Southern Brooklyn

Tough Times For Walmart As They Eye Gateway

Courtesy of Koonisutra via Flickr

Walmart is struggling through the muck of the American retail slowdown, and some opponents to a New York City location are saying they should keep their problems outside of the five boroughs.

According to a New York Times report, the retail giant is seeing less visits to its stores, and the average price paid at checkout is also dropping.

“The nation’s largest retailer reported Tuesday that sales in its American stores open at least a year, a crucial measure of retail health, had declined for the sixth consecutive quarter,” the Times wrote.

It’s believed that the struggle is putting pressure on Walmart to seek new high-volume locations, especially in New York City. And in the five boroughs, there’s no location as appealing as the planned 630,000 square foot Gateway II shopping center.

Even before Walmart’s financial problems became public, the rumored Brooklyn location generated opposition from labor unions, small businesses and community activitis.

“Walmart may create jobs on the front end, but they erode them later,” Stuart Appelbaum, president of the city’s retail, wholesale and department store union, told the Brooklyn Paper back in May. “Union-busting, neighborhood-crushing Walmart forces out good jobs and reliable retailers while bringing down wages and benefits.”

Now, The Neighborhood Retail Alliance, an ardent and vocal opponent to a New York City Walmart, is wondering why the city should allow a struggling “corporate predator” to open on Southern Brooklyn’s shores.

If the Walmonster is going through bad times, why should NYC invite them in on a corporate guest worker program?

…Pretty soon we will be gathering a large and diverse coalition out in East New York to rally against Big Wally. The message we will be sending is simple. If you’re having problems, don’t come here and visit them on New York. Wal-Mart is bad for NYC on a wide range of fronts-and the battle for NY is just beginning.

Do you think Walmart’s newly-revealed financial problems changes the game for a New York City location? Should Walmart stay out of Brooklyn?

Comment policy


  1. Great idea, keep Walmart out. It’s not like we need any new jobs in Brooklyn & NYC; It’s not like we need the millions in lost tax revenue that Brooklynites spend @ Walmart’s on Long Island & New Jersey, It’s not like our roads cannot handle the extra volume of cars driving out of Brooklyn to Walmart… of course we should embrace Walmart and the jobs it will create. I understand the opposition and if you could eliminate Walmarts or close the ones down that are within driving distance of NYC; I would probably agree in keeping them out BUT, they are here, and New York City residents prove that they shop there. THis is why they always ask you for your zip code when you check out. Bring on Walmart and keep NYC funds in NYC.

  2. they were saying same thing about Ikea in Brooklyn, they were protesting, they were crying and look what’s happening now? Everyone is cool with it! Including ME! I dont need to drive to NJ .. paying tolls and getting stuck in traffic, I can just swing by Ikea.. right here in Redhook.

  3. Best places to shop for everything – Yahoo! Finance: “Last year shoppers spent $405 billion at Walmart, the world’s largest retailer. But according to a new study by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, they might be better off if they switch stores.”

    Where Walmart sucks, CostCo shines. It was the only store in the survey (which included Walmart, CostCo, JCPenney, Sears, Dillard’s and Meijer among others) that was judged a much better than average value.

    What did Walmart win in? Longest lines. Walmart also scored “well” for crappy customer service. Almost 75% of shoppers at Walmart reported at least one problem and half had two or more complaints about the stores or their staff.

    So let’s see if we’ve got this right. Walmart’s prices aren’t better, their service is horrid, they have long lines and they have a long, long history of employee exploitation, manipulation and discrimination.

    Just what we need in Brooklyn

  4. Walmart does not create jobs.

    “According a national study led by Dr. David Neumark, an economist at the University of California at Irvine, for each new retail job created by Wal-Mart, 1.4 existing jobs have been lost at competing businesses. That means every new Wal-Mart store that opens reduces retail employment by about 150 jobs.”

    And it doesn’t bring money to the local community

    “Retail jobs are not the only jobs at stake, either. Wal-Mart has played a leading role in pushing millions of manufacturing jobs to low-wage countries, and, unlike independent retailers, which purchase many goods and services, like printing and accounting, locally, Wal-Mart stores provide very little support to other businesses in the community. Studies have found that only $14 of every $100 spent at a Wal-Mart store stays in the local economy.”

