San Diego Business Journal

If you can’t super-size ’em, then make ’em undersized. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is planning to launch hundreds of smaller, food-oriented neighborhood stores, including an undetermined number of outlets here in San Diego, according to published reports surfacing recently. The reports say the Arkansas-based discount retailer is looking at locations with store sizes as small as 5,000 square feet with larger sizes ranging up to 30,000 square feet. Executives also have their eyes on urban markets in Chicago, L.A. and New York, say reports. Wal-Mart’s interest comes at a time when British grocer Tesco is slowing down expansion of its Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market outlets in the county. The chain now has 12 stores up and running here, but it closed many recently in Phoenix and Las Vegas, plus one on Riverside County. Additional store openings have been postponed till early 2011, Tesco says. Wal-Mart’s shift to smaller stores comes as San Diego’s Planning Commission is weighing an official ban on big-box stores larger than 90,000 square feet … Pearn Peter Niiler, a retired professor at UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, died Oct. 15 at age 73 after suffering a massive heart attack. He was one of the world’s leading authorities on ocean circulation, and he had developed a method to track currents and temperatures in the very lightly traveled stretches of the Southern Ocean ... Just in time for the holidays — Albertsons food stores is giving away $1,000 in free groceries to help support the Ed Brown Senior Center at Rancho Bernardo. The donation will underwrite a holiday season drawing and membership drive for the center … The county’s Department of Environmental Health wants to help local small businesses recycle free of charge those hazardous fluorescent bulbs when they burn out. So officials have assembled 2,200 postage-paid recycling kits that can hold up to 75 fluorescent bulbs or tubes. Take a look at sdcdeh.org for details on how to get rid of your fixtures … Oceanhouse Media in Encinitas has released two new e-books for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, just in time for the Halloween season: the Dr. Seuss short story “What was I Scared of?” and Joe Troiano’s “The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin.” Oceanhouse Media says seven of its Dr. Seuss and Berenstain Bears eBooks have topped the No. 1 rank for paid books sold in Apple’s famed App Store … Finally, how ’bout a drink? Now through Oct. 31, Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern, the Point Loma “gastro-tavern featuring unfussy, nostalgic American fare,” is selling the self-concocted “TaTa Tini,” made with vodka, white cranberry juice, triple sec, lime and pomegranate seeds to support the Breast Cancer Unit at Moores UCSD Cancer Center. Half of the $9 for each drink is donated. Seeya!

Contributing editor Tom York pens the SDBJ Insider. Reach him at tyork@sdbj.com, and follow him on twitter at Toms2cents.