Tuesday, August 29, 2006

[economy] walmart meets opposition in a canadian town

For more than a year, Wal-Mart has been trying to get into Port Elgin, a burgeoning Ontario town on the shores of Lake Huron, according to the Globe and Mail.

But for Wal-Mart, Loblaw is opposing the re-zoning application, joining a number of local groups to run its rival out of town. The company may not be able to keep Wal-Mart out of Port Elgin forever, but it seems to know that in the competitive retail market, a battle delayed is a battle not lost.

This time, instead of using price cuts and two-for-one coupons, they're attacking each other with phalanxes of lawyers, planners and consultants. In a handful of towns across Canada, Wal-Mart's latest ambitious expansion plans have met opposition from the entrenched players who say there isn't room.

For Loblaw, the stakes are especially high. It is racing to recover from its faltering expansion into non-food offerings in its bid to take on Wal-Mart.

Andrew Pelletier, a Wal-Mart Canada Corp. spokesman, says: “We find it very unfortunate that they would resort to these tactics to try to maintain what amounts to monopolies in these markets. They're ultimately trying to limit competition.”

I’ve been watching Walmart for about two years, ever since I read an article about their obsessive company get-togethers. These are seriously committed people..

According to Fast Company writer Jim Collins, Walmart continues to amaze skeptics and supporters alike with its relentless growth and success. Collins notes that if past growth rates continue Walmart will become the world's first trillion dollar in sales company within ten years.

The fact is for every Wal-Mart store that opens, jobs are lost to the community, the tax base shrinks, the number of workers with health benefits declines, and the number of workers eligible for welfare increases.

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