Walmart never could get a store open in New York City, but it’s still making inroads on Long Island. The retail giant is poised to launch its third supercenter there as part of a massive development in Yaphank.
The 197,000-square-foot store is set to open in The Boulevard — a 322-acre, mixed-use complex — in November. Walmart expects to hire more than 400 employees at the Suffolk County site, according to Newsday. Plans for the supercenter were announced two years ago.
Walmart supercenters typically include groceries, clothing, home furnishings, electronics and more. The one in Yaphank will include an auto care center and a larger lawn and garden section.
Last year Walmart converted a 14-year-old location in Farmingdale into a supercenter. The other supercenter is in Valley Stream. There is also a Sam’s Club — owned by Walmart — in Medford and a Neighborhood Market grocery store in Levittown. In total, Walmart has 13 locations on Long Island.
Another 100,000 square feet has been set aside in The Boulevard for smaller retail stores. Development of an assisted-living facility and Home2 Suites by Hilton is complete, while construction on a $450 million apartment, condo and townhome complex is ongoing.
Walmart is the largest grocery seller in the country, but lags behind the competition on Long Island. It ranks eighth on the peninsula with a 4.7 percent share of grocery sales. Stop & Shop and ShopRite lead the market.
Of Walmart’s 5,300-plus stores in the United States, 67 percent are supercenters. It has no stores in New York City, in large part because of opposition from labor unions. Walmart stores are entirely nonunion. So are other large retail chains, many of which have locations in the five boroughs, but Arkansas-based Walmart is held in particularly low regard by organized labor — and vice versa.
As a result, real estate firms big enough to lease to Walmart have been reluctant to do so in the city, and rezonings to accommodate a Walmart could not get through the City Council. Eventually Walmart’s efforts to open in the city petered out.
[Newsday] — Holden Walter-Warner