Wal-Mart has always offered limited grocery lines at its standard discount stores and Sam’s warehouse-club units currently operating in the area. But now the retailer has begun a new push into the regional marketplace by building stand-alone Supercenters served by acres of parking.

At last count, it had 753 such outlets operating around the country. In addition to a complete supermarket, the mega-store format features 36 lines of general merchandise.

Running around 200,000 sf each, including a full-line supermarket, the Supercenters are expected to pose serious competition for South Florida’s three entrenched food-retailing chains: Publix, Winn-Dixie and Albertson’s.

The Coral Springs locations are at the northeast corner of Coral Ridge Road and the Sawgrass Expressway and at U.S. 441 and Sample Road. The new store in Palm Beach County is going up in the midst of the main Boynton Beach shopping strip on Old Boynton Road just off Congress Avenue. Each store is expected to cost about $10 million, or $50 psf to build.

Wal-Mart’s expansion in the area couldn’t come at a less opportune time for at least two of the three major players in the market. Jacksonville, FL-headquartered Winn-Dixie is in the midst of a major restructuring aimed at solving profitability problems.

As for Boise, ID-based Albertson’s, it is feeling bottom-line pressures from large acquisitions and recently cut projected earnings for its latest quarter.

Taking on Wal-Mart is never an enviable task for any directly competitive operator. In its most recently competed fiscal year, the Bentonville, AR-headquarted company reported sales of $165 billion and net income of $5.3 billion.

Now the largest retailer in North America by far, Wal-Mart does more business than Sears, JC Penney and Kmart combined.

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