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Wal-Mart’s Asda Group confirmed that it will open a stand-alone, 41,000-square-foot general merchandise store in the UK, featuring a full selection of the nonfood items that it has carried in its combination stores. The store reportedly is a one-unit test, with any rollout dependent on how the single store performs.

In a prepared statement, Asda said, "It will enable us to test reaction to our growing general merchandise ranges outside of an Asda food supermarket."
KC's View:
This is an intriguing move by Asda, especially in view of a recent report released by the IGD Group saying that 11 percent of the UK’s shoppers go to supermarkets specifically to buy nonfood items.

You would think that the data suggests that retailing power comes from the creation of synergies between food and nonfood, not breaking them up. And yet here we have Wal-Mart going against what we would suppose is the conventional wisdom.

Go figure.

In all probability, all this really means is that Wal-Mart is willing to try anything reasonable to see if it works. That’s why it has created stand-alone “George” stores for its fashion offerings in the UK, and probably why it is creating this stand-alone nonfoods store.

To use a metaphor expressed in this space before, Wal-Mart is playing the retail game as if it is poker…not chess. The Bentonville Behemoth makes bets, it sees what works, then moves on.