September, 2011

TOP LGBTQ ORGANIZATION IN NYC SLAMS WALMART FOR SUPPORTING ANTI-GAY GROUPS

Why Is Walmart’s NYC Campaign Silent As Parent Company Defends LGBTQ Discrimination?

New York -The Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, a top LGBTQ organization, slammed Walmart today following an explosive New York Times article that revealed the retailer’s e-commerce operation, through the company’s relationship with a marketing affiliate, has been helping to bankroll groups that actively oppose LGBTQ rights. (See New York times, “Retailers Are Put On Spot Over Anti-Gay Aid”, September 25, 2011)

“We are alarmed and offended by the news that Walmart is funneling money to well-known anti-gay groups and disrespecting so many LGBTQ Americans,” said Joseph Hagelmann III, President of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, the largest and oldest LGBTQ political club in the city.

“Walmart is spending millions to win over New York City residents, but its officials have never reached out to us and have never marched with us,” Hagelmann continued. “Now we know why. Walmart’s actions and record on LGBTQ issues are simply indefensible. Walmart is a threat to New York City, the historic home of the LGBTQ movement, and we continue to oppose Walmart opening stores here.”

Walmart has long failed to support the LGBTQ community. Among the most disturbing facts:

Walmart Has Flunked National Tests of How Well It Treats LGBTQ Employees

Walmart Recently Allowed a Supervisor to Humiliate and Shame a Gay Employee

Walmart Does Not Adequately Protect Its Transgender Employees

Walmart Has Sold Anti-Gay Children’s Books in Many of Its Stores

Walmart’s Poor LGBTQ Record Stands Out Among Fortune 500 Companies

Walmart’s Current CEO Has Opposed Gay and Lesbian Adoption

“Walmart’s awful LGBTQ history is a problem that money and corporate spin can’t solve,” said Stephanie Yazgi, Director of the Walmart Free NYC campaign. “Walmart NYC’s campaign needs to tell their corporate offices back in Bentonville to sever all ties with groups that want to roll back decades of gains in LGBTQ rights. Walmart clearly does not share New York’s values. If the company did, it would not be helping to fund groups that want to trample on the rights and dignity of New York’s LGBTQ community.”

These reactions come as Walmart is reportedly desperate for growth in New York City and possibly looking to build more than 150 stores across the five boroughs, according to a major new study.

###

New Study: Walmart Could Open an Estimated 159 Stores in NYC

159 Walmart Stores in NYC Could Lead to 3,980 Jobs Lost, $353 Million in Lost Wages; and a $4 Million Bill for Taxpayers

Walmart Looking at NYC to Offset Declining U.S. Stock Price, Stagnating Growth

New York, NY –“The Walmartization of New York City,” a new study released today by ALIGN, a New York-based nonprofit organization, reveals that Walmart’s growth plans for New York City could lead the company to open an estimated 159 stores here, most of them smaller format stores designed for urban areas, a finding consistent with Walmart’s oft-repeated declaration that it is evaluating opportunities for new stores across the five boroughs.

It is the first study of its kind analyzing retail market share data, industry analyst reports, and Walmart’s own financial reports in order to show the large-scale roll out the company is likely planning in New York City and to explain the likely economic impact.

It looks closely at Walmart’s market share in the grocery industry across the U.S. and rigorously calculates the minimum number of stores Walmart would likely need to build in New York City in order to reach a corresponding level of market share here.

The study estimates that the economic impact of this Walmartization on NYC could be devastating:

A net loss of 3,980 jobs throughout New York City

The loss of $353 million in wages for retail workers whose jobs remain

Taxpayers footing a $4 million bill for health care benefits for 4,279 new Walmart workers

“Walmart is desperate for growth in New York City, because the company has saturated most non-urban U.S. markets and its U.S. stock has been stagnating,” said Josh Kellerman, an ALIGN researcher who co-authored the study with Stephanie Luce, an economics professor from CUNY. “But a few NYC stores will do little to address its weak economic outlook. So the company is looking to open many stores throughout NYC and control a significant portion of the largest consumer market in the U.S.,” he said.

As part of its campaign to enter New York City, Walmart spent over $2.1 million in lobbying expenses in the first half of 2011, six times as much as it spent in the last four years combined, the study shows. Meanwhile, over the last twelve months, Walmart’s stock has significantly underperformed competitors such as Costco and Kroger, primarily because its same store U.S. sales (a key economic indicator in the retail industry) have declined for nine consecutive quarters.

“This study makes it clear that what’s good for Walmart is not good for New York City,” said New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “Millions of dollars worth of advertising can’t sweep Walmart’s record of killing jobs and small businesses under the rug. We have to protect our city’s middle class from companies that actively undermine it.

According to the study, Walmart has saturated non-urban U.S. markets to such a degree that it is beginning to cannibalize sales at its own stores. So it is now focusing on growth in urban markets it had once ignored. Walmart’s CFO, Michael Fung, recently pointed out that “Wal-Mart has twice the opportunity to grow in Los Angeles or New York than the opportunity in India and China combined.”

Eduardo Castro Wright, Walmart’s Vice Chairman, stated in 2009 that Walmart stood to increase its sales between $80 and $100 billion through expansion into urban markets.  New York City, as the largest consumer market in the U.S., likely represents the largest portion of this growth strategy.

Walmart’s share of the US grocery market is 21%.  Reaching that same level of market share in New York City’s dense retail environment would likely require 159 Walmart stores of varying sizes. The study estimates it would be 114 of the new Walmart Express stores averaging 15,000 square feet, 34 Walmart Markets averaging 35,000 square feet, and 11 Supercenters averaging 100,000 square feet. (See the study’s detailed methodology section for more information on how the calculations and estimates were developed.)

“Walmart has made lots of promises about creating jobs and investing in communities, but the company’s rhetoric doesn’t match reality,” said Reverend David Dyson of the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. Given its power and influence, Walmart has an obligation to answer questions about its long-term impact on New York City. Walmart is hiding behind talking points, but New Yorkers see through the spin and want answers.”

About ALIGN

ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York’s mission is to create good jobs, vibrant communities, and an accountable democracy for all New Yorkers. Our work unites worker, community, and other allies to build a more just and sustainable New York. For more information, please visit www.alignny.org

###