Grocery store chains, rural traditionalists, and mom-and-pop shops weren't able to stunt Wal-Mart's
The Supercenter concept relies on cheap groceries and prescription refills to keep shoppers coming back. That won't fly in Alameda County. The county's Board of Supervisors approved the ordinance -- which might as well be labeled "Keep Wal-Mart Supercenter Out" -- earlier this month. Last night, Wal-Mart filed a petition to have the ordinance overturned.
If grocers with operations in California, including Kroger
It's easy to hate Wal-Mart. We have a built-in instinct to root for the underdog. Wal-Mart is no underdog. Yet, the world's leading retailer makes a convincing case when it points out that the typical Supercenter will collect $4.5 million a year in sales-tax revenue, to say nothing of its own property tax tab.
Wal-Mart argues that it is ultimately the community that should decide whether it patronizes a store. Providing lower prices on groceries allows customers to have more disposable income to spend locally.
That sounds reasonable, so long as you are not predisposed to vilifying Wal-Mart. After all, if you're in the mood to launch a verbal Molotov Cocktail, just belt out a "Hey, that Wal-Mart sure is something, isn't it?" at a union function. Non-unionized Wal-Mart made enemies on the way up, and where you stand when it comes to Wal-Mart may very well come down to where you stand on organized labor.
Either way, if Wal-Mart's petition fails, it doesn't mean that Alameda is in the clear. I can almost picture the press conference now: "Ladies and gentlemen of Alameda, I now present you the prototype 99,000 square-foot Supercenter. Shop on!"
Is Wal-Mart burying competitors unfairly, or is survival of the fittest in the best interest of the consumer? Will others follow Alameda's lead? Did Safeway and area unions really play a part in pushing the controversial ordinance? All this and more -- in the Wal-Mart discussion board. Only on Fool.com.