retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Crain’s New York Business reports that Walmart is hunting for potential locations in New York City, noting that the initiative comes two years after then-CEO Lee Scott said that opening a store in the Big Apple was not “worth the effort.” Past attempts have been foiled by a coalition of community members and organized labor interests that objected to the impact a Walmart might have both on small and unionized retailers.

It seems more likely that Walmart will focus on the so-called outer boroughs – Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island – though a Manhattan store has not been ruled out. The ongoing recession is seen as creating an opportunity for Walmart in New York City – more people than ever need both low prices and jobs.

“Now, more than any other time in recent memory, New York City residents want and need better access to our stores so they are not forced to travel to New Jersey or Long Island to benefit from the savings Wal-Mart provides for working families,” wrote a spokesman, Philip Serghini, in an e-mail message. “Hopefully we will be able to bring a store to New York in the near future.”

While there is a general concession that Walmart has done much to rehabilitate its reputation over the past few years, Crain’s reports that the retailer is likely to face similar push-back this time around.
KC's View:
It always appears in these situations that local merchants are convinced that the only way they can compete with Walmart is to keep the Bentonville Behemoth from opening anywhere nearby.

One bit of advice to threatened retailers in NYC: start operating now as if Walmart is across the street or down the block. Because it is going to happen. Eventually. New York City is too big, too juicy an apple for Walmart to stay away indefinitely.