    Get out and read about how destructive Walmart truly is.

  5. You don’t need to drive to NJ to shop in walmart – there is one in Valley Stream, one in Merrick and one in East meadow. I prefer to keep it local – I have family members who work for walmart and they are NOT good to their employees. One relative got a raise – $0.25 cents per hour. Whoopee – I wonder where he’s going to spend that wad of cash!

  6. The one in Valley Stream has clean restrooms. That is a plus. Bought a pair of athletic shoes from them. They fell apart in a few months. Not a plus. Just use the restrooms.

  7. walmart will crush more jobs then it will create. that said i like walmart and i dont believe in socialism if the mom and pops cant compete let them go under. some places that are worth going to will continue to prosper and if they gain a competitive advantage they will stay afloat. why should i keep paying overly high prices just so uncompetitive stores stay in business.

  8. Wal-Mart would only be good if it kept employing teenagers who need money to burn… Wal-Mart fails when it hires 35 – 60 year olds to do jobs that do not pay…

  9. Right on man, lets close down Home Depot, Lowes. Ikea, TJ Max, Marshalls, BJ’s Costco, Barnes & Nobel, Applebees, 7/11, Walgreens, Riteaid, Duane Reade and the rest of them. Bring on the mom & pops and all of the jobs they will create. Anyone know any mom & pops that are looking to open in Brooklyn with hundreds of jobs?

  10. Absolutely correct. How dare those damn union socialists oppose progress. Where it is written that Americans have the right to achieve a decent standard of living? And the hell with local businesses too. Let’s give more money to the people that have so generously given our manufacturing jobs to China. The Walden family are true Americans, so we should help them out in these hard times.There’s really nothing at all to fear. Walmart experts will help their employees to fill out the forms so that they can get supplemental benefits such as food stamps and Medicaid.So quit your unions and apply in advance for one of their well paid ($6.25 per hour) jobs. You’ll be happy you did. Especially since you’ll have no choice when other retail jobs disappear.

  11. Come, come, there will be lots of jobs at Walmart, at minimum wage.

    It’s always best to look out for yourself. After all, it’s not like you’re going to work at Walmart.

  12. Wal-Mart has been raking in the dough using the bigger idiot theory. Their theory is that there are lots of bigger idiots who can be made to believe that if Walmart keeps their cost low they will keep prices low. Of course, once they’ve gotten rid of the competition they can charge what they please.

    In many places Walmart is the ONLY place to shop.

  13. Walmart will also kill those chains too. Then you will pay what they want you to pay.

    I know people who live where there is only a Wal-mart. And they know they are screwed.

    Rite-Aid tried the undercutting crap in Vermont and eventually got banned from doing business in that state. Wal-Mart has done the same and has also been taken on by governments. BUt Wal-Mart is bigger, and when they can get away with it they can continue the practice longer.

  14. Need a WALMART closer than Valey Stream…..bad employer ???? DONT WORK THERE !! Greart prices on everyday products..thats what they are about. The drug chains killed off the mom & Pop drug stores yet nobody bitches about rite aid & duane reade. Wallgreens is the worst offender . Gateway is afraid that Target will leave if it opens.

  15. Wow the more I read your comments the more it becomes apparent what a miserable misinformed troll you are. Oh and maybe you can show us where in the constitution is there a guarantee of a decent standard of living? This blog used to be cool – lately its become a wildly liberal socialist soapbox with your diarrhea of the mouth never seeming to cure.

  16. If Lisanne is a troll, what that makes you?

    And yes, a guarantee of a decent standard of living is not in the Constitution. You asking this question means you admit Walmart workers do not have a decent standard of living – your honor, the prosecution rests.

    Lastly, in every argument, when your opponent starts using ad hominem attacks, it means they ran out of valid arguments and you have won by default.
    So thank you.

  17. Agreed, when there is no rational argument left to make then personal attack is the choice of people who have no ability to find a logical argument.

    Calling me a liberal as if that is some sort of terrible affliction? How absurd. And tossing the socialist word around as well. I suppose Theodore Roosevelt was a socialist too.

