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Boutique Vons: Supermarket Gets Smaller, Fancier

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From a tipster, we get some juicy Long Beach supermarket scoop: "...there's a new small format Vons [photo viaTortuga on flickr] (ie Safeway) just opened on E Ocean Blvd (15,000 sq ft) that is their response to the Fresh & Easy idea. It's called The Market, and its their pilot for the format. Seems to be much more upmarket, with fancy own-brand stuff developed at their Citrine Restaurant in Mountain View area of N Cal. Did you know SWY operates a restaurant, who'd have thought it?" Uh, no, we didn't know that, and, yes, that's crazy.

But there's more! "Meanwhile WMT [referring to Wal-Mart] is launching its new Marketside stores in AZ, probably opening in October and the word is that they are also looking at California." The tipster then refers us to a Financial Times article, which describes the new smaller format markets as 1,500-square-feet as well (1/3 the size of regular Wal-Mart Neighborhood markets and 1/10 the size of its superstores). Further, "The retailer is also planning to prepare and serve food in the stores themselves, a new direction for Wal-Mart that mirrors the approach of more upmarket retailers such as Whole Foods Market."
· Wal-Mart reacts to Tesco threat [Financial Times]