Our Harper’s Index-style look at Walmart’s impact on the environment and local economies. Continue reading
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The world’s biggest retailer has gotten lots of great press since it launched its sustainability campaign six years ago, but in many key areas it hasn’t actually gotten greener. It’s pumping out more CO2, paving over more land, and selling more flimsy products than ever before. In this Grist special series, ILSR’s Stacy Mitchell takes a hard look at Walmart’s real environmental impact. Continue reading
Handing out multimillion-dollar subsidies to large chains has become commonplace in much of the country. But when governments use public money to woo national chains, economic growth and job creation are negligible, and independent retailers suffer, Stacy Mitchell argues in this commentary for Business Week.
In September 2011, the California Legislature pased a bill requiring cities and counties to have an economic impact analysis prepared before deciding whether to approve an application to develop a large superstore. The legislation defines a superstore as a retail store of at least 90,000 square feet that devotes 10 percent or more of its space to groceries. The law lists a range of impacts that the study must assess and quantify. Continue reading
This white paper examines the growth of internet retailing, Amazon’s increasing share of this market, and the rise of free-riding as consumers browse and ask questions in brick-and-mortar stores and then buy online. The paper presents several recommendations for manufacturers, retailers, and policy-makers. Continue reading
The results of a new study suggest that the key to reversing the long-term trend of stagnating incomes in the U.S. lies in nurturing small, locally owned businesses and limiting further expansion and market consolidation by large corporations. Continue reading
I winced yesterday when James Gavin, chair of the Partnership for a Healthier America, said he’d like to see Walmart double its U.S. store count. He was speaking at Michelle Obama’s event announcing that several retailers will open stores in “food deserts.” It was a sort of half-jokey remark, but, still, in a conversation about food in America, the suggestion that Walmart should have an even bigger role in our food system is pretty disturbing. This is a company that already captures 25 percent of grocery sales nationally and more than 50 percent in some metro areas. Continue reading
In what may well be the tipping point in a decade-long fight to level the playing field for local brick-and-mortar businesses, California this week enacted a law requiring Amazon and other large online retailers to collect state sales tax. Continue reading
California’s new sales tax fairness law, which was signed into law by the governor on June 29, 2011, has two parts. The first is similar to laws enacted in half a dozen other states. It requires online retailers that have more than $500,000 in annual revenue from California customers and that use in-state sales affiliates to collect sales taxes. A second provision of the law mandates that retailers that have subsidiaries or affiliated companies in California, as Amazon does, also must collect sales tax. Continue reading
After winning a high-stakes standoff against Amazon last year, publishers are now setting the prices that retailers can charge for their e-books.
At first blush, one might assume that such price-fixing would result in higher prices. But the evidence from more than a dozen European countries, where laws have long prohibited selling both print and electronic books below a set price, clearly shows that publisher-mandated pricing saves consumers money. It also fosters a more lively and competitive book industry, with far more books published and many more independent bookstores open than in countries where big retailers control pricing. Continue reading