Wal-Mart loses, other big boxes grumble

The final tally in Inglewood: 4,575 for Wal-Mart 7,049 against. By the way, look what else is coming: State Democratic legislators have introduced bills that would force Wal-Mart to provide health insurance to a wider number of employees and pay for expensive economic studies before it could build stores. In Los Angeles, officials are drafting an ordinance that would effectively ban such stores from the city. And why are other big boxes grumbling? Not sympathy for Wal-Mart, of course. Retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s say they’re being hurt by Wal-Mart inspired zoning ordinances that place a 100,000 square foot limit on stores: The average Lowe’s is 116,000 square feet: “Home improvement retailers like Lowe’s have large bulky merchandise in our stores and we carry big quantities of these products, as many as 40,000 products,” said Chris Ahearn, spokeswoman for Lowe’s. Home Depot’s average size is 108,000 square feet: “With the type of merchandise that we sell, smaller stores hold less of our inventory. So we’re forced to make more frequent deliveries to replenish smaller stores,” according to a Home Depot spokesman who didn’t want to be identified. I suppose they could always just re-stock less often, sell less stuff and hire fewer employees.