Wal-Mart has more closed stores for sale than most retailers have open. On June 3, 2009, Sprawl-Busters reported that Wal-Mart was systematically going through its portfolio of stores in New England, and other regions, and either shutting down or expanding its discount stores. Today in New Hampshire, Wal-Mart operates 11 supercenters and 16 discount stores. The company would like to reverse those numbers as soon as possible. In Hooksett, New Hampshire, Wal-Mart will be shutting down its 82, 550 s.f. discount store on Route 3 to open up a new 150,000 s.f. superstore a few miles away on Route 3A. Hooksett is a town with roughly 14,000 people. This week, Wal-Mart is opening up its new Route 3A superstore, and its discount store # 1698 on Hooksett Road will shut down forever. There is another Wal-Mart superstore less than 10 miles away in Concord, New Hampshire. Wal-Mart Realty is trying to sell the ‘old’ Hooksett location. According to Wal-Mart Realty, “The Subject (old store) is located in the small community of Hooksett New Hampshire, abutting New Hampshire’s largest city Manchester. The new Supercenter is relocated to a Super Regional Site only 1.8 miles west but across the Merrimack River.” The store Wal-Mart abandoned was built in 1991, and is less than 20 years old. The price Wal-Mart is asking for their empty store has not been disclosed. According to the Union Leader newspaper, the store “is going to remain vacant indefinitely.” The newspaper quotes the owner of the larger plaza where the empty Wal-Mart sits as having no hot prospects for the store. “I don’t know of anything under negotiation,” said a spokeswoman for Pennsylvania-based W.P. Realty, which owns the Hooksett Village Shops plaza. “I have spoken to some developers that have had interest but nothing has come of it,” added the Town of Hooksett’s Administrator. The new superstore took at least a year to build, so the town and plaza owners have clearly been looking for a new buyer for many months. The head of the Hooksett Economic Development Committee says he expects a new owner to be found, given the site’s location on a main traffic corridor. “We’re just thrilled that, given the state of the economy, there’s still interest,” the economic development staffer told the newspaper. “But in the short term, there are going to be some issues there.” The new Wal-Mart superstore is located in a hive of big box retail stores, including Lowe’s, Target, Kohl’s, BJ’s and Home Depot.
Hooksett has said yes to all comers, and as a result, left itself with empty holes to fill. That’s apparently the way that Hooksett voters want it. The town recently approved a ballot initiative to expand sewer capacity and highway access in the area off Exit 10 where the new Wal-Mart has located. In a press release, the giant retailer said their larger store will provide “an improved shopping experience.” The company says the superstore will employ 280 people — of which 200 are new jobs. 80 workers were carried over from the ‘old’ store. But the 200 ‘new’ jobs will predominately come from other area merchants which lose sales. The new Hooksett store will not be open 24/7. It will close at midnight, which makes the neighbors happy. Readers who want to buy the ‘old’ Wal-Mart store should email [email protected] with the following message: “Dear Travis, I would like to suggest to Wal-Mart Realty that you tear down your ‘old’ store in Hooksett, New Hampshire, and do the same with your empty store in Hinsdale, New Hampshire. These two stores represent roughly 182,000 s.f. of dead stores, and are not likely to be refilled productively. These empty stores, which some people in the media call ‘ghost boxes’ are a visible reminder of how unsustainable Wal-Mart is as a corporation. Your company has shut down hundreds of stores built in the 1990s. There has never been another retailer which has implemented a more wasteful policy. Rather than let these stores sit for years and become blighted, Wal-Mart Realty should pay the cost of tearing them down now. Wal-Mart has become the King of Dead Space, and created more roadside sprawl on Route 3 in Hooksett.”