(Crain’s) — The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce will not take a stance on Walmart’s potential entry into the city after a poll revealed a split between members favoring the nation’s largest retailer and those opposing it. The Chamber asked members—most of them small-business owners—one question: Are you in favor of Walmart opening a store in New York City? Among the more than 300 respondents, 53% favored the retailer coming to town, and 47% opposed its arrival.
“We see both sides of the coin,” said Nancy Ploeger, president of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. “It’s not clear one way of the other, so we’re not taking a position.” Ms. Ploeger said the pro-Walmart responses included comments that the retailer should be allowed to open shop where it chooses and that it would create healthy competition, offer low prices, create jobs and expand the city’s tax base. The anti-Walmart comments focused on the company’s labor practices, its impact on small businesses and its reliance on goods produced in China, she added.