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Sep 23, 2009 05:42 PM

Phoenix: Super Mercado de Walmart versus Phoenix Ranch Market

Intrigued by a posting elsewhere on this site that Super Mercado de Walmart blows Phoenix Ranch Market out of the water I went on a road trip this afternoon to compare.

Super Mercado (SM) is a new purpose built store while Phoenix Ranch Markets (PRM) are all repurposed big box stores usually former K-Marts. SM is a newer, nicer store than PRM no question about it. PRM isn't bad, SM is just nicer.

SM is a much lighter, brighter store with contemporary and bold graphics and a lot more free floor space. It is also much smaller and far less Hispanic oriented than PRM. The SM parking lot is equal to about one section of the PRM lot.

SM was not very busy and frankly had no buzz. PRM was packed - as usual - and had tremendous energy.

SM has a small cafeteria section that serves ordinary Mexican food. Was not at all impressed with the quality of what we tried which all came off the steam table. PRM has many prepared and prepared to order foods that SM doesn't have including tortas, ribs, many family meals and their food line dwarfs SM. PRM also has a ceviche bar, seafood bar that includes made to order fish tacos, an agua fresca counter, a salsa counter, a paleta and ice cream counter (SM sells paletas individually out of a self serve freezer) and several other food stands. PRM has a massive fresh tortilla operation while SM's come from a commissary. The PRM produce section is probably three times the size of SM with much more variety. PRM butcher counter has to be at least twice if not three times the size of SM. I didn't see a fresh fish section at SM but didn't realize it until I got to the PRM. Maybe I missed it?

Pricing seemed comparable on most items which surprised me . I thought SM would be lower.

SM offers a lot more US product as a percentage of total product that PRM.

PRM has other vendors inside and outside the store but SM doesn't.

I just saw absolutely no comparison and I'm wondering if the person who claimed SM was so much better actually went to PRM or one of the similarly named stores? I mean there is no comparison.

The big issue for me is that PRM is a fun, well managed store with alot of energy and different products that has really figured out how to sell to the Hispanic market. You take away the Spanish signage and a couple of other things and SM could be any US grocery.

FYI the PRM on the westside had more customers in the produce section than SM had in the entire store.

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  1. Thanks for such an informative comparison Poerz. I'm a big fan of the Ranch Markets. We like to bring East Coast out-of-town guests there and pick up groceries and prepared food for the week, and every time, our food-loving friends and family request a return visit on their next trip to Phoenix.

    1. Thanks for such a helpful and detailed report. Just curious: where is SM de Wal-mart located, and are you comparing it to a specific Pro's Ranch Market location?

      3 Replies
      1. re: silverbear

        SM is located just east of 91st Avenue on Thomas. I compared it with two PRM's. One around 60th Avenue and Thomas and the Mother Ship at 16th Street and Roosevelt. I believe there are three PRM's on the far westside of Phoenix so SM's marketshare is miniscule.

        1. re: Poerz

          Thanks. That sounds like a pretty in-depth and fair analysis. Maybe there's a dissertation topic in there somewhere.

          1. re: silverbear

            Indeed. I'm working on the analytics next!

      2. I'd like to hear from whoever claimed Super Mercado was superior to Phoenix Ranch Markets and get an explanation.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Phoenix99

          I stopped in to Walmart's Super Mercado a few weeks ago, only because I had an appointment across the street @ Banner Estrella. I thought it was still a Walmart Neighborhood Market...I didn't know about the change until I pulled into the Parking lot. From what I could see the selection of products seemed even more limited to me than a regular Walmart. The stores focus was definitely on the Hispanic popuation. I didn't feel it had the breadth and or selection of PRM or a Food City.