United States

DC Leaders Furious After Wal-Mart Drops Plans for 2 DC Stores Amid Closing of 269 Stores Worldwide

Wal-Mart has informed D.C. officials that it's abandoned plans to construct two additional stores in the District -- and city leaders are furious.

The news came just hours after the retail giant announced Friday morning that it will close 269 stores worldwide, including 154 in the United States.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said she's "blood mad" over the dropped plans for stores at Skyland Town Center and Capitol Gateway, both in Northeast D.C. east of the Anacostia River.

Both areas are desperate for retail. Then-Mayor Vincent Gray had gotten Wal-Mart to agree to the Skyland location as a condition for building its other D.C. stores.

Neither location had broken ground, but old stores had already been cleared at the Skyland shopping center.

Gray, who vetoed a law raising the minimum wage to $12.50 per hour because Wal-Mart threatened to threatened to pull out if it became law, says the residents of Ward 7 are getting shafted.

"We're dismayed by Wal-Mart's actions," said D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine. "The residents of the District of Columbia -- and particularly the residents of Wards 7 and 8 -- have long expected that Wal-Mart would follow through on its commitment to locate stores at Skyland and Capitol Gateway."

Racine said his office is reviewing the situation and partnering with Bowser and the D.C. Council "to explore all available options."

D.C. Council member Vincent Orange said the district should sue Wal-Mart for backing out of the Skyland location.

Wal-Mart has opened three stores in the District in recent years, at 99 H St. NW, 5929 Georgia Ave. NW and in the Fort Totten area.

Early Friday afternoon, the retailer released a list of the locations it plans to close and said all three of the existing D.C. stores will stay open.

No stores in Virginia are closing, but one store in Baltimore will be shutting its doors. 

Wal-Mart released a statement Friday saying, "As part of a broad, strategic review of our existing portfolio and pipeline, we've concluded opening two additional stores in Washington, DC is not viable at this time. Our experience over the last three years operating our current stores in DC has given us a fuller view on building and operating stores in the District. This decision will not affect our three existing stores and we look forward to continue serving these customers in the future."

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