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2006-02-20
Bentonville, AR. Wal-Martís 24 Million Square Feet of Dark Stores

Wal-Mart discount stores are slowly disappearing. Over the past 5 years, Wal-Mart has shut down 35.3 million square feet of discount stores. Since 1999, Sprawl-Busters has monitored Wal-Mart's abandoned stores. These are stores the company leaves behind to build bigger stores -- what the company likes to call "dark stores." Last year, for example, we reported that Wal-Mart had 356 dead stores, with 26.69 million square feet of empty space on the market. At that time, 31% of these dead stores were over 100,000 s.f. As of February, 2006, Wal-Mart Realty is still sitting on a colossal amount of dead air. A total of 310 stores in 38 states are on the list of "available buildings", a total of 24.39 million square feet, or roughly 508 football fields of empty stores. The top ten states in 2006 with empty Wal-Mart's are as follows:
Texas, 31
Tennessee, 26
Ohio, 19
Georgia, 17
Illinois, 17
Iowa, 14
Louisiana, 12
Kentucky, 11
Michigan, 11
North Carolina, 11
In the "million square foot" club of states carrying more than a million square feet of empty Wal-Marts, are the following 6 states: Georgia, 1.32 million; Illinois, 1.4 million; Michigan, 1.23 million; Ohio, 1.62 million; Tennessee, 1.8 million; and Texas, 2.3 million. Last year, states with over a million square feet of empty space included Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and Michigan. In 2006, Illinois and Ohio are new on the million square foot list, while Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Oklahoma have dropped below a million. In 2006, a total of 91 stores (29%) are over 100,000 s.f. Most of these dead stores are former discount stores that Wal-Mart replaced with a larger format supercenter.


What you can do: According to the company's SEC filings, between 2000 and 2005, Wal-Mart closed down a net of 35.305 million square feet of discount stores. In terms of discount store count, in 2005, Wal-Mart had 1,353 discount stores, or 448 fewer discount stores than the retailer had in 2000. The company's number of discount stores began rolling backwards around 1995. In the past 5 years, Wal-Mart has closed the equivalent of 735 football fields worth of discount stores.










 
 
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