Wal-Mart surprised just about everyone when it announced that it would open six stores in the District. Even more surprising, though, was the ambitious schedule that the mega retailer was looking to stick to: It wanted the stores open by the end of 2013.
But according to The Post, those plans have been rolled back some, and now only one Wal-Mart — at the corner of Georgia and Missouri avenues NW — will open by next year:
Wal-Mart now says that only one of the six stores it currently plans will be open by the end of 2013. Others are components of mixed-use projects that require regulatory approval or the right set of economic circumstances to become viable.
“While construction time lines are fluid and driven mostly by the developer, we’re using the extra time to further engage with the neighborhoods that surround our stores and build even more support for Wal- Mart,” company spokesman Steven Restivo said.
This is about as good as the news can get for opponents of the low-price retail giant, which has widely been accused of abusive labor practices and driving small businesses into the ground. Anti-Wal-Mart activists have remained active in D.C., though they have faced difficulties in marshaling opposition as the retailer has sought to build on private land and without any assistance from the city. Protests have taken place on the site of the Georgia Avenue Wal-Mart, even as demolition of a former car dealership on the site has proceeded.
A Costco in Northeast is still set to open this year. City officials tend to applaud these big-box stores because they keep shoppers in D.C. — on a yearly basis, some $1 billion in consumer spending is lost to stores in Maryland and Virginia.