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Wal-Mart is once again trying to invade New York City, and it's being more aggressive than ever. The Times reports that the chain is investigating sites in all five boroughs and has hired Mayor Bloomberg's former campaign manager for help on the political front. And according to the Wall Street Journal, it's trying to reach a deal with the construction workers' union, removing one impediment to building.
The city successfully rebuffed Wal-Mart's plans to open in Staten Island and Queens five years ago, but as the Times points out, a lot has changed since then. For one thing, we've all gotten accustomed to seeing big box stores like Target and Ikea as part of New York's retail landscape. And then there's the recession, which makes low prices and the promise of jobs even more appealing than usual. It's worth noting, though, that Wal-Mart doesn't pay as well as other major chains: Labor leaders point out that Costo, for example, takes much better care of its workers.
According to the New York Post, a survey conducted by a company hired by Wal-Mart found that 71% of New Yorkers would support a Wal-Mart here. Among them is Mayor Bloomberg, who appreciates the chain's promise to bring fresh food and vegetables to supermarket-deprived city neighborhoods. "The city should not be in the business of picking and choosing who is there," he said.
· Wal-Mart Tries Again for New York City Store [NYT]
· Wal-Mart Seeks Union Support for City Stores [WSJ]
· Store is Wal-right with NYC shoppers [NYP]