BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores here said Monday it plans to open "several dozen" stores in the Chicago area to help eradicate food deserts and stimulate local economic development.
The company did not pinpoint exactly how many units it would open but said they would be located across the city in varying sizes and formats "to address not only Chicago's double-digit commercial vacancy rate but also provide customers with more convenient access to affordable groceries, especially those 600,000 residents living within Chicago's three self-identified food deserts."
Wal-Mart said the project, called the "Chicago Community Investment Partnership,” will create approximately 12,000 jobs over the next five years, including 2,000 construction jobs and 10,000 store positions. The partnership will also generate an estimated $500 million-plus in sales and property taxes and develop charitable partnerships in Chicago worth $20 million to help eradicate hunger, curb youth violence and improve the quality of living for residents, Wal-Mart said.
"We want to deliver long-term solutions that benefit Chicago and its residents," said Hank Mullany, executive vice president and president of Walmart North, Walmart U.S. "We recognize our opportunity and responsibility to make a real difference here."