With union support, the San Diego City council voted to require economic impact reports from anyone who wants to build a big box superstore in the city limits, like the ones often built by Wal-Mart.
The more critics take on Wal-Mart, the more their stores seem to fill up with shoppers who just don't get it. More than 40,000 people signed a petition to free up Wal-Mart and let them build without doing economic impact reports.
Wal-Mart sells just about everything from blouses to bananas and they do it cheaper than most stores.
“I call on my colleagues on the council to repeal the superstore ordinance and clear the way for Wal-Mart to invest in our community and let our residents make their own choice about where they want to shop,” said Mayor Jerry Sanders.
The retail has been fighting back against the ordinance.
“The big box ordinance might be good politics but it's bad business and it's bad for San Diego families,” said Wal-Mart spokesperson Maggie Sans.
Now Wal-Mart is offering the promise of growth and jobs. If the council repeals the ordinance, Wal-Mart officials say they will build nearly a dozen Wal-Mart stores in the next five years, adding more than 1,000 associate and constructions jobs.
“Let's avoid a costly special election and give consumers the choice to make their own decisions,” said Councilman Kevin Faulconer
New Wal-Mart stores could come to local neighborhoods, but they may not be the big stores you're thinking about.
“We have also a smaller store that we build, which is a market. More like a traditional grocery store that people are familiar with. And we have shared that we have an even smaller format beyond that that we're experimenting with,” said Sans.
Is Wal-Mart using this offer as a big stick to convince the city council?
“We come into the city council with a big offering of what we’d like our investment to do in the community. We actually believe the city council will show their wisdom and take care of the will of the people,” said Sans.
Wal-Mart says they plan to grow in Urban Markets. Sans says they will build stores of various sizes but hope all stores will include food and pharmacies.
There’s no word yet on where exactly those stores will go.
The council could vote to repeal the big box ordinance as early as next week.