By Erin Durkin
September 22, 2011
Walmart would have to open as many as 159 stores in New York City to gain a successful market share, the chain's foes say in a new report.
Researchers calculated how many stores it would take for Walmart to claim 21% of the city's grocery market - its average share of the market nationally - and found they'd have to open 159 across the five boroughs to achieve that.
"I think in the next decade it's very realistic. Walmart is so desperate for growth," said Josh Kellerman of the labor-backed group ALIGN, who prepared the report along with CUNY's Murphy Institute. "Five stores, 10 stores, 20 stores would do nothing to address their economic woes."
Controlling a fifth of the market would take 48 stores in Brooklyn; 43 in Queens; 31 in Manhattan, 27 in the Bronx and 10 in Staten Island, the advocates say.
They predict 11 Walmart supercenters, with the rest the small and medium-size stores Walmart has started building in urban areas.
But many New Yorkers would welcome the Walmart influx. Figures released by the store this week say New Yorkers are on track to spend $215 million this year at suburban Walmarts, up from $195 million in 2010.
"New Yorkers may save money when they travel out of the city to shop at Walmart, but in other respects, New York City loses," said Hugh O'Neill, president of economic development consulting firm Appleseed, citing $7.7 million in lost sales tax revenue.
A Marist poll last month found 64% of city residents would support a Walmart in their neighborhood.
"I love Walmart. I go all the way to Jersey and Rockland County to shop there," said Julie Ellingham, 54, of Baychester, the Bronx. "I have heard that Walmart treats some employees bad and hires employees with low education. But I care most about the sales."
Walmart officials dismissed the study as a "fairy tale."
"Their 'Walmartization' of New York forecast is that we'll somehow open 159 stores here overnight; a guess based on our current market share across the country," the company said in a statement.
"The fact that any national market share we currently enjoy took five decades to achieve is somehow lost on them and shows the depths to which they will sink to try and manipulate reality."
Walmart is eying a Related Companies development in East New York for its first New York City store, and the space is big enough for a traditional "big box" Walmart, but officials say they're also considering spots all over the city for different kinds of stores.
The ALIGN study also predicts 105 businesses in the neighborhood would close within two years if Walmart opened there.
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