Thursday, February 23, 2006

Wal-Mart: Not in My Backward

Via, a new real estate survey demonstrates that while Americans consumers may like Wal-Mart they do not want it anywhere near their communities:

The Saint Index(C), a new survey by the Hingham, MA-based Saint Consulting Group, confirms Americans' love-hate relationship with Wal-Mart. Even as the global company revs up a campaign to protect its reputation, and despite Wal-Mart's undeniable popularity among consumers, almost two-thirds of those surveyed (63%) said that they would oppose a Wal-Mart store if one were proposed in their community.

According to The Saint Index, only landfills, quarries, power plants, and casinos generate more vehement community opposition than large retail stores. However, respondents singled out Wal-Mart as particularly unwelcome.
This NIMBY factor is extremely relevant to the debate over Wal-Mart entering in New York, including places like Staten Island. Because this city is a series of overlapping neighborhoods – many of which already suffer from traffic congestion and other negative affects associated with box stores – Wal-Mart is going to have a very hard time finding suitable space away from residential communities. Combine this dilemma with the overall concern New Yorkers display towards the store and the world’s largest retailer is going to find itself struggling mightily to enter the 5 boroughs.