Wal-Mart is testing a new "dollar store" boutique concept in a number of its units in the US.

The stores included in the store-within-a-store trial have segregated sections in which all items cost a dollar or less. If the concept catches on with consumers it could spread to other stores.

The move follows a study by Retail Forward which suggested that the small format sector and dollars stores would perform well because of their price/value/convenience approach.

Responding to concern within the traditional dollar store business that Wal-mart could build freestanding dollar stores, starting up its own chain using the format, Wal-Mart said that it hasn't broken ground or signed leases for any separate dollar-store business.

It also said it hasn't been shopping for irregular merchandise or closeout products often associated with dollar-store outlets.