February 8, 2009

Wal-Mart looks to expand in Chicago

Retailing giant Wal-Mart, blocked from expansion in Chicago by unions, is planning a new effort to get approval for four more stores.

The company is considering potential sites for new stores in food deserts, areas in Chicago where there are few supermarkets, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

A spokesman for Wal-Mart, John Bisio, said city officials appear to be more open to its stores because of the recession. Wal-Mart is healthier than most retailers because the sour economy has created new customers for its low prices.

Mayor Richard Daley has long argued that the city should be open to Wal-Mart because barring the chain from Chicago means shoppers travel to the suburbs, the Chicago Tribune reported. Daley vetoed an ordinance in 2006 that would have required big-box stores to pay employees at least $10 an hour and provide health benefits by 2010.

Wal-Mart has only one outlet in Chicago.