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The Chicago Sun Times reports that Walmart has signed a lease that will allow it to build one of its new Express stores in an existing space on the corner of Chicago and Franklin, in Chicago’s River North district.

According to the paper, the space is 14,300 square feet in size, and will feature “groceries, fresh foods, office supplies and a pharmacy.”
KC's View:
This is like a duck floating along on the Chicago River - the body seems serene, but underneath the water, the duck is paddling along like crazy.

It is going to be interesting to see how Walmart’s Chicago offensive plays out as part of the larger strategy. Internal Walmart documents say that the company wants to have a total of 10 of these Express units open nationally by the end of the fiscal year, with plans to quickly ramp up to 300 a year until the company has 1,000 in pretty quick order.

At the same time, Walmart will use Chicago as a laboratory to see how its urban strategy works, especially addressing the food desert issue that other companies have ignored. (More on that in another story below...)

Other cities will find other ways to deal with Walmart.

In New York, for example, the Daily News reports that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn - an avowed Walmart critic - “is working on a deal where the chain would agree to buy Hunts Point market produce for any city stores it opens ... Quinn said a Hunts Point deal alone wouldn't be enough to persuade her to drop her opposition, but she's open to a broader agreement.”

And there will, of course, be critics and naysayers, for whom Walmart can do nothing right.

Like I said, it’s gonna be interesting.