Marketplace Scratch Pad

A retail showdown in Arkansas

Scott Jagow Jun 4, 2009

Target recently opened a new store right in the heart of Wal-Mart country. Is that like if the Yankees had built their new stadium in South Boston? Or if Ohio State added a satellite campus in Ann Arbor?

Not really.

So far, there’ve been no reports of the new store getting hit with super-sized rolls of toilet paper or of people wearing t-shirts with anti-Target slogans. In fact, both companies seem downright friendly about it.

The Target was built in Rogers, Arkansas, a town of 50,000 people. There are five Wal-Marts in Rogers. 50,000 people. 5 Wal-Marts. From CNN Money:

Wal-Mart executives, in fact, have become regular visitors at this Target store. It’s located about seven minutes from Wal-Mart No. 1, the first Wal-Mart ever built, which opened in 1962, and is about 20 minutes (without traffic) from Wal-Mart’s headquarters in neighboring Bentonville.

Former Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott and his successor Mike Duke are both frequent visitors, according to Target store manager Chuck Simmons, who jokes that he has become so friendly with Wal-Mart’s district manager that “he’s like my second boss.”

As for other people in town, Lainie Button says it best: “It’s nice to have an option other than Wal-Mart.”

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