While the nation's largest retailer Walmart considers opening a store in New York City, the city council has decided to take a closer look at the retailer.
On December 14, the council will hold a hearing entitled "When Walmart Comes to Town" to examine the company's impact on small businsses and local communities.
Wal-Mart has explored opening stores in urban areas with smaller format stores as it has slowed its growth of superstores in the suburbs and in rural areas. But it has faced stiff opposition from organized labor and elected officials when it has tried to expand into cities. It took several years and extensive negotiations before the company opened a single store in Chicago.
In New York City, opposition could come from organized labor as well as city council members. The mayor has previously expressed support for the retailer.
Steven Restivo, a spokesman for Wal-Mart, said the company will provide information to city lawmakers "to help inform the discussion." At the same time, he said Walmart found the hearing "curious," as "it seems to ignore the fact that the city is currently home to hundreds of stores that are similar to Wal-Mart" and the retailer currently has no store in the city nor has announced a specific project.