Marketside food items for sale in Wal-Mart stores

Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:30pm BST

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SAN FRANCISCO, July 13 (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) has put on hold plans to open more of its Marketside stores, but the world's biggest retailer is testing the sale of Marketside branded food in some of its U.S. discount stores. "We are testing a number of concepts on home meal replacements and chilled entrees in select Walmart stores," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Amy Wyatt-Moore said in a statement on Monday. "The Marketside food offering in select Walmart stores is an example of that."

Last year, Wal-Mart opened four small Marketside grocery stores in the Phoenix area.

The stores allow shoppers to buy fresh produce or ready-to-eat meals, like grilled chicken with garlic mashed potatoes, without the need for a trip to a full-scale grocery store. But amid the economic downturn, Wal-Mart said it has put plans to expand the concept on hold.

Wyatt-Moore said she did not have any more details on the pilot program.

"This is just another example of how we continuously test new ways to better serve our customers," she said.

(Reporting by Nicole Maestri; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

((nicole.maestri@thomsonreuters.com, +1 415 677-3975; Reuters Messaging: nicole.maestri.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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