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WalMart 2010

VIA: Philadelphia Business Journal

Philadelphia’s first Walmart store plans a renovation and expansion in coming months, the company said Wednesday.

Work at the South Columbus Boulevard store, which opened in 1995 in South Philadelphia, will start late this year, said spokesman Steven Restivo.

“In this case, we’re adding square footage to the building and adding parking. Across the country, we’ve been renovating stores,” Restivo said.

To allow for the growth, Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust, a division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., paid $900,000 for a parcel at 1753 S. Columbus Blvd., on Sept. 17, according to public real estate records.

The property had been owned by Delaware Associates, a limited partnership set up by Wynnewood, Pa.-based Richard I. Rubin & Co. Inc., whose general partner is real estate investor Ronald Rubin.

The parcel being added is at the intersection of Pier 70 Boulevard and River Road, directly to the east of a McDonald’s in the same shopping complex. The shopping center also includes Home Depot.

Renovations on the existing store will include aesthetic changes, new logo and colors, reconfigured departments and a new merchandise mix, Restivo said.

“The new store will have more of a clean, open, bright look. It will have wider aisles,” he said.

In some cases, departments will be configured to complement one another — for example, with the pharmacy being closer to the beauty-and-cosmetics department.

Elsewhere in the Philadelphia area, the Lumberton, N.J., Walmart store had a similar makeover in recent months. Other renovations in a broader region were made in Wilmington, and New Castle, Del.; and Wilkes Barre, Pa.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) has 8,600 retail units in 15 countries, including 20 stores in the Philadelphia market. In the most recent fiscal year, it had worldwide sales of $405 million and 2 million employees.