Harlem locals protest prospective Walmart

October 10, 2011 04:50PM

Local Harlem residents and business owners are speaking out against the possibility of a Walmart opening at a vacant plot of land at 125th Street and Lenox Avenue, DNAinfo reported, saying that the big-box retailer would destroy the neighborhood’s businesses.

“Walmart does not create jobs; it destroys jobs,” State Senator Bill Perkins said. “Walmart does not pay a living wage — it pays slave wages.”

This unrest over the East Harlem site is just the latest in New York’s Walmart saga. Earlier this year, the store was said to be considering a Related Co. site in East New York. Despite political opposition, many New Yorkers are growing more willing to welcome the store into their city. As previously reported, retail sales to New York City residents in suburban stores like Walmart are up 10 percent from a year ago, and city dwellers are on pace to spend $215 million at the area’s stores this year.

“Every statistic — from independent polling and shopping behavior to petition signatures and facebook likes — shows that the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers think Walmart can be part of the solution in the city for folks who want a job or need more affordable grocery options,” said Steven Restivo, a spokesperson for Walmart. [DNAinfo]