Wal-Mart testing out used-car businesses adjacent to Houston-area stores

Tuesday, April 23rd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ The world's largest retailer is taking a test drive in the used-car business.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is planning to lease property adjacent to five of its stores in the Houston area to a Connecticut-based car sales company for six months, Wal-Mart spokesman Jay Allen said Tuesday.

Allen said Wal-Mart and Asbury Automotive Inc. will then evaluate the program and decide where to go from there. Wal-Mart's only involvement will be to lease the property and help Asbury Automotive develop the program, he said.

By early May, Houston shoppers could be able to bank, get their hair done, buy groceries, new clothes and a car, gas up and go _ all from the same location.

The Bentonville-based Wal-Mart and Asbury Automotive will announce later which five Wal-Mart locations in Texas will be the first to open the Price 1 Auto Stores. The store name refers to the ``no haggle'' set price for each vehicle, Allen said.

Each lot will have an assortment of 60 to 100 foreign and domestic cars, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles. Allen would not say why Wal-Mart chose the Houston market for the new venture.

Advertising would be minimal and consist of posters in area stores, Allen said. ``The whole idea is with Wal-Mart's traffic, you don't need to do much advertising,'' he said.