Walmart Abandons Two High-Profile Projects in Massachusetts
Posted on June 18, 2012 by jway
Last week, the Boston Globe reported big news for the Boston metro area: Walmart announced that it was pulling out of projects in Somerville and Watertown.
The world’s largest retailer had not yet submitted formal proposals in either city, but it had wanted to build a Neighborhood Market in Somerville, and a 90,000 square foot Supercenter in Watertown.
Walmart spokesperson Steve Restivo cited profitability as company’s reason for abandoning the projects. However, both stores had been met with strong opposition, especially in Watertown, where groups like Sustainable Watertown staged protests against the company.
Despite Walmart’s claims that opposition was not a consideration in its decision to abandon the projects, council president Mark S. Sideris is among those who believe otherwise. “There are a number of ‘No Walmart, No Big Boxes’ signs on people’s lawns at this point,” Sideris told the Globe. “The movement was growing.”
Much of the local movement has been driven by Watertown’s business community. In May, a group of local real estate professionals drafted a letter to the Watertown Patch saying a Walmart store would harm small businesses and diminish home values.
This announcement comes at a particularly bad time for the company as it struggles to recover from a string of bad PR, including the ongoing fall-out of the Mexico bribery scandal and reports of Walmart using consultants to infiltrate worker groups.
This post was written by Kurt Scott.