Wal-Mart with a Latin touch

Mexico is one of Wal-Mart's (WMT) largest markets. The retailer has well over 1,000 stores there, so it can claim to be an expert in retail sales in the region. It now plans to bring some of that expertise to the U.S., where the Latin market is huge.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart will experiment with a new warehouse store concept in Houston, in an attempt to tap the rapidly growing Latino population in the U.S. The new store, called Más Club, is a Latin version of Sam's Club, and will offer bulk quantities of items popular with Latin shoppers.

While a number of retailers in the Southwest have operations aimed at immigrants, Wal-Mart can take advantage of the same strengths it has used to muscle out competition before. It can offer customers remarkably low rates because of its clout with suppliers. Its stores are big enough to offer shoppers a wider variety of products than its competitors can.

But Wal-Mart's most important advantage may be its long-term presence in Mexico. Some of the immigrants coming to the U.S. have probably already shopped in those stores. At the very least, they know about the firm's large presence in Mexico.

Wal-Mart has broken the competition before using its unique strengths. The Latino market in the U.S. won't be an exception.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.

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