to Mia Masten, community affairs specialist for Wal-Mart.

"Particularly in urban areas where one of our biggest challenges is space, we look for opportunities to utilize the [retail] space that is available," she explained. Going forward that will remain Wal-Mart's strategy, at least for the foreseeable future, she said.

Beyond the unit's unusual location and use of vertical space, it's a typical Wal-Mart discount store in most every respect, as is the new Norwalk location — the second in that community. At both the Long Island and Norwalk locations — visited mid-week — out of stocks in home textiles were extensive and housekeeping problematic.

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