A new study produced by Rutgers University, says that the costs of welcoming in a Wal-Mart supercenter may outweigh the benefits. “The economic and social backlash may very well be felt by workers, consumers, policy makers, and taxpayers from Trenton to High Point to Cape May,” said Rutgers lead author Robert C. Angelo, an assistant professor of labor studies at the school. Wal-Mart currently operates 37 discount stores in New Jersey, but, according to the Associated Press, hopes to build superstores in Pennsville, Turnersville, and Toms River. The retailer has also been battling residents in Lacey and Deptford, in an all out invasion of New Jersey. “Increasing sales of food products by ‘big box’ stores, as well as other factors, could undermine the role of the retail food industry and have adverse consequences for retail trade,” the Rutger study said. According to the report, New Jersey has more to lose than most states, because 96% of its 500 major chain supermarkets are unionized, providing workers with “livable wages” as well as health and pension benefits. These supermarkets employ 67,530 people in New Jersey, nearly 2% of the state’s work force, and pay more than $1.5 billion a year in wages. Nearly half of the state’s 566 cities and towns have at least one of the 500 supermarkets. “The evidence is pretty clear that around the country where Wal-Mart, Kmart and Target have opened their supercenters, they’ve pretty quickly cut into the market share of the supermarkets,” Angelo told the Associated Press. Wal-Mart supercenters will pay property taxes, and employ workers, but, the study notes, “wages will be lowered, and that means less income tax and less purchasing by employees.” “In general, the Wal-Martization of America means lower wagers, fewer benefits and increasing levels of poverty,” said a spokesman from the United Food and Commercial Workers, which represents unionized grocery workers. “Wal-Mart is not about lower prices, it is about higher profits. The higher profits come at the expense of workers and communities, not only in the United States, but around the world.” The UFCW said that “New Jersey winds up being a net loser when Wal-Mart enters the market,”
For more background on economic impact studies that reflect poorly on big box stores, search this database by “economic”. Also, both of Al’s books have sections summarizing key impacts from economic reports conducted around the nation. See “Order Al’s Books” on this website for more information, or call 1-877 DUNK WAL.