    Doesn’t matter. Walmart is not going to be able to push their way into NYC. They won’t allow open shops, and that violates NY labor law.

  18. I still don’t shop at Duane Reade exactly for the reason you mentioned. So I put my money where my mouth is. And I wrote them a letter about that too, back when they opened Ocean Ave./Voorhies Ave. location.

  19. I have argued this case before:

    To recap:

    Walmart constantly squeezes their vendors for a lower cost of goods. This, naturally, trims those vendors’ profits. You might say: “Great, no loss for me though”. Well, not so fast.

    If the profit margin of the manufacturer (lets say, the company my wife works for) is cut in half, it will only cover bare necessities like office rent and utilities and not salary increases (my wife hasn’t had any in 4 years now) or new hires (unemployment % high enough yet?).

    If this process continues, manufacturer will no longer be able to sustain existing American workforce, and even seemingly outsourcing-proof jobs like watch designer will be moved to China (this is beginning to happen now).

    When this happens to enough people, they will not be able to afford, lets say, a ride in a car service and then Arthur Borko will be out of job, too. This is how Walmart can come back and bite you.

    In addition, your savings may not be what seem: keep in mind that many times the product that looks the same and bears the same name is in reality different at Walmart.

    My wife has told me stories how they have to make a watch cheaper because Walmart demanded a cost reduction. So they substitute case material (i.e. some alloy instead of stainless steel), use painted numerals instead of raised, use rubber band instead of silicone, etc. The watch looks pretty much the same and still has the same name, but it is not the same as in your local sports store.

    While I was in Pennsylvania a while ago, I bought a tripod at Walmart and found out later that normally this model comes with a level, a hook for accessory bag, etc. So in the end, I didn’t really save much.

    Even with everyday staples like toilet paper, our Stop and Shop sale usually beats Walmart’s low price.

    Consumer Reports survey confirms:
    “For all the talk about Walmart’s low prices, 30,666 subscribers we surveyed said the prices at 10 other retailers, including JCPenney, Sears, Dillard’s, and Meijer, were at least as good. And bigger wasn’t necessarily better when it came to the overall shopping experience. Almost three-quarters of respondents who shopped at Walmart found at least one problem to complain about, and half had two or more complaints about the store or its staff.

    Walmart and Kmart scored notably lower than the other chains, but Costco stood tall.”
    Guess what: Costco is a union store.

  20. Sears started out offering a combination of decent values and clever frauds. But in those days people were more value conscious and the company would lose customers after one of Richard Sears’ clever and misleading promotions. Eventually Sears would write “Honesty is the best policy. I know, because I’ve tried it both ways”. The company grew as it became more respectable.Sears had quality controls for suppliers that were rather strict. They tested products before they were bought to ensure they were durable and functioned properly. They helped manufacturers to cut costs not by cheapening product or exploiting labor, but by streamlining the manufacturing process. They grew because their reputation for fair practice became well known.Somewhere along the way we stopped giving value to quality. Manufacturers promoted what was called planned obsolescence. Everything constantly became “new and improved”. You didn’t want to have last year’s car, or last year’s refrigator. To push that along products were no longer made to last an infinite amount of time. An item a simple as a manual can opener is a good example. Once, a can opener would last for twenty years. Now they most often last less than five. EKCO, BTW, which was the leading manufacturer of manual can openers still makes a decent one for less than 3 dollars. It won’t last 20 years, but it’s still superior to competing products that cost twice as much money. I’m not sure how they do it.I suppose that one could buy a ECKO can opener in a Wal-Mart. But one could also buy one in Doody’s and help a local business.There are a lot of products that not only are reasonably priced but do so without skimping on quality or exploiting workers. Many of these products are old ones that have ceased advertising. Ad budgets may increase sales but their costs are passed along to the consumer. That is part of the reason that Coca-Cola and Pepsi are generally more expensive than generically labeled brands. Sadly, we don’t have much in the way of local branded competition anymore in soft drinks. Those two advertised the competition out of business.Certainly other large businesses have negatively impacted small companies. but this is the bigger fish swallowing all the other fish.lI’m sure that Coke and Pepsi have to seriously eat some profit to get on the shelves at Wal-Mart. But as Wal-Mart kills off more of the competition it becomes almost imperative to deal with them. Wal-Mart recognizes their power and uses it sadistically. Walmart executives boast that they have brought the bigshots of respected American companies to tears by demanding and getting price reductions that mean losses to domestic employment and even real dolar profitability to these entities.And if you don’t play ball with them, they will try to destroy you.Watch the Frontline documentary if you haven’t seen it already.

