(March 19, 9:40 a.m.) Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s greeters will have a new phrase for shoppers at two remodeled stores this summer — “Hola, Bienvenido a Wal-Mart.”

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer is remodeling two of its Neighborhood Market stores and plans to open them under a new Hispanic-themed banner, Supermercado de Wal-Mart.

“As a part of our store refresh program this year, we are converting two existing Neighborhood Markets — one in Phoenix and one in Houston — to better serve the diverse needs of the local community,” said Amy Wyatt-Moore, public relations and brand reputation manager for Wal-Mart.

Wyatt-Moore said the stores are in neighborhoods with strong Hispanic populations and will open by August.

“The stores will feature a new layout, signing and product assortment designed to make them even more relevant to the local Hispanic customers,” she said.

The retailer previously announced plans to open a Hispanic warehouse store, Mas Club, in Houston in early 2009.

Wal-Mart already has a strong presence in the Hispanic world, said retail consultant David Livingston of DJL Research LLC, Pewaukee, Wis.

“They have operated stores in Mexico for years, they control retailing in Puerto Rico and they have done some of their best stores along the Rio Grande,” he said. “I think they will do as well as they do anywhere else.”

In Houston, Wal-Mart will go head-to-head with regional banners from Houston-based Fiesta Mart Inc., and San Antonio-based H.E. Butt Co.’s Mi Tienda stores.

“I think HEB and Fiesta will still have the upper hand, being locally operated, offering better perishables and higher service levels,” he said.

Pro’s Ranch Market, an Ontario, Calif.-based Hispanic grocer, opened a new Phoenix-area store in mid-February. The retailer has seven stores in the area.

Livingston said Wal-Mart stores don’t offer the service levels to which many Hispanic customers are accustomed, especially in the perishables departments.

“Still, Wal-Mart is all about price and they will succeed just on that,” he said.