A stylish and smaller Wal-Mart, upscaled to appeal to high-income shoppers, is slated to move into a “big-box” store near Paradise Valley Mall.
The posher Wal-Mart is planning to debut late this year at the Village Crossroads shopping center on the southeast corner of Cactus Road and Tatum Boulevard in northeast Phoenix, said Anita Walker, spokeswoman for mall owner Westcor. It will move into a building now occupied by Burlington Coat Factory.
Wal-Mart recently announced plans to develop new stores and remodel existing ones to attract big spenders, a feat rival discount department store Target has been able to do well.
Among the features expected to evoke a classier image are mock-hardwood floors, sleek and stylish steel bathroom fixtures and wide aisles. In October, the retailer added a higher-fashion merchandise line, Metro 7, in select stores, including eight East Valley locations.
The Phoenix store will include all those features and stock higher-end merchandise in addition to bargain products, especially in home furnishings and electronics categories, said Keith Morris, Wal-Mart spokesman.
“You’ll find plasma TVs, high-definition TVs, in addition to the low- and mid-level price items,” Morris said. “Those are things you typically didn’t find in a Wal-Mart.”
Morris said the new store will also carry all Supercenter departments, including food, even though it is only about half the size of the megaversions the company has built in other East Valley locations.
Wal-Mart plans to upgrade all its existing stores with the new image and new merchandise eventually, he said.
The upscale Wal-Mart is a catalyst for a major marketing makeover of the entire Paradise Valley Mall retail area, Walker said.
Attracting new tenants is part of an overall plan to make the mall and its surrounding open-air shopping centers into a unified retail destination, similar to the Chandler Fashion Center complex at Chandler Boulevard and Loop 101.
Westcor is still working on design features and landscaping improvements that will unify the exterior look, Walker said. But the Valley’s big mall builder already is working on filling the centers with new shops and services.
“Our plan is to be more things to more people in our immediate community,” Joe Brown, Paradise Valley Mall property manager, said in announcing the old mall’s new game plan. “A marketplace strategy is designed to serve the majority of our shoppers’ needs in a concentrated area with convenience as a focus.”
A Kirkland’s home furnishings store will follow the Wal-Mart to the Village Crossroads center in February 2007, Walker said.
Other store additions and enhancements in Westcor’s re-imaging plans include a remodel and expansion of the existing Target store at Village Center, an expansion and re-do of the Hi-Health in Village Plaza, and a new, highend salon and spa — Scissors, Rox, Paper — at Village Crossroads scheduled to arrive in spring, Walker said.