In my work with communities in California, I hear anecdotally that local governments often experience a lift in revenues when a Walmart store locates in their jurisdiction.
For example, the Mayor of La Quinta said: "La Quinta’s Walmart Supercenter has had a positive economic impact and provided job opportunities to the members of our community.”
I also hear from small businesses that they prefer to locate near a Walmart store in order to take advantage of the customer foot traffic we generate.
The President of the El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce confirms: “The facts are clear – when Walmart enters a city, other businesses follow. This co-location is beneficial to residents and to cities. It’s beneficial for local policymakers and those vested in improving the economic stability in cities to be able to see concrete data demonstrate the real impact a Walmart can have in our region.”
Being able to quantify these anecdotes and actually put some numbers behind the stories we hear is the great thing about the California Economic Opportunity Report. This report, released in January 2014, takes publicly-available data from the California Board of Equalization to show that communities win with the presence of a Walmart Supercenter.
The data, studied during the period of time from 2003 – 2011, show that on average California communities with Walmart Supercenters experience positive gains in taxable retail sales, especially when compared to similar-sized California communities without Walmart Supercenters.
Positive gains in taxable retail sales are not the only the benefit Walmart brings to a community. On average Walmart Supercenters also spur an increase in the average number of retail business permits.
The study also discovered that similar-sized communities in both northern and southern California without Walmart Supercenters either experienced a decline in average taxable retail sales or fell short when compared to a similar-sized community with a Walmart Supercenter. And in some cases, both occurred.
In spite of the negative impacts of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, verifiable facts confirm that the presence of Walmart Supercenters across California create economic opportunity – spurring new business growth and increasing local revenue.
The best thing is that all of these numbers are available through the state of California and anyone is able to pull the data to verify the information.