  21. If Target indeed leaves, it will mean that this Walmart immediately killed as many jobs as it created. And then Walmart will be the only place to work (if one is not qualified to be a computer analyst like me), so “Don’t Work There” is going to be impossible. In addition, without competition, the prices at this Walmart will go up – they are not stupid. Then the city and it’s people (us) lose twice.

  22. Walmart is quite serious about quashing the competition. And now they are invading Europe as well. With big pockets they can underprice the competition until it is gone.

    Look what they did to Sears and K-Mart, which ended up merging. And how many other retailers have suffered because of Wal-Mart’s aggressive competition?

  23. Once again, here is how it works.

    Lets say, you work as a taxi driver. People in your neighborhood work at Doody, watch manufacturer (which shall remain nameless), etc.

    A while after Walmart opens, places like Doody will close and people who used to work there will either be unemployed or will work for Walmart (at their minimum wage).

    The watch manufacturer eventually will move design (they have already moved all manufacturing) to China. By then there will be no openings even at Walmart, so these people (like my wife) will become unemployed.
    Once a family like mine will lose a second income, it will not be able to afford a house in Sheepshead bay anymore (hello, New Jersey).

    Now comes a question: are any of these people going to ride your taxi after all this? You know the answer to this question. In the best case, they will use “dollar vans”. Then your taxi business will follow the Doody and that watch manufacturer, and it will be my turn to say: “I told you so”… when we meet while shopping at Walmart.

  24. People won’t get this as long as there are other economic factors that have an effect on the stability of the business sector. But this is a primary cause of long term unemployment. Long term unemployment leads to more instability in the business sector. This played a large role in creating the current meltdown we are experiencing.

  25. Now, that would really be a contribution to the community. Where do teenagers get a part time job these days or do those even exist?

  26. let’s fight for the little guy. Let Walmart in, so we can pay cheaper prices. Let’s not keep impoverishing the little guy by letting the special-interest, budget-busting unions run our lives.

  27. Once again, that liberal theory. Listen, lady, i don’t mind you disagreeing me. But not everyone who disagrees with you is an idiot, okay? Stop your “I’m liberal, i’m smarter than you, you’re an idiot attitude”, and maybe you won’t lose 61 seats next election.

  28. Why not put it to a vote? Because maybe brooklynq’s side would lose more than the Democrats lost in Congress last election.

  29. Lost in this is the sad fact that people actually believe at this point that they have the RIGHT to deny a legal business to open. That’s about as sad a fact as i can think of concerning freedom in America. Then again, those people seek to determine what I am and what i am not allowed to say (of course, whatever they disagree with gets termed “hate speech”). People like… well, i won’t mention names here, are a huge threat to freedom in this country.

  30. what’s both your points? Since Walmart isn’t as good as the other stores, we should deny their right to exist in NYC? Why don’t we apply the same criteria to unions. Let’s start with that wonderful union, the teacher’s union, which has helped create such wonderful educational opportunities for our children

  31. So many people love to shop at walmart, but of course they’re all idiots. Also, the recent elections were undoubtedly full of idiots. Those same people were smart in 2008, but suddenly they turned idiots.

    When someone in any discussion calls the other side “idiots”, we know who the true idiot is at that point, and can terminate such discussion with closure.

  32. Your superficial internet “research” doesn’t impress. In fact, this same Dr. Neumark wrote a book whose research indicates that having any minimum wage at all is not all that helpful. So, so much for the “pay” issue on Walmart.

  33. I say, the American system used to be, a business opens, and if the people don’t like it, they won’t shop there, and the business will close. That’s free enterprise. Lisap, you think shoppers are guilty of the “greater idiot’s theory” (actually, it’s the greater fool’s theory, but let’s not split hairs), but I would think that especially in tough times such as these, shoppers would be extremely discerning. I say, build Walmart in NY. Give the people a choice. If the lines are long, and the prices go up, the shoppers will flee.
    Lisap, i cannot accept your idea that “I know Walmart is bad, I know more than the people, so it can’t open”. That’s not the American system as I know it.

