Retailing giant Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT) may be seeking to establish a foothold in New York City, according to a report on the NY1 news station.
Steven Restivo, Wal-Mart's national director of community affairs, told the station that while the company is exploring opportunities to bring the big box store to the city, it has not yet selected a specific location.
The report alluded to prior rumors that Wal-Mart was planning to open an outlet at the Gateway complex in East New York, Brooklyn -- a move that might allow the company to bypass City Council zoning approval for introducing stores to the city.
Such rumors have already prompted protests and opposition from unions and small businesses.
Christine Quinn, the speaker of City Council, is a prominent opponent of Wal-Mart and is set to hold hearings next week to assess the potential impact on small businesses amidst the presence of one of the big box stores in the vicinity.
We don't have a store or an announced project anywhere in the five boroughs, said Restivo. I think it is fair to say that we are evaluating lots of opportunities across all five boroughs -- small medium and large store formats -- but we haven't announced any specific project.
However, Restivo confirmed that Wal-Mart has begun negotiating with some buildings trade unions to hammer out a deal to construct and renovate outlets using union workers in the event the company does indeed enter the New York City market.
Such a move would likely cause a split among unions, given the steadfast opposition to Wal-Mart by retail worker unions.
Restivo added that although there are no Wal-Mart stores anywhere in the five boroughs, New York City is the number one market in the U.S. for Walmart.com, the corporation’s internet business.