Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Attention Ken Vogel

Ken Vogel, the owner of Ken Vogel Clothing, has been one of the most oft-quoted opponents of the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pullman.

I wonder if Ken would be surprised to learn that recent statistics show that his business is threatened very little by Wal-Mart. According to this CNN/Money article, only 34% of Wal-Mart's 100 million weekly customers purchase clothing there. Target, on average, charges 14% more than Wal-Mart for clothes, but its most recent quarterly profits jumped 50% due to apparel sales. Seems people are willing to pay more for name brand items.

Yet again, the hysteria-inducing myths of PARD are exposed by the light of cold, hard facts. As much as they try to spin Wal-Mart as a "mall" that sells everything from soup to nuts and destroys all local business, very few people actually do ALL their shopping at Wal-Mart. It certainly is nice to have that option, especially if you are pressed for time, but Pullman consumers know the real story. How many of us have ventured over to Moscow to shop at Wal-Mart, and then end up at Hastings to browse the books and movies, Office Depot to shop for school supplies, and then over to the Palouse Mall for clothes and shoes? Probably while we're there, we'll stop at Applebees or Lefty's to grab lunch or dinner.

The only thing Pullman merchants are asking is to have an equal chance of getting those customers to shop at their stores instead of over in Moscow. Does anyone recall much opposition to Wal-Mart from ShopKo? Right. ShopKo stands to benefit greatly from the presence of Wal-Mart, as do all businesses in Pullman, especially since Pullman is growing faster than the state and national average. Apparently Schuck's Auto Supply feels that way. They just opened a new store in the Wheatland Mall, right in Wal-Mart's front yard. There is room for everyone in our severely underretailed market.

1 comment:

Dale Courtney said...

Of course, the flip-side of this argument goes like this: "if you cannot compete, pass laws that handicap your competition".

Then guess who wins and loses...