  34. Last time I checked, most of NY is blue, including both Senators, Governor, AG, Comptroller, State Assembly, etc.
    That good enough for me.

  35. Well, you have just exercised your freedom, and nobody is calling it “hate speech”.
    In fact, I will fight (as a card-carrying member of ACLU) for your right to say anything you want! Please keep posting.

  36. Davep, today being Friday, enjoy your weekend and thank those bad Unions for it, OK?

    “The American concept of the weekend has its roots in labor union attempts to accommodate Jewish workers who took Saturday instead of Sunday as their Sabbath. The first five-day work week was instituted by a New England cotton mill for this reason.
    In 1929 the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America was the first union to demand a five-day work week and receive it. After that, the rest of the United States slowly followed, but it wasn’t until 1940 that the two-day weekend began nationwide.”

  37. It’s the conservative DINO’s that lost – those who should’ve been Republicans in the first place:

    “The Congressional Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus in the House Democratic Caucus at over 80 members, emerged virtually unscathed, losing only three members.

    By constrast, the conservative Blue Dog Democratic caucus was more than sliced in half from 54 members to only 26. Further, of the 34 conservative Dems who voted against Obama’s Healthcare Reform, a mere 12 won re-election.

    Dead weight gone. Good Riddance.”

  38. Lets apply the same argument as “don’t like Walmart’s employment policies – don’t work there”: Don’t like the teacher’s union – don’t send your children to public school.

  39. I say fuck it and let them open. I won’t shop there, since I do most of my shopping online. People need jobs right now. Wal-Mart may be able to drive out some places, but for most of us there are still options nearby. In this day and age, most businesses will do anything to get sales in, even if it means lowering the costs.

  40. Faulty analogy. Like it or not – our taxes are being used to prop up the public school system. Now, if we could only get vouchers and have a choice in selecting schools we send our kids too… Then we could say – Don’t like School A? Send your kids to School B!

  41. Fine, but keep in mind that taxes finance all kinds of government services that you may or may not like – and all (or almost all) federal, state and local government employees are unionized.

  42. Please see my earlier post on what cost reductions by Walmart mean for the customer as well as for Walmart vendors:

    As for the jobs, we need manufacturing jobs, not Walmart’s! Nothing is made in the US any more (except some pharma and some food)… Even for me, as a computer specialist, Walmart in Brooklyn does nothing (centralized, outsourced support for stores) – while widget plant (from another thread) is a potential customer.

  43. People can protest businesses if they think they’ll have a negative impact on the surrounding community. Hell adult video stores get protested all the time if one opens up near a main avenue (see Kama Sutra on Sheepshead Bay Road) or even regulated by law (distance to schools).

    They’re just exercising their right to freedom of speech to object, but in the end it’ll be up to the agencies in charge whether it can open (legally or illegally).

  44. I don’t need to read your post, as I’m well aware of the tactics utilized by Wal-Mart, which is one reason I DON’T shop there. However I say let them open, provide some temporary employment to construction workers and employees willing to slave for their low wages for the time it exists. The best jab to them is to let Wal-Mart open, give some relief to the ailing job market, but still spread the knowledge of Wal-Mart’s tactics to potential shoppers.

  45. I am not sure how that applies in the context of your previous argument. Can you explain, please? Walmart has competition, so if they survive it’s only because their customers vote for them with their dollars. When it comes to schools we are forced to finance them. I don’t quite understand your argument. Explain, please?

  46. “A while after Walmart opens, places like Doody will close” – why would Doody close if they provide a superior service/value to their customers? And if they don’t – why do I care if they close?

  47. If you are an adult and you need the type of a job that Warmart “causes to disappear” that means that you should’ve went to college, or at least acquired some skill. Seriously….

  48. lol, what? Now you are just plain making things up. There’s a ton of Rite Aids in VT. Where are you getting your information from?

  49. Monopoly and price fixing is illegal. That’s a good point. Perhaps we should need to point out that angle and try to outlaw unions. After all, isn’t collective bargaining a form of price fixing for labor? And doesn’t striking works because the unions know they hold a monopoly on labor with their employer?

