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CNN reports that the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, described as “a nonprofit group that criticizes Walmart, Amazon and other large companies,” is calling for a federal probe into whether Walmart is anti-competitive by dint of its size and influence, and that it should be “forced to sell off some of its stores.”

The story says that because “Walmart is the nation's largest grocer,” controlling “around a fifth of the grocery industry nationwide,” its strength “in some corners of America is overwhelming and has stifled competition.”

CNN writes that the Institute for Local Self-Reliance “'challenges concentrated economic and political power’ and advocates for widely-dispersed responsibilities in local communities.” It is calling on the Federal Trade Commission “to review the 203 markets where Walmart controls 50% or more of grocery sales, and, ‘in as many as is feasible, compel the retailer to divest stores’.”
KC's View:
Is Walmart huge? Sure. Crushing sometimes? Absolutely. Anti-competitive? Certainly, especially if you happen to be the competition.

But I also think that sometimes Walmart has achieved its preeminence in some markets because other stores there didn’t compete effectively. They did thins the way they’d always done them, rather than looking for Walmart’s weaknesses and exploiting them.

What happens if Walmart sells a couple of hundred stores, and the retailers that buy them don’t offer a competitive shopping experience? Who is that serving?

Besides, even if Walmart were forced to sell stores, it could effectively market to shoppers in those markets through its e-commerce business, which could hit the competition equally hard. Unless, of course, the Institute is interested in also banning e-commerce companies from serving certain markets. None of which seems productive in my view.