retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Chicago Sun Times this morning reports that in order to open more stores there, Walmart would accept a wage minimum stipulated by the city of Chicago - but only if it applied to all of the city’s businesses.

"If there is a minimum wage ordinance that applies to everybody, and every business in Chicago is held to that ordinance, then the answer would be yes," says Rolando Rodriguez, vice president and regional general manager for Walmart. "There's no need for Wal-Mart to be singled out. Why is it all other retailers are allowed to build in Chicago and we are not?"

The conditional concession by Walmart comes a day after Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said that it was critical for divergent interests in the city to come together to allow new stores to be opened by Walmart; he said that new stores would give middle class residents a low priced shopping option, as well as providing jobs in a city that needs them.

Walmart only has one store within the Chicago city limits, with further expansion opposed by smaller retailers and organized labor.

It would not be the first time that Walmart accepted such a wage stipulation; according to the Sun Times, “Earlier this year, Santa Fe, N.M., passed a minimum wage of $9.85 an hour that applies to employees of all city contractors, city-licensed businesses and nonprofits, including part-time and temporary workers. Wal-Mart went along with the ordinance. It has one store thriving in Santa Fe, and it's about to break ground on a super-center that sells groceries.”
KC's View:
The irony here is that by the time the various constituencies in Chicago figure this all out and come to some sort of accord, the recession probably will be over and prosperity will reign yet again.

At least, we can hope.