Looks like that temporary Walmart in Times Square last year may have been a sign of what’s to come for the city. The Financial Times reported today that the retail giant is finally ready to muscle its way into larger cities, including New York.
“We already have in our real estate program a robust plan to go after those [urban markets],” Eduardo Castro Wright, the CEO of Wal-Mart’s U.S. stores, told analysts. While it has discount stores (which don’t sell fresh food) around Philadelphia, DC and Los Angeles, there are few of the more profitable Supercenters near those cities.
Walmart, the largest U.S. private employer, is strongly anti-union and UFCW grocery workers’ union and its political allies have done their job keeping the chain on city outskirts. However, Saint Consulting found the number of people who would oppose a new Wal-Mart in their neighborhood dropped from 68% two years ago to 56% this year. Wal-Mart has gotten a “new respect from politicians, from economists and from the media,” said a company spokesperson, and apparently the retail behemoth has also devoted charitable giving to black charities in urban areas, like Chicago, Philadelphia and NYC.