– A perspective with the recent announcement of Wal-Mart closing 154 U. S. stores:
“The general story of Walmart and rural America is well-understood. The company big-footed in with the promise of low prices, attracting low-income shoppers straining to cope with stagnant wages and larger fixed costs for housing and health care. Family-owned, non-big-box retail stores, typically clustered in the town center, struggled to compete. Walmart could squeeze its suppliers on prices by promising them volume sales; the mom-and-pop stores had no ability to impose market power. Over time, the presence of Walmart crushed Main Streets across the country, dislocating entire communities. These towns came to rely on Walmart as the largest employer and the source of an astonishing percentage of total tax revenue.
Some see these subsequent closures as akin to Walmart leaving the carcass by the side of the road after feasting on it. There’s no question that some communities will feel a burden in the immediate term, with residents having to drive long distances for decent food or medicine.
But getting Walmart out of the picture can also herald a ‘locally sourced’ comeback,” quoting David Dayen, The Fiscal Times.