Wal-mart, the largest low-cost retail provider in the United States, is now aiming its sights at a decidedly smaller market, but one that packs a powerful punch: Latino shoppers. Wal-mart’s plan to open Latino-centered stores carrying a wide variety of Hispanic products is already underway with the first and second Latino Wal-mart’s opening their doors to customers in Houston, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona. Supermercado de Wal-Mart for Hispanics (Supermercado for short) will feature Mexican grocery store staples such as tripe, pigs feet, mangoes, limes and papayas as well as a small eating area where traditional fare-think tacos, tortas, and chicken mole-are served daily. Other features include a baby section and an expanded party aisle with piñatas and other accessories for celebration. Each employee is bilingual and Spanish signage adorns the walls and counters of the two 39,000 square foot stores.

Despite the recent economic meltdown, Wal-mart is staying one step ahead of the curve. The booming Latino population of the United States points to increased purchase power walmarto1of this niche market and Wal-mart stands ready to answer the call. Wal-mart’s latest investment shows the power of demographic trends and cultural strategy in the U.S. economy as Latinos become a stronger market presence and demand increasing attention. And other companies are taking note of the new Latino marketing trend as American companies try to make their products more appealing to this niche community.