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Wal-Mart Preps Chicago Push

Citing the need for new investment to boost the sagging local economy, Wal-Mart is preparing to launch a new push for approval of as many as five new stores in Chicago, sources said Thursday.

There is just one Wal-Mart in Chicago as organized labor has fought for years to repel the non-union retailer's bid for further expansion. Ald. Howard Brookins said the first store in the new push would be aimed at his 21st Ward on the South Side. Two others may be aimed at the 20th and 34th Wards on the South Side, the sources said.

In 2004, aldermen rejected a zoning change for a new Wal-Mart there, even as they gave their backing for a Wal-Mart that eventually opened in the 37th Ward on the West Side.

"In an economy where retailers are laying off people, it makes more sense than ever to pull the trigger," Brookins said. "We need to jump start our economy. This would mean hundreds of millions of dollars in construction revenue."

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