By Hamilton Nolan
September 21, 2011
As we type, Wal-Mart is working hard to win approval for its very first Store Numero Uno in New York City. But according to a horrifying and hopefully untrustworthy new study, Wal-Mart would like to have 159 stores here. Gah.
Now, given the admirable amount of trouble that unions, small business advocates, and regular old liberals have given Wal-Mart about opening one store in NYC, we would put the earliest possible date for 159 stores in the city at 2167, at which point Wal-Mart, and all of us, will be long dead. But according to the Alliance for a Greater New York, Wal-Mart would theoretically like to have 159 stores here, based upon its own stated corporate goals. From an ALIGN press release:
Eduardo Castro Wright, Walmart's Vice Chairman, stated in 2009 that Walmart stood to increase its sales between $80 and $100 billion by reaching its national average market share in urban markets. New York City, as the largest consumer market in the U.S., likely represents the largest portion of this growth strategy.
Walmart's share of the US grocery market is 21%. Reaching that same level of market share in New York City's dense retail environment would likely require 159 Walmart stores of varying sizes. The study estimates it would be 114 of the new Walmart Express stores averaging 15,000 square feet, 34 Walmart Markets averaging 35,000 square feet, and 11 Supercenters averaging 100,000 square feet.
Again, we'd like to emphasize that it's safe to assume that this will not happen in our lifetimes, particularly when you factor in the 100% of alcohol-related arsons of New York Wal-Mart locations by drunk and indignant Teamsters. But we're fairly confident that Wal-Mart would like to have 159 stores in the five boroughs. (Note that Wal-Mart's own statement on the study mocks the canard that "we'll somehow open 159 stores here overnight," which is not what is being discussed.) That's scary enough on its own...
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