After what feels like one of those courtships that just won't end, Walmart has finally declared a time-out on its semi-aggressive efforts to win New York City's affection. According to the Times, "After losing a battle in September to open its first store in New York City, Wal-Mart Stores appears to have scaled back its efforts to gain a foothold in the nation's largest city."
Recent setbacks include a failed plan to open in East New York, Brooklyn, and the firing of "five lobbyist-consultants it had hired to help it win approval for that project." It also didn't help that many of the city's Democratic mayoral candidates have been ripping it a new one. City Council speaker Christine Quinn puts it like this: "As long as Wal-Mart's behavior remains the same, they're not welcome in New York City. New York isn't changing. Wal-Mart has to change."
Walmart spokesperson Steven Restivo insists that though they've decided to "scale back some of our Brooklyn-related activities," the company still hopes to someday wiggle its way into New York City. "We remain committed to opening stores all across the U.S., including in large cities." However, one of those former consultants anonymously confessed: "They're not pushing at all. They've all but packed it up and left."
However, Restivo remains optimistic. He adds, "New Yorkers want us here, and residents continue to go out of their way to shop our stores outside the city." Which, to be fair, does appear to be the case for some shoppers.
· A Respite in Efforts by Wal-Mart in New York [NYT]
· Are Manhattan Residents Flocking to Walmarts in the 'Burbs? [Racked NY]
· All Walmart Coverage [Racked NY]