Thursday, April 14, 2011

Are Urban Walmarts a Good Thing?

That's the question that is generating increasing discussion these days.

What's happening is that Walmart has recognized the demand for huge suburban stores is waning in a major way.  That leaves smaller urban sites as one of the few growth opportunities.

However, many land use codes limit building size and frontage types even more stringently in urban settings.  This has led Walmart to consider new store types and formats that reach all the way down into the 15,000 square foot building size--smaller than even some Walgreens or CVS stores.

This article discusses whether--even if built in a context-sensitive size--urban Walmarts a good thing?

The Washington Post's Capital Business section today is all about Walmart, and reporters found an ambiguous picture when looking at locations that have already sprung up in the area. Existing big-box grocery stores don't do well once Walmart arrives, and new ones don't locate nearby (in D.C., Giant's unionized workers have taken to wearing Respect DC buttons on the job). But if you are a smaller store and offer something unique, a Walmart can bring more customers, not fewer.

Chad Emerson.

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