TULSA, Okla., Jan. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- It has a new look and feel, new track lighting, a makeover in health & beauty and abundance of freshly baked breads and fresh produce. Today, Jan. 17, Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) opens its newly designed Neighborhood Market in Tulsa, Okla. -- the first to open in the U.S. that will share a new design based on months of customer research on Wal-Mart's Neighborhood Market concept. The company will be testing customer reaction and success of its new design, starting in Tulsa, as it focuses the brand for continued growth in the U.S. The new store is located at 4720 E. 21st St., and opened its doors to the public at 8 a.m. With 112 stores already operating across the U.S., the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market is the company's youngest store concept (introduced less than 10 years ago), providing consumers the Wal-Mart value in a smaller, convenient "neighborhood" store format. The concept brings grocery, pharmacy and health and beauty together in a convenient, customer-friendly experience. The brand has continued to be popular with shoppers since its introduction, and Wal-Mart plans to open 15 to 20 new stores over the next year. "Over the last several months we have studied our customers, seeking to understand their preferences about our store's convenience and products," says Pam Kohn, senior vice president of the Wal-Mart Stores Southeast Division, and leader of Neighborhood Markets. "The new design package is a great example of what we now know customers are seeking in this type of store." Kohn explains that consumers today continue to reach for ways to simplify their lives, but also desire a store experience that answers more personal needs. "We feel this new design shows we are a destination for both," Kohn said. Earth-tones, Soft "Themes," and a Health & Beauty Makeover The most dramatically noticeable changes are within the new grocery and health and beauty areas. As Wal-Mart continues to bring consumers more healthy choices in food, such as increased selections in organics and produce, the grocery area in the Neighborhood Market now features a new layout that highlights these efforts and accentuates freshness. The new bakery has a fresh, "warm" feel next to the new stream-lined deli area and fresh produce is placed along vertical fruit baskets. There are more freezer doors that hold additional frozen food items than any other Neighborhood Market store today. Throughout the store, architects and designers added earth-toned colors with natural woods that define each store department that creates a "store within a store" feel. Along with wood trim, photography highlights selections and departments in the store among different decor and signage. The overall look is clean and simple. "Our health and beauty department has probably undergone the most dramatic change within the store," said Kohn. "We want our female customers to feel this is a place in their store created especially for them." With concave (curved) fixtures, wider aisles and new "towers" that can display the latest trends in health and beauty, the re-design creates a more personal experience for the shopper, who may need time to study new products and consider their purchase. Signage and product placement work together to help customers better identify selections. The location has changed to be closer to the pharmacy and stationery departments. Neighborhood Market Concept Neighborhood Market stores are not new to Tulsa. The first store opened on Delaware Avenue in 2000 and there are currently five such stores in the Tulsa area. The new store brings that total to six. This new 39,000-square-foot store features a full line of groceries including bakery goods, organics, frozen foods, meat and dairy products and fresh produce. Its redesigned deli offers rotisserie chicken and a wide variety of freshly prepared foods including sandwiches, salads, desserts, bottled drinks, milk, juices, waters and energy drinks. General merchandise includes toiletries, household cleaning and paper goods, stationery, pet products and hardware items. Customers can drop off film or digital media at the 30-minute photo lab for processing while they shop. The store also features a drive-through pharmacy with two drive-up lanes. It will be open to customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will include six full-service and four self check-out lanes. A Neighborhood Market store is typically 39,000 square feet and is a combination grocery store and drug store. The first store opened in Bentonville, Ark., in 1998, and the company celebrated the opening of the 100th store in Albuquerque in 2006. Celebrities Share "Makeover" with Customers In celebration of the new store design, GARNIER Fructis celebrity hairstylist Brian Magallones and Maybelline New York consulting makeup artist Chuck Hezekiah will be available for complimentary hair and makeup makeovers to shoppers in the store on grand opening day. Magallones, a true stylist-to- the-stars including celebrity clientele Joss Stone, Mischa Barton, Nicole Richie, and Hezekiah, a mainstay on Oprah, Martha Stewart and The Maury Povich Show, will provide customers with hair and makeup touch ups including one-on- one health and beauty tips. The complimentary consultation and makeover services will be available in two sessions on grand opening day: 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. - 3 pm. In addition, music artist Mark Chesnutt, one of Billboard's Ten Most- Played Radio Artists of the '90's and known for country music hits such as "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing," will be on hand at 6 p.m. for a brief concert at the store and will sign autographs from 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. The store will provide various activities for kids and top brands such as Kellogg's, Coke, Pepsi and General Mills will provide samples to grand opening shoppers. The store will have additional activities for customers in health screenings and beauty aids in the weeks to come. About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Every week, more than 127 million customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam's Club locations across America. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $245 million to local United States communities. To learn more, visit http://www.walmartfacts.com , http://www.walmart.com , or http://www.walmartfoundation.org .
SOURCE Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.