Tue, Dec 14, 2010 - Page 10 News List

Wal-Mart again eyes stores in NYC

THIRD TIME’S A CHARM:The Arkansas-based firm has tweaked it’s approach to entering the city by focusing on low-income neighborhoods that lack fresh food

AP, NEW YORK

Wal-Mart Stores Inc is again trying to open stores in New York City after failing twice because of community opposition, tweaking its message and its strategy.

Steven Restivo, a spokesman for the Arkansas-based Wal-Mart, told the New York Times in its online edition on Sunday that the retailer is looking at sites throughout the city.

“There is a business case to be made for our growth in large cities across the country,” Restivo said. “We know we have customers there and we know we want to make access to our brand more convenient.”

The company is looking at parcels in all five boroughs, including some far smaller than what it typically seeks for its stores, he said.

Restivo said the company could help with the city’s unemployment problems, and is focusing its real estate search on low-income neighborhoods where there is a lack of access to fresh food.

One of those neighborhoods could be the East New York section of Brooklyn.

Arturo Payambs, the owner of a Compare Supermarkets, told the New York Daily News on Sunday that he didn’t like the idea of the retailer moving into his local market.

“It’s like David and Goliath ... We’re just a small business. We cannot compare with the prices,” the 28-year-old Payambs said.

New York State Assemblyman Darryl Towns, whose Brooklyn district covers East New York, told the Times that a lot of his constituents are looking for jobs.

“We have to begin to think out of the box and look at some different opportunities,” he said.

Wal-Mart is taking measured steps, including hiring New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s former campaign manager to oversee its lobbying efforts.

Bloomberg had previously -supported the company’s failed effort to redevelop a Bronx site into a commercial complex.

The New York City Council had scheduled a meeting to discuss Wal-Mart’s efforts for today, but the interest forced officials to reschedule for next month.

Attempts by Wal-Mart to develop stores in the city have been successfully blocked by opposition from labor unions, community groups and elected officials.

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