This in from Morning Newsbeat:
Walmart Looks To Turn NYC Into A Wondrous Toy, An Aisle Of Joy
Crain’s New York Business reports that Walmart is hunting for potential locations in New York City, noting that the initiative comes two years after then-CEO Lee Scott said that opening a store in the Big Apple was not “worth the effort.” Past attempts have been foiled by a coalition of community members and organized labor interests that objected to the impact a Walmart might have both on small and unionized retailers.
It seems more likely that Walmart will focus on the so-called outer boroughs – Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island – though a Manhattan store has not been ruled out. The ongoing recession is seen as creating an opportunity for Walmart in New York City – more people than ever need both low prices and jobs.
“Now, more than any other time in recent memory, New York City residents want and need better access to our stores so they are not forced to travel to New Jersey or Long Island to benefit from the savings Wal-Mart provides for working families,” wrote a spokesman, Philip Serghini, in an e-mail message. “Hopefully we will be able to bring a store to New York in the near future.”
While there is a general concession that Walmart has done much to rehabilitate its reputation over the past few years, Crain’s reports that the retailer is likely to face similar push-back this time around.
KC's View: It always appears in these situations that local merchants are convinced that the only way they can compete with Walmart is to keep the Bentonville Behemoth from opening anywhere nearby.
One bit of advice to threatened retailers in NYC: start operating now as if Walmart is across the street or down the block. Because it is going to happen. Eventually. New York City is too big, too juicy an apple for Walmart to stay away indefinitely.
From Morning Newsbeat...
The Arkansas Democrat/Gazette has an interesting story about how Walmart is utilizing local farmers throughout the US, serving as both a way to cut down on the miles between farm and fork and a way for Walmart to differentiate and distinguish itself in the food business.
The story notes that Walmart buys about 70 percent of its produce from U.S.-based suppliers, but that those in the know seem to feel that more can be done – that better communication and coordination can create a connection between retailers and local farmers that will have both economic and environmental benefits.
In North Carolina, the Daily Advance
reports that Walmart “has no objections to a ban on single-use plastic
bags in the beach areas of three counties and expects to comply fully
with the measure now that it’s become law.”
The three counties affected are the Outer Banks areas of Hyde, Currituck and Dare counties. It requires retailers with five or more stores in North Carolina and at least 5,000 square feet of sales floor space to offer paper bags made from 100-percent recyclable materials or reusable tote bags.
“This (change) is right in line with our values,” says Chris Neeley, a spokesman for Walmart. “Walmart has been a leader around the country in gradually removing plastic bags from our stores, and easing people in to reusable bags. We’re a corporate leader in the green movement.”
The law actually affects only one Walmart store, but Neeley says that the company could implement changes in other units based on lessons learned in that single unit.
KC's View: Another case of Walmart doing the right thing. It is easy to imagine Walmart getting ahead of the curve on this issue by announcing that it is eliminating plastic bag usage completely from its stores.