Byline: Frank Green
Apr. 28--Wal-Mart, the 900-pound gorilla in the U.S. grocery industry, may soon be flexing its muscles at Supercenters near you.
The company's massive hybrid stores which combine full grocery lines and general merchandise in sprawling discount outlets covering up to 230,000 square feet have already gobbled up market share in the 44 states outside California where it operates more than 1,000 of the outlets.
"We're definitely going to come into San Diego with Supercenters sooner or later," said Wal-Mart spokesman Peter Kanelos.
The incursion of Wal-Mart into San Diego County's cutthroat supermarket industry could force the dominant retail chains here to further diversify their product lines and services to provide more comprehensive one-stop shopping.
Vons, Ralphs and Albertson's have been buffeted in recent years by the spread of warehouse clubs like Costco and specialty stores such as Henry's.
Local shoppers already can see the morphing of the old-fashioned supermarket. Ralphs' La Jolla outlet, for instance, looks more like a Main Street retail strip these days than a food outlet.
Spread over its 85,000 square feet of floor space is a Postal Annex, a Wells Fargo bank, a dry cleaners, a pharmacy, a yogurt shop and a key shop, among other …