  50. Been there. They were banned. Eventually I would guess that someone saw to it that this was reversed, especially as other chains started coming into the state.

  51. They do? That’s so interesting. You need not worry, unions are being destroyed by companies like Walmart that demand closed shops.

    Eventually the people will get smart and rid Congress of those who favor business over labor.

    At any rate, monopoly law does not apply to unions because they do not aim to eliminate a competitive market. That is what monopoly law is about.

  52. Oh I cant wait for Walmart to show up in Brooklyn – hopefully across the street from whatever shithole you live in. Or maybe even another Costco – so you can buy tampons in bulk for that never ending flow of yours….

  53. They can stay, but if the word gets out how inferior their products are and people don’t shop there, but the landlords still get paid and employees still make some money, then it’s win-win for us and a loss for them.

  54. on Wal*Mart’s China web page!

    “Wal-Mart China persists in local procurement which provides more job opportunities, supports local manufacture industry and promotes local economy. So far, 95% of merchandising sold at Wal-Mart China store are local products by which Wal-Mart has established business relations with nearly 20,000 suppliers. At Wal-Mart, we treat suppliers as partners and would like to develop with them. In 2008 Wal-Mart won the Supplier Satisfaction published by Business Information of Shanghai for five consecutive years.”

    5% foreign in China…

    That doesn’t support American exports and American jobs.

    Remember what Lance Winslow wrote in that article “The Flow of Trade in a Global Economy”….

    “Now let us look at Wal-Mart again; you buy a product there, 6% goes to the employees, 10-18% is profit to the company, 25% goes to other costs and 50% goes to re-stock or the cost of goods sold. Of the 50% about 20-25% goes to China, a guess, but you get the point. Now then, how long will it take at 433 Billion dollars at year for China to have all of our money, leaving no money flow for us to circulate? At a 17 Trillion dollar economy less than 40-years minus the 1/6 they buy from us. Some say that if we keep putting money into our economy, it would take forever, but if we do not then eventually all the money flow will go. If China buys our debt then eventually they own us, no need to worry about a war, they are buying America, due in part to our own mismanaged trade, so whose fault is that? Not necessarily China, as they are doing what’s in the best interests, and we should make sure that trade is not only free, but fair too.”

    Think for a moment about George Washington….yes the man that is on the US dollar bill….How do you think George feels being sent overseas in return for all that foreign so-call cheap items and being left in a foreign bank because the American worker doesn’t make anything for the foreigners to buy. Cheap items didn’t make this great union of 50 states the greatest place on the face of this Earth…..the American worker (union and non-union) did.

    You can’t have a strong country without having a strong currency and you can’t have a strong currency unless you keep it floating around within your 50 states. This is why the store with the star in the name puts 95% China made items in their stores in China….to keep their “yuan” in their country helping the nice people there. And with only 5% left for all the other 182 country’s that make stuff including the United States of America….that doesn’t produce very many jobs outside of China.

    Being an old person myself and knowing how it was back in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s in this union of 50 states….I look at George each time I pull him out of my billfold and make a promise to send him out for items made in America so after floating around helping each hand he touches just maybe one day he will shake mine again.

    Fifteen cargo ships pollute as much as 760 million automobiles.

    $9 billion a year in hidden taxes to all American taxpayers to clean fish from ballast tanks of ships…

    think about all those facts the next time you pull that George out of your pocket….

    Retail makes NOTHING…

    Governments only make MORE DEBT…

    It’s time for less of those two and for America to get back to what it does best….MAKE STUFF..

    cause George Washington on that dollar can’t help anyone in the United States of America if he is being held in a foreign hand.

    Made In America is the only way out of this mess cause foreign made put US here.

  55. I’m all for getting manufacturing jobs back in the U.S., but sadly all these politicians have stakes in all these businesses that have factories abroad, while “boasting” about increased tariffs. In order for there to be more jobs on U.S. soil, we need to increase the taxes to the point that it’s cheaper to build products here in the U.S., but that is sadly something the politicians will never do so long as they have an interest in the market within these companies, whether it be actual shares or financial/political influence.


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