Walmart Widens its Windy City World

3/18/2011 1:24:54 AM

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced two new Chicago stores that the Arkansas-based mega retailer said will put the company well on its way to creating 10,000 jobs in the city by 2015.

At an event on the site of a new store at 76th Street and South Ashland Avenue, Mayor Richard M. Daley and Ald. Latasha Thomas joined Walmart to share plans for new small and mid-size stores in the West Englewood community that will each provide local residents with another option for affordable groceries. West Englewood is in the heart of a food desert and one of Chicago’s most underserved communities.

These new stores, combined with the company’s existing projects, will create close to 1,000 new jobs and nearly 200 construction jobs, putting Walmart on the path to meeting the goals outlined in its Chicago Community Investment Partnership.

“Mayor Daley has been a champion of economic development in the city and his support of Walmart through the years has allowed us the opportunity to do what we do best: open stores that create jobs and offer a broad assortment of products at everyday low prices,” said Julie Murphy, Walmart U.S.’s Chicago-based senior VP. “Moving forward, we will continue to identify sites in Chicago's food deserts, while also looking for opportunities to help even more Chicagoans save money and live better.”

Walmart’s investment in Chicago now includes two Supercenters slated to open within the next two years; two Walmart Markets, scheduled to open this fall and the following spring; and two Walmart Express stores, one to launch this summer and the other next winter.

“When I met with Walmart last year, I encouraged them to take an approach that addressed the needs of the urban shopper if they truly wanted to make a difference in our underserved neighborhoods,” Daley said. “Today, it appears that Walmart has done just that by creating smaller urban store formats that will better serve our communities. I applaud their leadership in creating jobs and providing retail and grocery services in areas of the city that need it most.”

Chicago’s Walmart Express stores will be less than 30,000 square feet and focus on a broad assortment of brands at everyday low prices, selling grocery, pharmacy and limited general merchandise. Walmart Market – previously called Neighborhood Market – will range in size from 30,000 to 60,000 square feet and provide a wider assortment of fresh grocery, as well as a bakery and delicatessen. The Walmart Supercenter will continue to serve as a one-stop destination, offering full service grocery as well as a wide range of general merchandise.

In June 2010, Walmart announced the Chicago Community Investment Partnership, a five-year plan to open several dozen stores, create approximately 10,000 jobs and 2,000 unionized construction jobs, generate more than $500 million in sales and property taxes and develop charitable partnerships worth $20 million.

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