WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Walmart today announced its commitment to serve Washington, D.C. residents beginning with a two-year plan to create 1,200 jobs and improve customer access to fresh, affordable groceries in Washington D.C. Initial sites are in Wards 4, 5, 6 and 7. The new plan, which also will support workforce development initiatives and stimulate local economic development, includes several key components:
- Open multiple stores across the District of varying size and format;
- Create approximately 1,200 new jobs and 400 construction jobs, helping to offset D.C.'s 9.8% unemployment rate;
- Expand access to affordable, healthy food, including underserved areas east of the Anacostia River;
- Generate an estimated $10 million in tax revenue for the District;
- Provide a competitive wage equal to or better than those offered by competitors, including unionized grocers.
- Develop charitable partnerships in D.C., particularly in the areas of hunger and workforce development
According to a new poll, 73 percent of D.C. residents say they are "in favor" of Walmart coming to D.C. and locating one or more stores. At the same time, Walmart says that it now employs more than 600 residents and last year saw Washingtonians spend more than $41 million at its stores outside the District.
"D.C. residents want more convenient access to quality jobs and affordable groceries," said Henry Jordan, Senior Vice President, Walmart U.S. "We want to be part of the solution and look forward to building even more support for what our brand can deliver."
The new stores – all scheduled to open in late 2012 - will offer customers a full grocery selection, including fresh produce, a bakery, delicatessen and organic food items as well as a full service pharmacy and a wide variety of general merchandise. The size of each store will be between 80,000 and 120,000 square feet and the locations are: 801 New Jersey Avenue NW; Georgia and Missouri Avenue NW; Capitol Heights (East Capitol Street and 58th); and New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road.
According to Jordan, the company is evaluating additional small, medium and large sites across the entire District, including underserved areas east of the Anacostia River.
"I have met with Walmart to discuss ways to create jobs and bring our residents more retail and fresh food, especially in Ward 5," said Councilmember Harry "Tommy" Thomas, Jr. "I asked them to survey our residents who live here and based on the strong support that already exists I am working closely with them to ensure that D.C. benefits and our Ward 5 communities prosper."
New data shows that Washingtonians want Walmart in the city. As a result, the retailer accelerated efforts to bring new jobs and more affordable grocery options to the District and launched a new community website (www.walmartwashingtondc.com) to educate customers about how they can be an advocate for the company.
"D.C. residents are going to great lengths to shop and work at Walmart," added Jordan. "They clearly want access to the jobs and savings our stores provide. As we accelerate efforts to meet customer demand, we will continue to listen to elected officials, stakeholders, customers, business associations and Advisory Neighborhood Commissions as we work together towards solutions for D.C."
The survey, conducted by Lester & Associates and commissioned by Walmart, shows some of the strongest backing coming from Ward 4 (67 percent), Ward 5 (79 percent), Ward 6 (67 percent), Ward 7 (91 percent) and Ward 8 (95 percent). What's more, by almost a 2 to 1 margin (61% to 33%), D.C. residents favor Walmart coming to the District due in part to the fact that they will create jobs. The poll was conducted from November 7 to November 9 and surveyed 800 Washington D.C. residents. It has a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percent, with oversampling in wards 4, 5, 6 and 7.
"By more than a 3 to 1 margin, D.C. residents support Walmart coming to D.C. and building 'one or more stores,'" said Ron Lester. "The potential to provide new jobs for D.C. residents combined with a strong need for fresh, quality food and the variety of products Walmart offers-- combine to create strong support for Walmart in D.C."
Walmart plans to open local hiring centers and will announce details soon. Positions will include pharmacists, human resource managers, customer service associates, cashiers and sales associates. These jobs will offer a competitive wage, affordable benefits and the chance to build a career. Walmart's average hourly wage in the Washington D.C. region is $12.49/hour.
"As our city charts a course under new leadership, we have a responsibility to address challenges that have long-challenged the District like unemployment and food deserts," said Barbara Lang, President, DC Chamber of Commerce. "Walmart's willingness to invest in D.C. has the potential to lift up underserved areas of our city and level the playing field for all Washingtonians."
As part of Walmart's investment in D.C., the retailer also plans to significantly broaden its commitment to supporting local organizations, particularly in the critical areas of workforce development and education.
It is essential for Washington, DC to be competitive in the marketplace and that requires that we have a skilled and trained workforce ready to meet the needs of employers and potential employers. In this environment, we must invest in our residents by providing opportunities such as those presented by Walmart. The Community College of DC and Walmart will work together towards advancing individual and the community's economic, social and educational goals, and we are pleased to have Walmart continuing their investment in Washington," said Dr. Jonathan Gueverra, CEO, Community College of DC.
Last year alone, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation contributed more than $2.2 million in cash and in-kind gifts to D.C.-based non-profit organizations including Martha's Table, D.C. Central Kitchen, Rachael's Women's Center, Latino Economic Development Corporation, Capital Area Food Bank, Center for Inspired Teaching and many others.
Walmart (NYSE: WMT) serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at more than 8,400 retail units under 55 different banners in 15 countries. With fiscal year 2010 sales of $405 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. A leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity, Walmart ranked first among retailers in Fortune magazine's 2010 Most Admired Companies survey. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com and www.samsclub.com.