A food fight has erupted between Wal-Mart and Supervalu, both of which sell groceries at St. Paul's Midway Marketplace shopping center.
Supervalu operates a Cub Foods store there, which opened well before the Wal-Mart across the parking lot. Supervalu accuses the Walmart of expanding its grocery section far beyond what the lease permits.
Supervalu and the shopping center landlord have sued Wal-Mart in Ramsey County District Court, asking that Wal-Mart be forced to scale back its grocery section.
Dave Livingston, a supermarket consultant and industry analyst, said it's standard practice for a grocer to demand protection from competition within a shopping center.
"That's why they put these lease restrictions into contracts. If it wasn't important, they wouldn't do it at all. It's always in your best interests to limit your competition," he said.
Wal-Mart said it's exempt from the lease restrictions on groceries. Wal-Mart took over the store from Kmart several years ago.