In addition to providing fantastic Rollback prices on that Chronicles of Riddick: Director's Cut DVD you've been eyeing, Wal-Mart also rolls back the number of local businesses around its turf. A recent report [pdf] released by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's office indicates that the opening of a Wal-Mart on 125th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem would shut down 25% of grocers nearby. It's survival of the fittest: those who don't provide inexpensive tubes of raspberry-chipotle cheese-filled sausage product must let nature take its course.
Stringer's study is based on a 2009 Loyola University study of Wal-Mart's effect on the west side of Chicago, which noted that 25% of competing businesses within a one-mile radius of a Wal-Mart went out of business within 12 months, and 40% shut down within 24 months. Wal-Mart is the nation's largest food retailer, and Stringer's office believes that the chain's presence in Harlem will cut into the city's Food Retail Expansion to Support Health and Healthy Bodega initiatives. "I'm all for low prices, but there are ways to do that that don't including killing local businesses," Stringer tells the Daily News.
And given that he was at the ribbon-cutting of Manhattan's Target, that may be true. His office said the difference between Target and Wal-Mart is vast, and that there's "no comparison" between the stores. Wal-Mart spokesman Steve Restivo disputed the Loyola study's findings and their potential to impact a store in Harlem: “Anyone who has been to the west side of Chicago knows the positive economic impact we've had there, just like anyone who walks the streets of Harlem knows residents need more affordable options when it comes to healthy, nutritious food."
So rest easy, New York City retailers! Those 159 Wal-Marts that the chain would need to satisfy their 21% market share are just healthy competition.