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Official: New Wal-Mart won't open until 2010

COVINGTON - The opening of the new Wal-Mart Supercenter planned for the intersection of Brown Bridge and Salem roads in Newton County has been delayed by two years, according to a spokesman.

The store was originally scheduled to open this summer, but now, construction likely won't begin until 2009, with the store to open in mid-2010, Wal-Mart Spokesman Glenn Wilkins said.

"We want to make sure that when we go into a community, we don't impact our current stores negatively. We want to wait a little bit longer," before opening a second store in Newton County, Wilkins said. The Wal-Mart Supercenter on Industrial Boulevard in Covington opened in July 2007.

Wilkins said the delay was not related to Home Depot dropping plans to open a store at Brown Bridge Road and Ga. Highway 212, about four miles from the Wal-Mart site.

"We own the land and are still committed to the site," he said.

The Board of Commissioners approved the Wal-Mart in January 2007. Wilkins said then that Wal-Mart uses 50 or 60 different studies to determine whether opening an additional store in a community is justified, taking into account merchandise availability, wait times at checkout and ZIP codes of shoppers taken from checks and credit card payments.

The company's studies indicated an expected market growth of more than 60 percent within two miles of the site, he said.

"This is a big project and it's important to us; we're not just going to go at it willy-nilly and hope that it works," he said.

Wilkins predicted the store would generate between $1 million and $1.5 million in sales and property tax revenues annually.

Wal-Mart's site plan includes a 203,710-square-foot supercenter and four outparcels totaling 64,000 square feet.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.