Big Apple residents spent $165 million last year to buy low-cost products at Walmart’s suburban stores because there aren’t any outlets in the five boroughs, according to an analysis obtained by The Post.
The massive money drain costs the city millions of dollars in tax revenues and hundreds of jobs.
But Walmart wants to give back to the Big Apple.
With strong sales from Gotham customers, the megachain is launching an aggressive marketing campaign to open stores in the city, over stiff resistance from labor unions.
Walmart has hired star consultant Bradley Tusk, Mayor Bloomberg’s former campaign director, to assist in the effort.
“We’re evaluating opportunities across the five boroughs. It’s clear that New Yorkers want to shop our brand,” said Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo.
Currently, city residents have to travel east, to Walmart stores in Valley Stream, Farmingdale, Westbury, Uniondale, Massapequa and East Meadow on Long Island; north, to White Plains in Westchester; or west, to New Jersey outlets in Secaucus, North Bergen, Garfield, Kearny and Saddle Brook.
The nonunionized retail giant’s attempt to get a foothold into the country’s biggest consumer market will not come without a fight.
Labor unions and their allies on the City Council fought back Walmart’s attempt to break into the city in 2005.
“Walmart is still not welcome,” said Stuart Appelbaum, of the national Retail and Wholesale Workers union.
“They provide a model for others to follow. Their model is a destructive force. The jobs they create keep people in poverty.”
But Walmart backers — citing the shaky economy and high unemployment rate — said New Yorkers are craving job opportunities and affordable goods that Walmart provides in other labor-friendly cities, including Philadelphia, LA, Atlanta and Chicago.
(Source: NY Post)