Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to open its fourth San Diego County location of Walmart Neighborhood Market early next year on Mission Avenue in Oceanside.

The 31,000-square-foot store will occupy a currently vacant retail space and employ approximately 65 people, the company said in a statement. The Oceanside store is expected to open in the first half of 2014.

Wal-Mart previously debuted its small-format grocery store in La Mesa and San Diego’s Sherman Heights neighborhood, with another store set to open this fall in Escondido.

The Neighborhood Market stores, most between 30,000 and 60,000 square feet, include a pharmacy and departments selling items including fresh produce, meats, deli foods, baked goods and grocery staples. The concept debuted in 1998 and there are now approximately 250 stores nationwide, including 24 in California.

Wal-Mart currently operates 23 stores in San Diego County, including 11 general merchandise stores, nine supercenters, two Neighborhood Market stores and one Sam’s Club location.

The new Neighborhood Market will be the retailer’s fourth store in Oceanside, where it employs a total of approximately 900 people.

— Lou Hirsh