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    Kroger Expands in Walmart’s Backyard

    More Arkansas stores expected to follow

    The Kroger Co. opens its first Marketplace Store on Saturday, right in the heart of its key rival’s territory.

    The Delta Division of the Cincinnati-based grocer is opening the new superstore on Chenal Parkway in Little Rock, Ark., with plans for additional Marketplace locations in Walmart’s home state. The 123,000-square-foot store will open with a wide assortment of housewares, toys, school and office supplies, baby items, furniture, bed and bath merchandise, home décor and a Fred Meyer jewelry store.

    “Over the last two years, it has been very exciting to see our capital investments in the state of Arkansas come to fruition,” said Mark Prestidge, Kroger Delta Division president. “Kroger is honored to be part of the past, present and future of Arkansas.” Kroger currently operates 35 stores throughout Arkansas and employs 3,800 in the state.

    Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the new store last year when Prestidge announced Kroger’s plans to invest about $125 million in a multiyear effort to remodel, expand and build new stores in Arkansas. Since that announcement, Kroger has completed several multimillion-dollar remodels and expansions throughout the state.

    Capital plans for Arkansas have included a remodel and fuel center in West Memphis and expansions and remodels at the greater Little Rock store in The Heights, Rodney Parham and Markham locations. In addition, Kroger locations in Conway, Russellville and Benton were each remodeled; a new location in Maumelle opened in 2008.

    Prestidge noted the Beechwood location will open in late October and capital investments throughout Arkansas will continue next year as plans are underway for future Marketplace formats in the state.
     

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