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New England used to fight Wal-Mart like it was the second War Between the States. Villages would rise up when the Arkansas retailer came snooping for land outside of town and fight the Southern invader tooth and nail. A little recession has changed folks’ minds about the discounting horde from Bentonville, reports the Boston Globe.
Wal-Mart is making a push into the northeast at a time when most other businesses are retrenching. And New Englanders have a new attitude about the company. “At a time of massive layoffs and store closings across the Commonwealth, cities, towns, and residents once dedicated to derailing anything Wal-Mart are rolling out the red carpet for the discounter,” reports Jenn Abelson. Communities are hunting for jobs and shoppers are scrounging for bargains, factors now working in Wal-Mart’s favor among the flinty New Englanders.
Losers in the trade will be traditional grocery stores. In five years, Abelson reports, Wal-Mart has “taken away about 3 percent of retail food sales in New England – or about $1 billion – from traditional stores.” The new stores Wal-Mart is opening are supercenters that contain full-service groceries that analysts say are priced 10 to 20 percent below competitors.