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1998-05-17
Bentonville, AR

Wal-Mart stores: now you see them, now you don't. Ever wonder who makes those horrendous decisons to locate a Wal-Mart on residential land, or one mile from an existing Wal-Mart? The answer is a "Wal-Mart Nobody Knows." According to Wal-Mart's 1998 Annual Report, land use decisions are made by "a little know division of our company", the Wal-Mart Realty Company. Most people think Wal-Mart owns the land and buildings they occupy, but the reality is that Wal-Mart leases many of its locations. Wal-Mart occupies more than 310 million in square feet of property. That makes Wal-Mart Realty Co. "the largest owner and manager of retail space in the country." What the public also doesn't understand, is that Wal-Mart relocates many of its stores--often before their lease expires. In 1997, Wal-Mart Realty leased or sold 10,000,000 square feet of "once-occupied stores", a Wal-Mart euphemism for a shut-down store. It's up to Wal-Mart Realty Company to "find uses for existing relocated stores after they are closed". Tom Seay, former Wal-Mart executive vice president for real estate, has said "the fact that we relocate stores and we relocate a lot of them, is a well-known fact in the development community..." Seay admits that Wal-Mart has relocated "hundreds" of stores. Wal-Mart now admits that just in the past year alone they relocated 10 million square feet of space. So don't get too attached to your local store--it may not be there all that long.

What you can do: If your town is facing a Wal-Mart proposal, ask your municipal officials to press Wal-Mart to sign a performance bond with the town that the company will maintain a "continuous occupancy lease" that requires them to keep their store open during the full term of the lease, or pay community a specified level of damages for every month the store ends up empty.










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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