A spokesperson for the Cincinnati-based retailer the Kroger Company today (20 July) confirmed plans to open a number of new Marketplace Stores in its home region.

The plans were unveiled by Geoff Covert, president of Kroger's Cincinnati/Dayton division, during a preview of the company's first Marketplace Store, which opens its doors to the public today.

"The Marketplace Stores are about double the size of our standard stores," a spokesperson for the company told just-food. "Plans are in the pipeline to open ten stores in the region in the next few years."

The announcement would appear to place Kroger in more direct competition with the world's largest retailer Wal-Mart, which dominates the large-scale market with its Supercentres.

Wal-Mart opened or expanded three Supercentres in the greater Cincinnati area in May, and expects to strengthen its presence in the region further in the coming years.

The Kroger spokesperson declined to comment on whether it would compete directly with Wal-Mart, simply replying that: "We want to serve the interests of our customers as best we can."