Walmart, Walmart, Walmart. No matter how many times we say no, you just keep coming back. Just look: Now the bigboxer says it is really, really serious about breaking into the five boroughs. How serious? So serious they've gone and hired Bloomberg's former campaign manager Bradley Tusk to spearhead their latest effort (maybe that explains the goodwill for the company coming from the mayor's office?). So serious they've leaked a survey that finds New Yorkers in favor of their new shopping overlords. All of which leads to the City Council, where a meeting on the prospect called "When Wal-Mart Comes to Town," originally scheduled for tomorrow, has been postponed to accomodate all the people who want to have their voices heard. All to say good things, we're sure.
The retailer's last big push into the city came five years ago when they tried to open up shop in Queens and Staten Island. Now they are looking to break into every borough—but not on their usual massive scale. The company says it is looking at sites as small as 30,000 square feet—a fifth the size of many of their stores—and further, trying to look like good neighbors, it claims to be focusing on areas that "underserved" economically and in access to fresh food ("food deserts").
Walmart also argues it would be good for the local economy, bringing jobs (if certainly not union jobs) for the unemployed. Not everyone agrees though. “There are some people who say, ‘Well, if Wal-Mart comes in, that means jobs,’” Stuart Appelbaum, the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, told the Times. “But what it does is, it replaces good jobs with jobs that keep people in poverty.”
Meanwhile, the Post today has a survey from the company that finds that out of 1,000 New Yorkers only 24% are opposed to the store coming to town (with 34% opposed to it coming to their neighborhoods). But as that survey was done at the behest of the behemoth, we'll take its findings with a ton of salt.
All of which is to say, things are about the same as they ever were. Walmart wants to come to New York while New York has mixed feelings on the prospect. In any event, that City Council meeting next month should be a fun one!