Hypermart USA

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

Hypermart USA was a demonstrator project operated by Walmart in the 1980s and 1990s, which attempted to combine groceries and general merchandise under one roof at a substantial discount. The hypermart concept was modeled after earlier efforts from other retailers, notably French retailer Carrefour, and the Midwestern US retailer Meijer.

All stores used a floorplan that exceeded 220,000 square feet (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]

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

The prototype did not go as well as planned. Walmart 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 great heating and cooling costs, the resistance of customers towards parking and congestion issues.

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

The Hypermart USA concept was officially discontinued in 2000, when Walmart announced it was converting the Kansas City Hypermart USA into a Walmart Supercenter.[3] The former Kansas City store, then a Supercenter, ultimately closed in January 2007. The original Hypermart in Garland, Texas closed in May 2008. The Topeka, Kansas, hypermarket, located on Southwest Wanamaker Road, is still open, although its exterior has been remodeled as well as the Arlington, Texas, location on S Cooper Street.

Locations[edit]

Garland, Texas[edit]

Garland, Texas (December 28, 1987) This location was converted several years later to a Walmart supercenter and lost its Hypermart USA branding. By May 2008, Walmart announced it would replace this store with a smaller supercenter nearby. In October 2017, it was announced that the city of Garland would buy the vacant site with intentions of redeveloping it as a "gateway" to the city.

Topeka, Kansas[edit]

Topeka, Kansas (January 1988)

As of April 2018, the Topeka, Kansas Hypermart USA store is still operating as a Walmart Supercenter.[4][5]

Arlington, Texas[edit]

Arlington, Texas (August 1988)

As of March 2018, the Arlington, Texas Hypermart is still operating as a Walmart Supercenter.[6]

Kansas City, Missouri[edit]

The Kansas City, Missouri location opened on February 20, 1990. Located in just northeast of Bannister Mall in the Benjamin Plaza development, the South Kansas City store was the last Hypermart USA to open. It was the largest of the four Hypermart stores at 256,637 sq ft. Described as Walmart's "mall without walls," the Kansas City Hypermart 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, family 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, Walmart announced it would spend $4.9 million to convert the Kansas City Hypermart USA to a Walmart Supercenter. Walmart indicated that it was converting its last remaining Hypermart, because the stores were too big and too inconvenient for customers. Walmart 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 Kansas City Hypermart. 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. Walmart wanted to build a new Supercenter store in South Kansas City on State Line Road near 135th Street, so city leaders pressured Walmart to make improvements to the conditions of the Hypermart location before they would be given approval to move forward with the new South Kansas City store. At the time, Walmart said it would cost almost $5 million to renovate the 270,000 sq ft (25,000 m2) Hypermart store. Walmart moved forward with the renovation and conversion of the Hypermart store, along with bringing in new management to address the concerns of poor management at the store. In 2006, Walmart began construction on a new Walmart Supercenter on the site of the former Blue Ridge Mall. The new Supercenter was to be the first of Walmart's 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, Walmart announced that it would close former Hypermart store in mid-January 2007. The 400 employees were offered jobs at the new Blue Ridge store and other area Walmart stores. After 7 years of vacancy, the former Kansas City Hypermart was demolished in 2014 along with much of the surrounding vacant retail developments as part of a large redevelopment project.[3][8][9][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://supermarketnews.com/archive/2nd-popeyes-opens-wal-mart-hypermarket
  2. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20140116122111/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]