Wal-Mart Craft Beer Set?

Retail giant begins adding upscale products including beer and wine

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has overcome its rural roots and downscale image to attract affluent shoppers.

In its boldest effort yet to target upscale shoppers, the nation’s largest retailer is opening a new store this week in Plano, Texas with an expanded selection that includes not only high-end electronics and fine jewelry, but also craft beer and hundreds of types of wine ranging up to $500 a bottle.

Wal-Mart says it won’t duplicate this format anywhere else. But if plasma TVs, microbrewery beer and fancy balsamic vinegar sell in Plano, those items could be added to stores in other affluent communities.

Retail experts say nearly half of American families shop at Wal-Mart at least once a week. They say the retail giant has nearly tapped out its middle-class base and must attract consumers who otherwise shop at higher-end stores.