Wal-Mart Retreating From Chicago Expansion: Report

Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., is quietly backing away from its plans to expand inside Chicago city limits, the Chicago Tribune newspaper reported yesterday.

CHICAGO — Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., is quietly backing away from its plans to expand inside Chicago city limits, the Chicago Tribune newspaper reported yesterday. The report, based on local real estate and political sources, said political pressure and fears of a resumption of battles with labor unions prompted the retailer to back away from its bid to build a supercenter at the Chatham Market site on Chicago’s South Side. H. Lee Scott, Wal-Mart’s chief executive officer, said in a 2006 speech that he envisioned the retailer as an “urban pioneer” with the potential for 20 stores in Chicago, but Wal-Mart has only built a single city store since that time, encountering fierce opposition from organized labor as well as from anti-big-box legislation that was ultimately vetoed by Mayor Richard Daley. The report yesterday said city officials are wary that flare-ups between the retailer and unions could disrupt Chicago’s bid to be a host city for the 2016 Olympics.

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