The Big Apple seems to have everything, but despite the presence of Kmart, Best Buy, Sears and Manhattan’s three Targets, one super retailer is noticeably absent — Walmart.
The corporation is being kept out of New York City by many forces — Mayor Bill de Blasio, the labor union United Food and Commercial Workers and the city’s residents themselves, according to The Street.
So why are people trying so hard to keep the retail giant out of city limits? According to The Street, a lot of the pushback is due to Walmart’s bad reputation for its poor treatment of employees and corporate greed.
“Walmart is seen as a ‘big bad corporate,’ a sweatshop,” Michael J. Berne, president of MJB Consulting, told The Street.
In early 2011, a hearing took place at a New York City Council meeting about whether the retailer should be allowed to build a store in the city. According to a report by NPR, people at the meeting argued that the presence of a Walmart would hurt small businesses and unions raised concerns about the low wages Walmart pays its employees.
Laura Kennedy, director of retail insights at Kantar Retail, told The Street that to improve its image, Walmart needs to advertise its positive measures in sustainability, corporate giving, and supporting veterans and women-owned businesses.
With the strong opposition to Walmart, it might seem surprising that Manhattan alone has three Target stores. But when you take a closer look into the court of public opinion, there is a massive divide between the two retailers.
According to a 2014 article in The Huffington Post, Target and Walmart are more or less the same when it comes to taking care of employees — Target pays its workers low wages while the CEO’s salary is inflated, and the company is anti-union. However, it’s Walmart that is perceived as the big bad corporation while Target comes across as the “hip good guy,” according to The Street.
So will Walmart ever worm its way into the Big Apple? Not if it doesn’t shake its bad reputation.