Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, September 11, 2006

Debunking the Wal-Mart Myths #11: Wal-Mart Is a Business “Predator”

Wal-Mart Myth #11 debunked by Steven Peterson, U of I Research Economist, at the Moscow Chamber of Commerce luncheon on August 23, 2006.

Charge #11: Wal-Mart is a business “predator”.

  • Wal-Mart has approximately 18% of the retail sales market in Moscow and approximately 16% of the market in Latah County, considerably less than the general public perception.

  • Potential competition to Moscow’s Wal-Mart comes in two forms:

  • Large retailers from Lewiston to the south, Spokane to the north, and Pullman to the west: Shopko in Pullman, Washington; Costco in Clarkston, Washington; Shopko in Lewiston, Idaho; Wal-Mart in Lewiston, Idaho; and Kmart in Lewiston.

  • Moscow’s Wal-Mart faces potential product-line competition from every conceivable good and service in Moscow, Pullman, Lewiston Valley, and Spokane. If Wal-Mart attempted to raise prices in any particular product category, it would face robust competition.

  • There are over 561 retail firms in the Quad-County region, for example. There is a local robust offering of clothing stores (42), electronic and appliance firms (30), building and garden supply firms (61), sporting stores (43), food and beverage stores (63), motor vehicle sales and parts firms (85), and many other firms.

  • On the resource side of the market Wal-Mart employs about 2.5% of the total covered jobs in Latah County or 10.3% of Latah County covered retail trade sector jobs.

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