One toilet paper roll at a time

I read an interesting article recently in the WSJ about Wal-Mart’s decision to adopt bodega-type stores in Mexico to better compete for low-income consumers.  Since that piece is gated, try checking out this article, which gives a lot of background information.  Apparently, Wal-Mart has experimented with a 3-pronged approach in Mexico and hopes to re-create the experiment in other emerging markets.  Briefly, the three prongs are:

1. The creation of a “compact hypermarket” called Bodega Aurrera, carrying a mix of “roughly 60% food and 40% non-food items, measuring about 42,000 square feet.”  I don’t know anything about retailing, but Aurrera?  Who came up with that?  It sounds horrible to me, but what do I know?

2.  A neighborhood supermarket called Mi Bodega that is smaller and focuses more on food items.  Now this name I like.

3.  Yikes, back to the Aurrera name.  The third creation is the Bodega Aurrera Express and it is a “soft discount store.”  Hmm, what does the adjective soft mean here? According to the article, it will have “an 80% food vs 20% non-food mi, focusing heavily on price and convenience as the primary trip drivers.”

Wal-Mart is hoping to provide a bridge between formal and informal markets.   One of the ways they are doing this is by “offering smaller packages or the option of buying one-packs (vs bundles) for things that other retailers wouldn’t bother doing.”  Check out the pet food sold by the meal and toilet paper sold by the roll:

petfood    toiletpaper

That is smart business!

Funny Sidenote:  The toilet paper innovation reminded me of Jim Gaffigan’s riff on Hot Pockets and the impossibility of buying toilet paper in a dignified way (given that they come 18 rolls per case). Here’s the piece if your are looking for a laugh:

One thought on “One toilet paper roll at a time

  1. Walmart bought out the Aurrerá chain in Mexico. They’re using the name because it’s already known to Mexican shoppers. Wikipedia has an article on Aurrerá.

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