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Stringer: Walmart In NYC Would Be ‘Potentially Devastating’ To Local Economy

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Walmart (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Walmart (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Walmart has been trying to open a store in New York City for years, but the company has been met with lots of resistance.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond On The Story

Now in a new report, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is warning New Yorkers that the big box chain would only hurt, not help the city’s economy.

“This document that we’re releasing highlights the damage that Walmart would cause to the local retailers who have spent years and years building their businesses in a community that has struggled through this terrible recession,” Stringer said.

Stringer says if Walmart opened on 125th Street in Harlem, 25 percent of the nearby supermarkets and Bodegas would go out of business in a year and more would fail the second year.

He says millions of taxpayer dollars would also be jeopardized if Walmart opens in Harlem.

“Right now, there are two important city programs called Fresh and the Healthy Bodega Initiative where the city has spent millions in taxpayer dollars to help small businesses extend their fresh food retail space and we are concerned that Walmart would blow a hole in that,” Stringer said.

On its website, Walmart refuted Stringer’s study, saying “A new report from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer that predicts that a Walmart in Harlem would hurt small businesses is nothing but a repackaging of a flawed Loyola University Chicago survey that tried unsuccessfully to make the same point.”

According to Walmart, there was positive economic development in Chicago after stores arrived there and that “the company actually created jobs in Chicago.”

The company also noted the opening of a Target store and Costco in Harlem and said that Stringer attended both openings.

Walmart says bringing the store to New York City would help bring fresh food to residents and that “Walmart can be part of the solution for New Yorkers who want more affordable healthy food options, period.”

The idea of a Walmart opening in New York City has been a hotly contested issue for some time.

Last month, Bronx Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. said he hopes to soon see a Walmart store in the city because he believes would benefit poorer residents.

In July, a Quinnipiac University poll found 69 percent of respondents said they would shop at a Walmart in the city if it was convenient.

That same poll showed that 63 percent of respondents said that city officials should allow a local Walmart to open.

To read Stringer’s full report, click here.

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