PORTLAND, Ore. — A developing space-sharing agreement between Wal-Mart and Papa Murphy's Take 'N' Bake is paving the way for future partnerships between the world's largest retailer and the world's largest take-and-bake pizza chain.

According to the Portland Business Journal, a Papa Murphy's-Wal-Mart test began last year with two units in Wisconsin, and one each in Michigan, Ohio and Kansas. It currently is adding five more stores inside Wal-Mart Supercenters in Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois and Minnesota, and the company wants a total of 21 in-store Wal-Mart sites by the end of the year.

According to Papa Murphy's sources, Wal-Mart Supercenter sites bear the best results because of their grocery stores and their high customer traffic. Those sites also sell many more pizzas in peak daytime shopping hours as opposed to the traditional nighttime pizza purchasing rush.

Papa Murphy's corporate leases space inside Wal-Mart stores and sublets that to franchisees.

Frank Gunderson, vice president for real estate for Papa Murphy's, said Wal-Mart first approached Papa Murphy's CEO and owner Terry Collins about the partnership.

Seeing the success of those nontraditional units has the pizza chain's franchisees wanting Wal-Mart slots.

"There are more requests than space in Wal-Mart," Gunderson said.

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