High-end grocers like Whole Foods or Central Market have long had a place in BMW trunks, but with the economy in a slump and Wal-Mart pushing higher-end store brands like lines from "Better Homes and Gardens," many wealthier shoppers are hitting the 'Mart...in secret.
While most average shoppers have long thought Wal-Mart's prices were a great reason to frequent the Supercenter, it took a economic slump (and maybe the loss of those once valued "stock options") to get others past the smiling greeters and into the stores.
Once inside, they'll notice more style, and more choices, than Wal-Mart's old stereotype had entailed. That's Wal-Mart's goal, too, with newly remodeled stores in a "cleaner, faster, friendlier" style that should continue to bring in the new households.
The world's largest retailer is planning to renovate 70 percent of its stores over the next five years. The changes include a new interior and exterior look, larger signs and aisles, lower shelves and racks, easier checkout lines and a centrally located pharmacy.
Are you a "secret" Wal-Mart shopper, or do you let your Great Value brand groceries stay out in the open, daring house-guests to ask you where you got peas for $0.69 a can?