Wal-Mart seeks to tether small stores to big ones

NEW YORK (AP) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says it plans to accelerate growth of its small stores by linking them to its supercenters, which will serve as mini-warehouses for their smaller cousins.

The moves come as the world's largest retailer faces increasing pressure from online retailers like Amazon.com as well as dollar stores, which have been rapidly building stores and winning customers through low prices and convenience.

Wal-Mart says it is starting to roll out the new distribution scheme in certain markets like Gentry, Ark., where it operates a Wal-Mart Express store, which is one-tenth the size of a typical supercenter.

The retailer operates more than 4,000 stores in the U.S.
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