A day after announcing it was building a Supercenter in Cockeysville, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said yesterday that it is opening two more of its megastores in the Baltimore area.
The world's largest retailer said it plans to open the new stores at 3601 Washington Blvd. in Arbutus and at 407 George Claus Blvd. in Glen Burnie. The stores are expected to open in the fall.
On Tuesday, Wal-Mart said it would close its Hunt Valley Town Center store this fall to make room for a new Supercenter at 10400 York Road.
Supercenters, much larger than Wal-Mart's traditional store prototype, include a full grocery and amenities such as a bank, tire and lube express shop, hair salon, drive-through pharmacy and fast- food restaurants such as Subway or McDonald's.
Until now, Wal-Mart had one other Supercenter in the area, on South Philadelphia Road in Aberdeen. It opened that store in 2005. It has nine other Supercenters in Maryland.
In its early days, Wal-Marts opened mostly in rural areas, where there were vast amounts of land and little competition. It has begun to move into more metropolitan areas in recent years.
The new Wal-Mart Supercenters are expected to intensify an already highly competitive local grocery industry.
Because of its large size, Wal-Mart is able to buy goods in larger volume and offer lower prices to its customers than other chains. Grocers have found it difficult to compete in some areas.
"As Wal-Mart comes into a market, it tends to bring the prices, in particular, down, to the benefit of everybody," said Bill Marquard, author of WAL-SMART: What It Really Takes to Profit in a Wal-Mart World.