Wal-Mart is again making noise about opening its first New York City store. After opposition last year from organized labor groups and others, the behemoth is trying a different tactic. This time, it's lobbying key New York officials — in an attempt to sell Wal-Mart to the public. Its pitch: New Yorkers spent $128 million in Wal-Marts outside the five boroughs.
“We are showing that there is a need and desire for Wal-Mart,” says Philip Serghini, community affairs manager for Wal-Mart's Northeast division. “Whenever we try to locate a store, we do leakage reports.”
Those leakage reports show that shoppers from the five boroughs hit Wal-Marts in Connecticut, New Jersey and other places and that might be what wins over officials.
Wal-Mart has faced opposition in many corners. Last year, the company was rebuffed after an attempt to secure a deal in Rego Park, a Vornado Realty Trust development in Queens.
Despite challenges, Wal-Mart isn't backing down. “They're really zeroing in,” says Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of Prudential Douglas Elliman's retail leasing and sales division. “The consumer has demanded to have the availability of these big-box stores in their backyard.
Serghini says Wal-Mart is considering empty storefronts that don't require rezoning applications. According to Serghini Wal-Mart contemplated an old Caldor site in Flushing, Queens and the deal got “far along,” but ultimately did not work out.