Wal-Mart May Roll Back to Manhattan

The giant retail chain could soon steamroll through the city

By Caitlin Millat
|  Thursday, Mar 5, 2009  |  Updated 1:23 PM EDT
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Wal-Mart May Roll Back to Manhattan

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Wal-Mart could soon make its debut in Manhattan.

Penny-pinching Manhattanites, rejoice -- discount juggernaut Wal-Mart could soon be muscling its way into the city.

The retail giant and soccer-mom center is reportedly shopping for space in Union Square and on Sixth Avenue in Chelsea, the New York Post reports.

Wal-Mart execs recently passed on a space in Union Square that's being evacuated by Virgin Megastore this year and are eyeing a space at 620 Sixth Ave. that would be ideal for the big-box brand.

The company is very interested in opening a Manhattan store to target city consumers, Wal-Mart rep Steven Restivo told the Post.

Wal-Mart's same-store sales rose a staggering 5.1 percent last year as more customers turned to the one-stop-shop to get their goods on the cheap. The store's foray into Manhattan could undermine the integrity of mom-and-pop shops that are already struggling thanks to the recession, union workers said.

"We don't need Wal-Mart to take advantage of an economic crisis to sneak into New York and drive down standards and wages," said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

Some New Yorkers said they'd rather pay big-time prices than shop at the holy grail of the Midwest markdowns mecca.

"It's like an A&P, a K-Mart, the $1 section of Target and diabetes in store form mashed together into one obese conglomerate," one disgusted commenter wrote on nymag.com, who reported on the chain's potential Union Square interest in February.

"Really, Walmart?? Because Manhattan needs a purveyor of economy size bags of cheese puffs and plastic lawn furniture?" another frenzied Manhattanite wrote on the site.

Wal-Mart already has stores throughout the tri-state area. The closest franchise to Manhattan is in Secaucus, N.J.

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