Walmart announces major expansion plan for Chicago

Chicago Walmart announced Monday that it will work with the city of Chicago to build several dozen stores during the next five years that will create approximately 12,000 jobs as part of a long-term initiative called the "Chicago Community Investment Partnership.”

The announcement comes ahead of a key vote Thursday on a South Side Walmart store that would be the second Walmart allowed within city limits. Walmart expansion has been stalled for years in Chicago over wage disputes between the retailer and the city’s powerful unions. Mayor Richard Daley has said it is the right time to allow the chain to expand, citing the jobs added tax revenues the new stores would create.

The new plan centers on dramatically increasing store growth to help eradicate what Walmart calls “food deserts” and stimulate local economic development. The chain said it will open multiple stores of varying size and format across Chicago, creating approximately 10,000 associate positions and 2,000 unionized construction jobs in the process.

“We want to deliver long-term solutions that benefit Chicago and its residents," said Hank Mullany, executive VP and president Walmart North, Walmart U.S. "While our goals are dependent on our ability to site and build stores in a timely fashion, we remain confident that we can make a real difference to Chicagoans in need of a job and those who seek more convenient access to fresh, affordable food, especially those living in the City's underserved communities."

Walmart said the stores will generate more than $500 million in sales and property taxes, providing a much-needed revenue boost to a wide range of city and county services.

As part of the initiative, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation plan to commit $20 million during the next five years to  develop charitable partnerships in Chicago, including an annual donation of 1.2 million meals to Chicago residents and 200,000 meals for children this summer.

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