retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Crain’s Chicago Business has a complicated 3,300 word investigative piece looking at some of Walmart’s expansion efforts in Chicago, specifically the building of a store in the Austin neighborhood on the city’s west side. In essence, the story makes the claim that while Walmart made a big deal out of hiring minority-owned firms for the construction phase, much of the work actually was farmed out to non-minority firms. In addition, the piece makes the charge that Walmart keeps such a tight rein on construction, forcing bids down while simultaneously creating a process that encourages cost overruns, that it is almost impossible to make any money building its stores.

The piece is worth reading in its entirety: Click here.

• Meanwhile, published reports say that Walmart has closed on the $10 million acquisition of a 13.5 acre plot of land on Chicago’s South Side, where it plans to build a 155,000 square foot supercenter - one of a number of units that it plans to build in the Windy City as part of its urban expansion strategy.
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