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    Wal-Mart Set to Open Arizona Marketside Stores Next Week

    The mega-retailer plans to open its small-scale format stores in Arizona less than one year after Britain's Tesco entered the U.S. southwest.

    Walmart Stores, Inc. plans to open its four Marketside small-format grocery stores in the metro Phoenix market Oct. 4, the company said on its banner-specific Web site, marketside.com.

    The sites are in Gilbert, Mesa, Chandler and Tempe, Ariz., where they will directly challenge Tesco, Plc, and its Fresh & Easy units in the market.

    Wal-Mart's Marketside is expected to offer customers what it calls quick-strike, affordable options for buying fresh groceries and prepared foods.

    "Everyone is looking for the answer to the question of, 'What's for dinner?'" said Mike Thomas, store manager at a Marketside in Chandler, Ariz. "We're providing a meal solution for people on the go, people who want something that's convenient, fresh, and affordable."

    While the Walmart name is nowhere to be found at the new 15,000-square-foot stores, Thomas said their Walmart-like pricing would be competitive.

    As of Tuesday, the stores' windows and doors were still covered in plastic.

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