Sprawl-Busters Newsflash Blog - Anti-Sprawl news since 1998.
Subscribe to Sprawl-Busters Blog Follow Sprawl Busters on Twitter
Occupy Walmart & Order Al's Books Movies Newsflash! The Case Against Sprawl Home Towns Not Home Depot Victories Your Battles About Us Contact Us  

recent news

List articles
by the month:

2018
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2017
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2016
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2015
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2014
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2013
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2012
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2011
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2010
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2009
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2008
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2007
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2006
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2005
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2004
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2003
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2002
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2001
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2000
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

1999
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

1998
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC


Search database by text:

2009-04-27
Toronto, Ont. Wal-Mart Admits Smaller Superstores More Efficient, Sustainable

At Wal-Mart, big is beautiful. But the giant retailer has begun a subtle shift in rhetoric that foretells the day when huge superstores will resemble dinosaurs frozen in a not-too-distant retail ice age. On April 27th, Dow Jones Newswire carried a story about the evolving attitude about big box stores at Wal-Mart Canada. Wal-Mart entered Canada by buying up 122 Woolco stores in 1994. In 2006, Wal-Mart began closing down those 'old' stores in favor of larger, 200,000 s.f. superstores. But now, in the U.S. and Canada, Wal-Mart is redirecting its growth policy by creating superstores with reduced footprints, and converting existing discount stores into supercenters without adding any square footage. On April 2, 2009, Sprawl-Busters noted that Wal-Mart had converted two discount stores in Milwaukee, Wisconsin into supercenters simply by remodeling the interior space. No permits were needed, no prolonged fight with neighbors. Now Wal-Mart Canada is doing the same thing. According to Dow Jones, Wal-Mart plans to build 26 superstores in Canada (about one-fifth of the superstores being planned for the U.S.). Almost 80% of these superstores will be 'conversions' of existing discount stores, and 3 of them will be what is called "in-box conversions," rennovating the interior space without any breakout walls or expanded footprint. The discount store is changed into a superstore by adding a grocery to the mix. The typical Wal-Mart Canada store is around 100,000 s.f. Adding a grocery store ususally involves no more than a 40,000 s.f. addition. According to Dow Jones, Wal-Mart currently has 5 superstores in Canada that are 100,000 s.f., and 8 at 115,000 s.f. More dramatic even than the scaled down stores (which are still roughly the size of 1.5 football fields -- not counting the parking lot) is the scaled down rhetoric from company officials. Wal-Mart Canada spokesman Andrew Pelletier told Dow Jones, "It's cost-efficient in terms of land, construction and equipment, thus lowering our operating costs, resulting in lower prices for our customers. It also fits well with our focus on environmental sustainability because it decreases the size of our footprint."

What you can do: According to Dow Jones, the head of Wal-Mart Canada, David Cheesewright, was the head of Wal-Mart's grocery division in the United Kingdom, the ASDA chain. "He's introducing European-style efficiencies and space-saving measures at Wal-Mart Canada," Dow Jones said. Dow Jones also quoted a retail analyst as saying that baby boomes are "getting turned off big boxes." The Wal-Mart corporation has encountered stiff grassroots resistance to its superstores for well over a decade, and community groups organized to stop the big stores. These citizen's groups significantly slowed down new store growth, and converted was used to be a two or three month permitting process into a two or three year process. Wal-Mart's turning to smaller stores is not only more cost efficient to operate, and gentler on the environment, it will also attract less virulent opposition. But most community groups cannot visualize the difference between a 100,000 s.f. store and a 150,000 s.f. store. The public cannot look at the building and judge the square footage. The best route for Wal-Mart to take, the growth path of least resistance, is retrofitting its existing discount stores into supercenters, without altering the footprint at all. Readers are urged to email David Cheesewright at http://www.walmart.ca/wps-portal/storelocator/Canada-CustomerService.jsp with the following message: "Dear Mr. Cheesewright, I am very pleased to hear of Wal-Mart's new attraction to smaller stores. Although I think 100,000 s.f. is still far too large -- you are heading in the 'wright' direction. I like best the idea of taking discount stores and converting them into supercenters by not adding to the square footage. This makes more sense than leaving hundreds of empty stores sitting by the roadside. For years, Wal-Mart has squandered land, over-built stores, and cannibalized its own sales per square foot. It's about time that Wal-Mart lowered its footprint, and focused on more efficient stores. For all your talk about sustainability, your growth footprint just says 'sprawl.' A change for smaller formats would be welcomed at the neighborhood level."











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

info@sprawl-busters.com
Strategic Planning ~ Field Operations
Voter Campaigns 
21 Grinnell St, Greenfield ~ MA 01301
(413) 772-6289