WalMart is "Going Urban" with New Stores
July 6, 2010 12:16 am at 12:16 am #82429
Interesting article in the NYTimes about Wal-Mart in Chicago. Could we see a similar proposal for Columbus within a few years?
Wal-Mart Gains in Its Wooing of Chicago
By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD
Published: June 24, 2010
What would it take for urban areas to welcome Wal-Mart? The answer seems to be a terrible job market and stores that do not look much like traditional big boxes.
The retailer, whose sales in the United States are weak, has almost exhausted growth possibilities in suburbs and small towns, and now is looking at urban neighborhoods. It is starting with Chicago, where on Thursday, the City Council zoning committee unanimously approved plans for a Wal-Mart on the cityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s South Side, an area where the company has been trying to build for about six years.
If Wal-Mart can succeed in the urban market, that could mean several hundred stores just in major cities like New York, Chicago and Detroit, bringing several hundred million dollars in additional earnings, analysts said.
To fit into cities, Wal-Mart is proposing to make itself more trial-size. It would shrink its stores to as small as 8,000 square feet, about 4 percent of the size of an average supercenter. It is considering formats that are primarily groceries, stores where customers can order something online and pick it up, stores where local business owners can lease space, and even formats like bodegas.July 6, 2010 12:35 am at 12:35 am #384875
As much as I hate Wal-fart’s vacuum effect on smaller business, this model does “look” impressive.July 6, 2010 12:46 am at 12:46 am #384876
They are in the process of trying to open their first stores in DC as well.
“Wal-Mart is negotiating to open a store on New York Avenue NE near the intersection of Bladensburg Road, on a parcel owned by a family in the taxicab business, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
The chain, which has expressed interest in opening a store in the city for years as part of its expansion into major urban markets, has not yet signed a lease but is expected to by this fall, the sources said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized by the companies to discuss the details.”July 6, 2010 3:21 am at 3:21 am #384877
I’m not a huge fan of the chain, but I would actually like to see a Walmart on the old Timken site in Chickenville (Milo-Grogan).July 6, 2010 4:33 am at 4:33 am #384878
I hope the pass on Columbus.July 6, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm #384879
Wal-Mart: Always a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Always.July 6, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm #384880
Lakee911ParticipantJuly 6, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm #384881
jpizzow wrote >> As much as I hate Wal-fart’s vacuum effect on smaller business, this model does “look” impressive.
I think the “vacuum effect” has been greatly overhyped by Wal-Mart’s detractors.
I’d welcome an urban Wal-Mart in downtown Akron. We’ve got tons of underdeveloped land for it–even if it maintained a substantial parking requirement, though obviously I’d be happier if it found a way to do without that. Columbus has more than enough land for it, too–maybe not in the neighborhoods that get all the attention, but I don’t think that anyone would be talking about a Short North Wal-Mart. But there are definitely spaces in Northland, along Parsons, Livingston, etc. that could work.July 6, 2010 1:26 pm at 1:26 pm #384882
If walmart wants to put an urban store in downtown Columbus I’m all for it for one reason ….. the biggest pull for living downtown is suppose to be convenience, being able to walk to a walmart to get everyday items for cheap would def. be convenient.July 6, 2010 1:29 pm at 1:29 pm #384883
surber, i agree completely. if it looks like that and not a giant shoe boxJuly 6, 2010 2:48 pm at 2:48 pm #384884
I, for one, am against it. Ever since I saw a piece online about how Wal-Mart bullies companies into giving them products for lower prices I refuse to shop there. One documentary I recently watched showed how Wal-Mart makes a lot of promises to the community when planning to build then ultimately results in the small, family / locally owned businesses closing up shop because of Wal-Mart moving in. I don’t look for reasons to dislike Wal-Mart but they’re practically handing out reasons.
Support the USA people. Quit buying from a place that sells nothing but goods imported from factories in China.
@surber17 If you lived downtown what would you need that you couldn’t find at one of the stores located downtown? It’s got hardware stores, clothing stores, and loads of places to get food. Sure it may not be as cheap as Wal-Mart but for me I would rather pay a little bit more and support a local business. I’m not trying to force an opinion or say you should agree with me. Just throwing out some food for thought.July 6, 2010 2:58 pm at 2:58 pm #384885
Why do people complain about stores they don’t shop at anyways?July 6, 2010 3:00 pm at 3:00 pm #384886
I’d go for an urban Target but not a Wal-Mart.July 6, 2010 3:04 pm at 3:04 pm #384887
If I were running Walmart, I think it would be wise to develop these under a new brand rather than with the baggage that comes along with the Walmart name.July 6, 2010 3:47 pm at 3:47 pm #384888
joev wrote >>
If I were running Walmart, I think it would be wise to develop these under a new brand rather than with the baggage that comes along with the Walmart name.
The thing with this is that, while Wal-Mart is well aware that it has image problems in certain quarters, on the whole, its brand is more asset than liability.
I imagine they’ll come up with a brand variant for these smaller, local stores just to let their customers know what they’re getting–“Wal-Mart Local,” “Wal-Mart Minicenter,” or something of that kind to let someone searching on Google Maps know that they’re not going to find a full-service 250,000 square foot space at these locations. I would expect it to have the Wal-Mart name as part of the name, however.
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