Hypermart USA

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Hypermart USA
Former type Test project subsidiary
Industry Retail
Fate Project discontinued
Buildings closed, sold, or converted to Wal-Mart
Founded 1987
Defunct 2000
Products Food, clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, electronics and housewares.
Parent Wal-Mart
Website None

Hypermart USA was a demonstrator project operated by Wal-Mart in the 1980s and 1990s, which attempted to combine groceries and general merchandise under one roof at a substantial discount. The concept was modeled after earlier efforts from other retailers, notably French retailer Carrefour, and the Midwestern US retailer Meijer. The Texas stores were operated in partnerships with Cullum Companies, former owner of Tom Thumb supermarkets.

All stores used a floorplan that exceeded 220,000 sq. ft. (20,000 m²). They featured a mini-mall, food court, arcade, bank, and other kiosk operations. The ones in Kansas City and Topeka featured McDonald's, Subway, and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in their food courts.[1]

History[edit]

The prototype did not go as well as planned. Wal-Mart was unaccustomed to operating such massive stores, and an economic recession had brought on a decline in retail sales. Although the stores were profitable, sales projections were too optimistic and the company did not anticipate the massive heating and cooling costs, the resistance of customers towards parking and congestion issues.

The first Hypermart USA, which used a floorplan in the 125,000 sq ft (11,600 m2) range, was opened in 1988 in Washington, Missouri.[2] As it proved to be a much more profitable experiment, Wal-Mart renamed the stores "Wal-Mart's Hypermart USA" in April 1990, and eventually began either converting them to Supercenter operations or closing them.

A Hypermart USA truck sits in a Wal-Mart parking lot in 2005, long after the concept was discontinued.

The Hypermart USA concept was officially discontinued in 2000, when Wal-Mart announced it was converting the Kansas City, Missouri location into a Wal-Mart Supercenter.[3] It ultimately closed in January 2007. The original location in Garland, Texas closed in May 2008, and was replaced by Wal-Mart's first "Hispanic Community" store a few blocks away. The Topeka, Kansas location on Southwest Wanamaker Road, is still open, although its exterior has been remodeled as well as the Arlington, Texas location on South Cooper Street.

Locations[edit]

Garland, Texas[edit]

Garland, Texas (December 28, 1987)

Poplar Bluff, Missouri[edit]

Poplar Bluff, Missouri (January 1988)

Topeka, Kansas[edit]

Topeka, Kansas (January 1988)

As of 2013, it is still operating as a Wal-Mart Supercenter.[4] [5]

Arlington, Texas[edit]

Arlington, Texas (August 1988)

As of 2013, it is still operating as a Wal-Mart Supercenter.[6]

Kansas City, Missouri[edit]

It opened on February 28, 1990. Located in just northeast of Bannister Mall in the Benjamin Plaza development, it was the last one to open. It was the largest of the four locations at 256,637 sq ft. Described as Wal-Mart's "mall without walls," it included a number of restaurants and specialty outlets in addition to the combination grocery and general merchandise discount store.[7]

  • Food court with seating for 200 people, with quick service restaurants including Taco Johns, Corn Dog 7, V's Pasta Parlor, Torre's Pizzera, Oasis (ice cream, shakes, and frozen yogurt), Subway, and McDonald's.
  • United Missouri City Bank
  • Hypermart Pharmacy
  • Aladdin's Castle (arcade)
  • Cost Cutters (hair salon)
  • Family Vision Center
  • Travel Center Ltd.
  • Hearing Today Laboratory
  • ShoeSmith
  • 1-Hour Photo-Mart
  • American Studios, Inc (portrait studio)
  • HyperSound and Video

In May 2000, Wal-Mart announced it would spend $4.9 million to convert the location to a Wal-Mart Supercenter. They indicated that it was converting its last remaining Hypermart, because the stores were too big and too inconvenient for customers. They explained that the effort offer everything under one roof was more of a European style of retail, and it was overwhelming to the American shopper. Kansas City Councilman Chuck Eddy claimed that there were other reasons for the failure of the location. Eddy cited a high volume of complaints from residents about the store, including time-consuming lines at checkout counters, trash and runaway carts in the parking lot, dirty restrooms, and overall messy conditions and poor management. They wanted to build a new Supercenter store on State Line Road near 135th Street, so city leaders pressured them to make improvements to the conditions of the location before they would be given approval to move forward with the new store. At the time, they said it would cost almost $5 million to renovate the 270,000 sq ft (25,000 m2) location. They moved forward with the renovation and conversion of the location, along with bringing in new management to address the concerns of poor management there. The new Supercenter was to be the first of their new "high-efficiency" stores. As a result of the new Supercenters on State Line Road and the former Blue Ridge Mall site, along with declining business and a growing number of retail closings in Bannister Mall and Benjamin Plaza, they announced that it would close the former Hypermart in mid-January 2007. The 400 employees were offered jobs at the new Blue Ridge store and other area Wal-Mart stores.[3][8][9][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://supermarketnews.com/archive/2nd-popeyes-opens-wal-mart-hypermarket
  2. ^ http://www.walmart50.com/50/mobile/heritage/timeline.aspx
  3. ^ a b http://cjonline.com/stories/052300/bus_walmart.shtml
  4. ^ "Walmart". Flickr. 
  5. ^ "Walmart Supercenter - Topeka". Walmart Stores, Inc. 
  6. ^ "Walmart Supercenter - Arlington". Walmart Stores, Inc. 
  7. ^ "Benjamin Plaza - Introducing Hypermart USA". The Kansas City Star. March 1, 1990. pE1-E6
  8. ^ "Changes at Hypermart should help customers". The Kansas City Star. June 14, 2000. p2
  9. ^ "Plan for Wal-Mart superstore stirs fight". The Kansas City Star. March 22, 2000. p1
  10. ^ "South KC Wal-Mart Supercenter will close". Kansas City Business Journal. August 28, 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-25. 

Further reading[edit]