The Real Deal New York

Walmart losing hard-fought ground by delaying announcement of NYC location

January 30, 2012 08:30AM

If Walmart is going to make its long-awaited move to the city, it better act fast, Crain’s said.

The retail giant’s public relations campaign, led by a $4 million donation last July that saved the Summer Youth Employment Program, has helped score points with politicians, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and make the public far more amenable to the prospect of a Walmart in New York.

But concerns linger, including the pressure Walmart would put on independent grocers and the wages it would offer, and many of the leading candidates to replace Bloomberg in two years still oppose a store.

Walmart needs to announce its first location now, lest it become a focus of those campaigns.

Crain’s said the store is now in “advanced lease negotiations” with the Related Companies for a 150,000-square-foot store in its Gateway II center in East New York. But a deal of that size takes much negotiation, especially since Walmart must find a way to thrive on the city’s expensive real estate without charging higher prices. Walmart officials say they are looking for the perfect location and don’t want to rush their entry into the marketplace. [Crain’s]