I don’t have any data or studies, just Facts from Main Street USA (Specifically Redmond, OR).
Over my 53 years living in various states, and various types of areas I’ve watched this pattern of corporate fascisim repeat itself over and over.
10 years ago in our area we had a smallish Walmart which sold “traditional” Walmart fare: clothing, toys, small appliances, garden center.
We also had a plethora of small to medium businesses including Grocery (6 like Albertsons, including 3 local companies serving their neighborhoods), and Hardware (3… all local companies).
We had a Fred Myer superstore open here about 8 years ago and lost one local grocer, and one hardware store… Fred Myers uses very similar tactics to Starbucks, and Walmart, though not quite as virulent, or as agressively anticompetitive under the Sherman Act.
Then in 2010 the Super Walmart opened.
Initially their prices were VERY low across the board. In fact they were so low that they were often below cost for our existing local stores. They may have been making a profit but it had to be minimal… pennies on the dollar.
Legally under the completely ignored Sherman Antitrust Act, they should have been prosecuted as a Predatory Pricing Scheme; especially since Mall Wart often uses exclusivity agreements with their suppliers.
They quite literally drove our local stores out of business by making most of their products loss leaders for a year or two.
Now we have zero local grocery stores (the one holdout… a Rays Food Place closed last year) and zero local hardware stores.. the hold out was Pini Ace Hardware.
Interesting side note: when the last local grocer closed, Walmart food prices went up by some 15% the very next week, AND the “quality” of their produce dropped off pretty dramatically over the next 90 days… where my neighbors had gotten no rotten onions in a bag, suddenly they were getting 2-3 rotten ones out of 12 or so. When the last local Hardware store closed, their prices on crap tools and hardware went up almost 20% over the next month. I know this because of hearing complaints from my neighbors. I won’t shop there so long at all as I have ANY accessible option.
Worse yet, all of those 200 or so folks employed by those 9 businesses (who had decent wages and benefits BTW) are either moved away, unemployed, or underemployed, working for Walmart at minimum wage and 1/2 time with zero benefits… and/or are eligible for State Aid.
Its often said that a Walmart store costs the local community and State $500k per year in State, and Local Aid. As I don’t have access to the costs of the welfare rolls, over time, for our area (tried and denied), I can’t prove it.
I would posit that when we look at the ripple effects of throwing hundreds of someones from a decent wage 35-40 hour jobs with benefits to a minimum wage zero benefit job, and what that does to their spending, and the contraction that loss of spending causes for the other local businesses, the actual costs of a Walmart store might well exceed $2 Million per year to the Community. And Republicans claim to be “against welfare”! Bull! They’re absolutely FOR corporate welfare by their actions, and against welfare for those who gain the least from our society.
Now; if I want to keep my money being used within 1000 miles of here, I have to drive 30 miles to Bend, or 35 miles to Madras.
I would note that I’ve seen this pattern dozens of times in my life; most notably with Starbucks in the late 90s and early 2000s… Opening a store close to a competitor, lowering retail prices to cost or less for a while, then when the competitor/s go under (because they don’t have the ability to operate at a loss over an extended period, or can’t get decent costs due to exclusivity contracts) the prices go back UP TO 10% OR 20% ABOVE WHERE THEY WERE ORIGINALLY.
Side note: These tactics used to be illegal, and were called “Predatory Pricing.” Those laws were (conveniently and oh so quietly) removed by Reagan and Bush Sr. (Thanks for nothing guys!)
For this reason I flat refuse to shop at national chains, since the 1990s, any time I have an accessable option. The sole exception to this is Costco which has a long history of practicing enlightened self interest in their pay structures.
That these practices are permitted and ignored by our government starts a death spiral in the local economy. Those 200 some odd jobs lost mean less money gets spent at all the businesses which support those families and provide the services they need.
Here’s who loses when a Wal Mart moves in and “replaces” decent jobs with part time minimum wage jobs in the name of “efficiency”* :
Food jobbers (companies which buy from the farmers and distribute to local stores)
Specialty grocers (esp. Ethnic)
Local building supply
Real estate agents
State Tax rolls (these corporate fascists often strong arm discounts, or complete evasion of property taxes, under the myth that they’re bringing jobs, when what they actually do is destroy decent jobs and “replace” them with part time minimum wage jobs).
* “effiency” in this usage is a Newspeak word for “hoovering the spare cash out of the pockets of the middle class in the name of corporate profits.”
All in all, with the lost wages to those families, the lost spending, the lost tax revenue, the increased welfare costs, and the other businesses harmed by the ripples of lost local spending from all of this… We get screwed over by these multinational corporations to the tune of at least a million dollars per store.
Now… in and around a major metro area this isn’t such a huge deal, but when you impose that kind of losses on a community of 200,000 spread over 30 square miles that’s massively destructive no matter how you “justify” it.
Please don’t feed these trolls!