BENTONVILLE, Arkansas: Wal-Mart, the US retail chain, is set to run a pilot programme that will see it relaunch two of its Neighborhood Market stores, which will now be targeted specifically at Hispanic consumers.

The new Supermercado de Walmart stores will open in Phoenix and Houston in the first half of 2009, and will change their layout and product offering to focus on the sizeable Hispanic markets in these areas.

Similarly, the company's Sam's Club warehouse chain will open Mas Club outlets later this year, which will also be catering more directly for Hispanic shoppers, such as by selling a larger number of goods that have been imported from Mexico.

Wal-Mart's Mexican operations posted a sales increase of 4.7% last month, and Dave Sievers, of Archstone Consulting, argues the launch of stores specifically for Hispanic consumers is "a continuation of Wal-Mart targeting high growth segments."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff