FEEDBACK

Big-Box Stores

September 10, 2004 • Volume 14, Issue 31
Are they good for America?
By Brian Hansen

Introduction

Worried about competition from non-union Wal-Mart, Los Angeles-area supermarket companies tried to cut union benefits last year. Workers struck for five months but were only partially successful.  (AFP Photo/Robyn Beck)
Worried about competition from non-union Wal-Mart, Los Angeles-area supermarket companies tried to cut union benefits last year. Workers struck for five months but were only partially successful. (AFP Photo/Robyn Beck)

America is teeming with Wal-Marts, Home Depots and other “big-box” chain stores — some larger than five football fields. Millions of consumers like the low prices, free parking and one-stop shopping convenience offered by the megastores, while policymakers say the stores create jobs, enable customers to save money for other expenditures and pump much-needed tax dollars into community coffers. But critics say big-box stores actually harm local economies and flourish only because they receive public subsidies, pay low salaries and benefits and utilize unethical and possibly illegal practices to drive smaller, locally owned competitors out of business. Critics also say they cause added traffic congestion and suburban sprawl, force U.S. companies to ship high-paying manufacturing jobs overseas and cost more in local services than the taxes they generate. Communities increasingly are passing special ordinances to keep the big retailers out, but the chains are fighting back, saying they are simply giving consumers what they want.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Chain Stores
Sep. 10, 2004  Big-Box Stores
Mar. 22, 1938  Equalization of Chain Store Competition
Aug. 28, 1934  Taxation of Chain Stores
Apr. 24, 1930  The Chain Store Problem in 1930
May 21, 1928  Development of Chain Store Merchandising
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Economic Development
Land Resources and Property Rights
FEEDBACK

Your Email Address

Subject

Provide Feedback

Suggest a topic here.

Type the characters you see below into the box

Take our survey to help us improve CQ Researcher!