Wal-Mart adds Michigan stores
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to open seven new or expanded stores in the state in the next three months on top of three already opened this year, the retailer announced Monday.
That makes price-chopping Wal-Mart one of the few national retailers taking a chance on Michigan as the economy has worsened. Its main competitor here, Grand Rapids-based Meijer, also continues to expand in the state.
The new Wal-Mart stores and expansions will create 1,500 jobs, said Nick Infante, Midwest director for the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer. The company employs more than 33,000 people in the state. It also spent $4.2 billion with 1,385 suppliers in Michigan in fiscal year 2009.
Wal-Mart has opened new stores this year in Sault Ste. Marie and Hartland and expanded the Fenton store.
New stores opening in September are in Saline and Monroe with an expansion in Canton, Infante said. October openings of expanded stores are in Woodhaven, Belleville and Traverse City. A new Clinton Township store is to open in November.
“It’s definitely one of the strongest years,” Infante said about the aggressive store opening schedule. “We still believe in the state and our customers.”
Wal-Mart also plans three new stores for 2010 in White Lake Township, Livonia and Canton Township.
Meijer spokesman Frank Guglielmi said the chain also plans to create 1,500 jobs as it opens four stores in the next year in Hartland, Rochester Hills, Petoskey and Grand Rapids.
Wal-Mart now operates 112 stores in Michigan including 68 supercenters. Meijer operates 100 stores in the state and all are supercenters, which sell food and general merchandise.
Jeff Green, president and CEO of Jeff Green Partners in Mill Valley, Calif., does market research for retailers. He said the continued growth of Wal-Mart and Meijer in Michigan is heartwarming since so many retailers will say no to the state without realizing the opportunity they are rejecting.
Guglielmi said Meijer also is expanding its distribution center in Newport, adding 190 jobs and investing $27 million.