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Monday, Jun 5, 2023

Wal-Mart Means Value and Good Jobs

Despite a recent court ruling delaying our proposed store in Burbank, Wal-Mart remains dedicated to providing Los Angeles County residents with convenient access to affordable goods, fresh groceries and quality jobs with meaningful career opportunities.   Judging by the positive response to our recently added Neighborhood Markets in Downtown Los Angeles and throughout the surrounding area, many residents are welcoming what we offer into their communities with open arms. We have received thousands of applications at nearly every store we’ve opened in the last year, many from people who have a job but were looking for a better one with good benefits and know what Wal-Mart has to offer. Our Downtown L.A. grocery store served more than 10,000 customers in its first few days alone – customers who know we offer great products at the best prices so they can spend their money on what they want, not just what they need. Wal-Mart is having a positive impact in communities throughout Los Angeles, allowing residents to avoid traveling long distances and spend less gas money for access to affordable merchandise and groceries – while keeping sales tax dollars in their municipality’s coffers. These stores are also sparking much-needed economic growth throughout the region, creating thousands of jobs with competitive wages and opportunities for career growth and advancement within our company.  In fact, our full-time average hourly wage in California is $13.03 – more than 62 percent above the state’s minimum wage – and we employ more than 81,000 statewide, the majority of whom are full-time. Moreover, nearly 75 percent of our store management teams here joined the company as hourly associates. In the last year alone, we received more than 15,000 applications for approximately 800 jobs in our new L.A. County stores. We believe our Burbank Supercenter project will have a similarly positive effect – reviving a dormant retail property, providing jobs and keeping more tax dollars in the city. The Burbank store would create hundreds of temporary contract construction jobs and ultimately employ around 300 in good jobs with meaningful career opportunities. Unfortunately, a small contingent of special interests is doing everything they can to prevent the Burbank community from enjoying these benefits. It is sad and a bit ironic that these opponents, who claim to be protecting their community and advocating for workers, would push so hard to prevent hundreds of good jobs and the corresponding economic growth from coming to their city. Perhaps it makes more sense when you understand that an attorney with a long record of opposing Wal-Mart – and who attempted to halt the opening of our stores in Torrance and Downtown L.A. – is helping lead these opponents. Fortunately, the efforts to halt those stores from opening ultimately failed, and now residents are enjoying the positive impact on their neighborhoods. The incredible customer response to our recent store openings in places like Torrance, West Covina, Downey, Panorama City, Hawthorne and others in the past year speaks for itself. We still firmly believe that the former Great Indoors location in Burbank is a good fit for Wal-Mart and that the city properly granted us the necessary permits – just like the more than 1,300 similar permits granted at the Empire Center plaza throughout the past 13 years. With that in mind, we will continue to evaluate our options to determine how we can best serve the Burbank community. In the meantime, we look forward to opening a new Neighborhood Market in Simi Valley in the coming months. The store will provide the community with about 65 good jobs and a convenient new option for fresh and healthy groceries. We want to thank the thousands of Burbank residents who have supported us over the past two years. We are optimistic about resolving this situation and soon becoming a good neighbor to the Burbank community. Rachel Wall is a senior manager of community affairs for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

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