Last month Walmart pulled out of Somerville and Watertown, two cities outside of Boston, claiming it wasn’t economically feasible for the company to open markets in these areas. Here’s what Walmart spokesperson Steven Restivo told Boston.com: “One of the primary deciding factors on any given site – whether it’s in an urban, suburban or rural market – is that it makes sense from a business perspective and contributes to our bottom line.”
It’s hard to believe a company that has been around for 50 years didn’t foresee that these markets wouldn’t “make sense from a business perspective” before it announced plans to open them. Walmart knows what it takes to expand and survive, including hiring expensive lobbyists, handing out money to nonprofits and reducing its market size to avoid local planning requirements. I dug a little deeper and found that the real story is much more complicated than Walmart wants to let on.