Wal-Mart winning over Chicago

Wal-Mart winning over Chicago
Wal-Mart winning over Chicago

Wal-Mart's battle to breach big cities is actually beginning to bear fruit. The behemoth's years-long attempt to open stores in Chicago is finally progressing. Wal-Mart is moving ahead withplans to open dozens of new locations within the city limits. If the "Chicago Community Investment Partnership" is successful, it could open the door for stores in difficult-to-enter urban markets elsewhere.

Wal-Mart has been trying to open discount stores in Chicago for years, but has met with stiff opposition from unions, politicians and some residents. One store did open on the city's West side in 2006, but plans for additional locations have been blocked by the City Council as members stump for votes from their own wards at the expense of those where Wal-Mart would seem most welcome, such as areas where some of the poorest Chicago residents live that offer few or no retail properties.

Wal-Mart could bring much-needed jobs and services to these communities. There are no small retailers to put out of business and vast wastelands of empty space that could be added to the city's tax rolls. But that won't happen until Wal-Mart makes concessions -- and, with the latest plan, it appears as if the retail behemoth is closer to making them.

It's an ambitious plan. The "Chicago Community Investment Partnership" aims to open several dozen stores in the city over the next five years. The company offers up five ways in which the plan will benefit Chicago: