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Can You Catch Live Fish For Dinner At Your Wal-Mart?

What's the Latest Development?

Wal-Mart, Tesco, and Carrefour SA all experienced declining sales this year as more of their targeted customers headed to RT-Mart, China's take on the hypermarket. Industry consultant George Ren says the store's parent company, Sun Art Retail Group Ltd., is winning due to "more localized management, sharper knowledge of the Chinese consumer, tailoring shopping experiences and offering discounts on regional specialties." According to the market research firm Euromonitor, Sun Art had a 12.8 percent market share last year, compared to Wal-Mart's 11.2 percent and French multinational Carrefour's 8.1 percent.

What's the Big Idea?

One big reason RT-Mart is succeeding is that it combines features of a big box store with those found in the typical neighborhood street market. At one Shanghai location, for example, customers can use baskets to catch a variety of live fish from tanks, which are then fabricated on the spot; meanwhile, the nearby Wal-Mart offers mostly frozen seafood. One shopper says she prefers RT-Mart because: "you [know] you get the best value for your money when you see all the other housewives and the average person on the street shopping here."

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