retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times this morning reports that even as Walmart tries to marshall political support that will allow it to open stores in New York City, trying to follow the game plan that brought it success in Chicago, limited assortment retailer Aldi already has opened a store in Queens and plans to open another one in Bronx later this year.

The point of the story is that while Walmart and Target both have spent a lot of time talking about their urban strategies, even developing smaller formats that will allow them to have greater flexibility in city markets, “Aldi has quietly been setting up its shops in cities around the country ... Even though Aldi, like Wal-Mart, is nonunion, it has faced little resistance, compared with the heated opposition often headed by unions and politicians that Wal-Marts have encountered in larger markets.”

At least part of the reason for Aldi’s success is that it tends to deal with small landlords on a case-by-case basis, avoiding the big splash and high-profile developments that have tended to be part of Walmart’s efforts.
KC's View:
Maybe Walmart would have been better served by a more low-profile approach, but I suspect that it would not have mattered. Walmart is Walmart, and it hard to hide its history and intentions.