If you live in Chicago, New York City, or Philadelphia, expect to start hearing some noise about Walmart in the coming months. The retailer has announced that it’s going to “step up efforts to mobilize local political support” so that it can finally open stores in those cities, reports the Financial Times.
You may have noticed that Walmart’s being doing a ton of work on rehabilitating its reputation, mostly in the area of environmental sustainability, where it went from being a nobody to a leader in the field almost overnight. At the same time, over the past several years the company has been quietly laying the groundwork for a second attempt at growing into urban areas, after being turned back in Chicago and Los Angeles in 2004. Here are some of the things it’s been working on according to the Financial Times:
- creating a “more responsive regional management structure;”
- hiring local political consultants;
- establishing online “community action networks” to provide a grassroots show of support;
- adjusting its charitable giving strategy to include minority groups in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia; and
- “encouraging minority suppliers to do business at its stores.”
I don’t know about Chicago and Philly, but NYC has Targets, Kmarts, three Costcos, an IKEA, and now even a JCPenney in the middle of Manhattan. Somehow it doesn’t seem that ruinous anymore to imagine a Walmart mixed in there somewhere.