business news in context, analysis with attitude

  • The Arizona Daily News reports that “close to one of every 10 Wal-Mart employees is getting health insurance paid for by Arizona taxpayers, according to figures obtained Friday from the state. The nearly 2,700 Wal-Mart workers represent about 1.9 percent of working people who are getting benefits from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System.”

    The paper notes that Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the state.

    According to state-generated statistics, Wal-Mart has 9.6% of its employees on public assistance, compared to Bashas' (5.3%), Kroger (5.3%), Albertsons: (2.3%), Home Depot (2.6%), Target (5.4%), Safeway (4.9%), and Walgreens (4.3%),

    A Wal-Mart spokesman questioned the accuracy of the numbers, saying that public assistance applicants could be lying about where they worked. A spokesman for the state’s Department of Economic Security, however, said that there was no incentive to lie about where one worked, since benefits are based on income, not where one works.

  • In Michigan, the Saginaw News reports that, contrary to many communities where residents are fighting against the building of a Wal-Mart, folks in Buena Vista Township are hoping to attract a Wal-Mart to town.

    In fact, they’re trying to attract a Wal-Mart planned for Frankenmuth, a town that bills itself as “little Bavaria” and where there has been a fair amount of resistance to a planned 105,000 square foot Wal-Mart.

    The News reports that a new “Wal-Mart could spark a retail resurgence and signal that retailers haven't given up on investing in the area.”

    Wal-Mart isn’t making any promises: "I can't say what we will do in the future," a spokesman said. "We could build, just not right now."

  • The Naples News reports that “three Supercenters, two discount stores and one wholesale Sam's Club in Collier County isn't enough for Wal-Mart,” which has acquired a closing Winn-Dixie store there and plans to replace it with one of its Neighborhood Market stores.

    It will be the first Neighborhood Market there, and will enter a market packed with competition: Publix, Albertsons, Fresh Market, Wild Oats, Costco and Delhaize’s Sweetbay Supermarket (as well as Kash n’ Karry stores being converted to the Sweetbay format).

KC's View:
With Wal-Mart bringing its Neighborhood Market to the area, you have to say that it reinforces the rightness of Delhaize’s decision to convert Kash n’ Karry to Sweetbay – it gives the company a definable and differentiated identity.