retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart said last week in a regulatory filing that it has so far spent $51 million to deal with investigations into charges that it engaged in the bribery of Mexican officials as a way of accelerating growth of its devision there. The company is conducting its own probe into the allegations, is cooperating with several federal investigations, and also is defending itself against more than a dozen lawsuits related to the matter.

• The New York Times reports that a local judge has refused to stop the construction of a Walmart Neighborhood Market store in the Chinatown section of Los Angeles, making it seem even more likely that despite the opposition of local businesses and activists, the new store will open next year.

Here's how the Times frames the story:

"The Walmart Neighborhood Market would offer Chinatown its first mainstream grocery store in decades. But since the company’s plan was announced in February, a furious battle has broken out over the project, with community activists and labor unions determined to block the world’s largest retailer from the neighborhood.

"In March, the City Council banned large chain stores from opening in Chinatown. But Walmart received its building permit a day before that vote, exempting the store from the ban. Then in June, thousands of protesters marched through Chinatown in a show of opposition to the new Walmart. Several labor unions have also sued to stop the project."
KC's View:
The whole neighborhood character issue may be a somewhat overblown issue; a Walmart spokesman points out that when the store opens, it will have Subway next door and a Burger King across the street.