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NY1 Exclusive: Walmart Opponents Say Superstore Wants To Open Dozens Of NYC Outlets

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TWC News: NY1 Exclusive: Walmart Opponents Say Superstore Wants To Open Dozens Of NYC Outlets
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A new study obtained by NY1 from the Alliance for a Greater New York suggests that Walmart locations could proliferate across the five boroughs should the megastore open in the city, but Walmart representatives responded by countering the findings with their own numbers. NY1’s Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Walmart foes are ramping up their battle to keep the megastore out of New York City.

NY1 obtained a study from the Alliance for a Greater New York Tuesday that contends Walmart could end up with scores of locations in every borough should they replicate their nationwide market strategy here.

"The findings were that, in one scenario, there’s 159 stores: 114 of them small format, 34 of them medium format, like a grocery store style, and then 11 supercenters primarily located in the outer boroughs,” said Josh Kellerman of the Alliance for a Greater New York.

Steven Restivo, a Walmart spokesperson, challenged the study's findings.

"The special interests today issued what amounts to a fairy tale press release that's billed as a study, I guess in hopes of scaring residents," said Steven Restivo.

Walmart countered with its own numbers on Tuesday, claiming city residents were on track to spend 10 percent more at Walmarts located outside of the five boroughs in 2011 than in 2010.

Hugh O’Neill, an economic development expert and former consultant for the retailer, argued Walmart would boost the city economy.

"We estimated that based on those retail sales, the city is losing about $7.7 million a year in sales taxes,” said O’Neill.

Some city officials are balking at those numbers.

"What you would see with Walmart on a big scale is a net loss in jobs and a reduction in wages and benefit levels. That's a much bigger problem," said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

A recent NY1/Marist College poll found 64 percent of adults in New York City would support a Walmart Store, and 31 percent would oppose it.

Walmart plans to build a store as-of-right, essentially circumventing the City Council's land use process. They’re also eyeing stores large and small, some as small as a Duane Reade.

Attracting the most attention is a site in East New York, where developer Related Companies plans to build a large shopping center.

A Related Companies spokesperson would not comment on the negotiations.

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