Walmart strikes again

When small towns fight to keep Walmart out and they fail, the inevitable happens, the small businesses that have been there for decades, eventually close down. Walmart can and does undercut these small businesses and these small businesses end up at some point closing down after decades of being in operation.

Case in point: A 44-year-old grocery store in North Carolina saw a 30% sales drop immediately when a nearby Walmart opened a couple of years ago, according to a Bloomberg News story. Whenever the mom-and-pop supermarket cut prices, Walmart would match or undercut them. The store finally succumbed to the inevitable last October, closing up entirely. every turn. The simply can’t stay open and this is true across the nation.

This scenario is bad enough, but what happens when WalMart has to shut down in rural cities. Now, this does not happen every day but Walmart announced last week they are closing down 269 stores, including 100 Express stores. Now, this creates a problem for the rural communities because they no longer have a grocery store but the Pharmacy inside the stores is gone as well. So many of these rural communities have a large population of elderly citizens and for them, the nearest grocery of pharmacy could be at least 50 miles away.

“They ruined our lives,” Renee Ireland Smith, who ran the Town’n Country supermarket in North Carolina referenced above, said of Walmart. “They came in here with their experiment and ruined us.” And then Walmart goes on its merry creating more havoc by either moving in or out.

It’s not just a local grocery store that was ruined, however. Walmart’s decision to storm into rural areas and destroy the competition before abruptly pulling up shop has arguably decimated entire towns. This is totally what Walmart did to the community who made Rubbermaid, they offered Rubbermaid such a low price that there was no way Rubbermaid could agree and stay in business so Walmart cuts them off at the knees and now the entire small town that was employed by Rubbermaid is no more. And the machinery was auctioned off to the Japanese for pennies on the dollar. Walmart has done this over and over again. This story appeared on Frontline in 2004.

To add insult to injury, some of these towns had actually tried to block Walmart from opening in the first place. With these case studies now firmly in the books as failures, this may sway towns from opening their gates to the “Rollbacks.” If they press hard enough and understand what will happen if Walmart hits town, this may eliminate some of the tragedy Walmart seems to spread around so freely and not give it a second thought.

This is the reason I am all about Amazon rolling all over Walmart. I hope they do. Everything goes into turmoil when Walmart hits town. They do their damage and then just abruptly walk out, leaving destruction behind for the communities to try to rebuild again.

According to a poll recently taken, one our of every four dollars goes to Walmart across the country. This is more than the combination of the top five grocery stores in the country. Grocery delivery is available in 50 percent of the country, and grocery pick up will be available in 3100 stores, by the end of the year, reaching 80 percent of American households.

The Institute for Local Self Reliance stated Walmart’s quest for grocery dominance has gone too far. With its low prices and large corporate presence, Walmart has created a grocery monopoly that makes it difficult for small businesses and independent grocers to compete, the organization argues. According to its report, the company’s national command of the grocery market allows it to manipulate food producers and to keep more profit for itself. Of course, this is also about traditional grocers who do not want to go to rural communities so Walmart does and then pulls out leaving the small rural communities stranded, as we discussed.

There is a three-part fix to the Walmart monopoly, according to ILSR. First, the group calls on the government to enforce antitrust laws and promote competition. The report also suggests the Federal Trade Commission review Walmart’s market share and require the retailer to sell stores. Finally, ILSR writes that policymakers should make it easier for local entrepreneurs to access loans and funding. One would think that Walmart is out there and it is no secret about their monopolizing the grocery industry, didn’t it cross everyone’s mind, someone’s mind to force antitrust laws down their throat. What is the hold up on that? And FTC always being on the ball and watching out for the consumer, let’s complete our study of Walmart and force them to sell off some of their holdings.

Thank goodness for those who do not shop there and continue shopping elsewhere. The smaller grocery stores are struggling and most will not make it, but with everything there are exceptions. There is some good news for smaller chains who are at least thriving and even able to open up other stores. This is a great country where one is able to go make their dreams come true with a lot of hard work and perseverance, just forget about the grocery business for now.