Several years back, retail giant Walmart tried to open stores in Queens and Staten Island, but backed off after fierce community opposition. Now the discount chain store is trying once again to break into the New York City market, since it says dynamics have changed, with the city becoming more receptive to similar stores like Target and Ikea. According to the New York Times, Walmart is looking at properties in each of the five boroughs, and hired Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s former campaign manager, Bradley Tusk, to help organize its lobbying efforts. The Daily News reported that a site in East New York was under consideration. But opponents of the project fear that Walmart will be bad for smaller local businesses which can’t compete with the retailer’s low prices.
However, a recent poll of 1,000 New Yorkers found that 71 percent favor locating a Walmart store in the city, with only 24 percent opposed, according to the Post. “There is a business case to be made for our growth in large cities across the country,” Steven Restivo, a Walmart spokesperson, told the Times. “We know we have customers there, and we know we want to make access to our brand more convenient.” The City Council was slated to question Walmart on its plans at an economic impact hearing this week, but rescheduled the meeting for Jan. 12. [NYT] and [WSJ] and [Post] and [NYDN]