In a move that marketing strategists love and socio/economic minded activists hate, Wal*Mart is opening its first store on a college campus. Most likely to be called “Wal*Mart on Campus” this store will be a prototype for the big-box retailer to move into smaller spaces where their normal 200,000 square foot stores either don’t fit or can’t pass zoning regulations.
As a consumer I hate to think that the laconic, small-town drug store or hardware store that has been serving the campus community for decades will no be put out of business. But, as a marketing strategist, I think it’s brilliant! College kids: not much access to transportation outside of campus and spending their parent’s money? Genius move on Wal*Mart’s part. Genius.
Plus, if this new format is a success, it will pave the way into more crowded market spaces like the highly-sought-after Manhattan retail arena. Is there nothing Wal*Mart can’t do?