D.C.’s East Capitol Community Anticipating Big Change


D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and other city officials broke ground on the new Capitol Gateway Marketplace that will bring a Walmart Supercenter along with more than 300 affordable housing units. Watch video.

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New Study Confirms Walmart’s Washington, DC Locations Have Positive Economic Impact on City.

HR&A Advisors’ Economic Impact Study Results Prove Walmart Provides Jobs, Saves Families Money, and Contributes to Local Communities

Washington, D.C., March 5, 2015 – Walmart Supercenters in Washington, DC have been proven to economically benefit the city and its residents, according to a new economic impact report. The study was conducted by HR&A Advisors, Inc. and found that Walmart’s two current DC locations not only create jobs and save families in the District money, but also greatly contribute to the city’s charitable organizations working to better the lives of those in DC. Key findings include:

  • Major Job Generation: Walmart currently employs 700 people at their two open DC locations; 65% of those 700 associates are Washington, DC residents. 810 total jobs (direct employment by Walmart plus multiplier jobs) are supported by Walmart’s first two stores and the construction of all 3 locations (including Fort Totten which is currently under construction) will support a total of 680 (direct and multiplier) jobs over the construction period.
  • Saving DC Families Money: Walmart can save a DC family of four approximately $1,300 per year, 18% of the average DC household’s annual grocery store bill.
  • Increasing Access to Healthy Food: Each Walmart is located in a USDA identified food desert, where healthy food options make up less than 10% of local retail offerings. Grocery sales make up 41% of Walmart’s total sales.
  • Investing in the Community: Through 2014, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have awarded $14 million to more than 200 not-for-profit organizations in DC. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s charitable contributions have supported 185 jobs, $16.5 million in total compensation and $197,000 in tax revenue.


Additional economic benefits analyzed/found by HR&A Advisors include the fact that Walmart is helping to offset the retail spending that leaks out of Washington, DC. The District loses approximately $3 billion in retail spending each year to neighboring areas due to a lack of shopping opportunities within the city. The shortfall in spending is seen across all major Walmart merchandise categories. Walmart’s DC locations also generate approximately $6.4 million in annual tax revenues to the District of Columbia. That number is equivalent to salaries for nearly 120 teachers, refurbishments of 6 playgrounds or debt service on bonds for the construction of 6 new or significantly modernized community centers.




HR&A Advisors also found that Walmart enhances economic development in the neighborhoods in which the stores are located.  New housing and new retail establishments have opened within or adjacent to the two existing Walmarts, as the stores serve as development anchors and bring a range of businesses which co-locate around the stores.

“Having done studies across the country there are many varying degrees of impact and measurements for success,” said Candace Damon, Vice Chairman, HR&A Advisors, Inc. “Walmart’s impact on the District of Columbia has been significant to date and includes a myriad of benefits from job creation, both construction and store employment, tax revenue generation, charitable giving, serving as a neighborhood anchor and cost savings to residents. Our expectation is that as Walmart’s presence in DC grows, so will the positive impact that it will have on the community.”

“Our goal when opening stores in Washington, DC was to contribute to the community through creating jobs, improving access to healthy and affordable groceries, and investing in local not-for-profits that are making a difference,” said Nina Albert, Director of Community Affairs, Walmart. “I think we have exceeded our expectations, as demonstrated by the results of HR&A’s study. We are very proud of the fact that we have made a positive impact in the city. We look forward to expanding our presence in DC and continuing to help to the region and its residents save money and live better.”

HR&A Advisors, Inc. is an industry-leading real estate, economic development and energy efficiency consulting firm. HR&A has provided strategic advisory services for some of the most complex mixed-use, neighborhood, downtown, campus, and regional development projects across North America and abroad for over thirty years. The firm began working with Walmart in June 2014 to conduct the economic impact study of their two DC stores.

Click the image below for the Executive Summary.


Click the image below to read the full study.




Proven to be Positively Impacting Our Nation’s Capital

By: HR&A Advisors, Inc.

Washington, DC has long lacked sufficient retail options for its diverse and growing base of residents. For years, District residents have had to travel to surrounding jurisdictions to shop for basic goods, costing the District lost sales taxes and undercutting the City’s efforts to support more vibrant, mixed-use neighborhoods. Unmet retail potential in Washington, DC is estimated at over $3 billion per year based on 2013 data. Walmart’s arrival in the Washington, DC market in late 2013 is stemming that negative trend.

HR&A’s recent economic impact report demonstrates that the Walmart Supercenters in Washington, DC economically benefit the District and its residents. Walmart’s two current locations create jobs and save families that shop at Walmart money.  Walmart also contributes generously to the city’s charitable organizations working to better the lives of those in DC.

We found that Walmart currently employs 700 people at its two open locations; of those 700 employees, 65% are DC residents. DC residents who shop at Walmart are also benefiting from savings in their annual grocery store bill. HR&A found that Walmart can save a DC family of four approximately $1,300 per year. In addition, Walmart is helping to increase access to healthy food; each Walmart in or planned for the District is located in a USDA-identified food desert where healthy food shopping options make up less than 10% of neighborhood retail offerings.

Additional findings include:

Walmart_Economic_InfographicClick the image to see more detail

See the full report >>

HR&A Advisors, Inc. is an industry-leading real estate, economic development and energy efficiency consulting firm. The firm has provided strategic advisory services for some of the most complex mixed-use, neighborhood, downtown, campus, and regional development projects across North America and abroad for over thirty years. The firm began working with Walmart in June 2014 to conduct the economic impact study of its two DC stores.


Wal-Mart’s first year in D.C., by the numbers

March 18, 2015 - Wal-Mart’s entry into the D.C. market was celebrated by its fans and condemned by its critics. A new report on Wal-Mart’s impact on the District’s economy will likely get the same reception.

HR&A Advisors Inc. was retained by Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) to review the retail giant’s economic impact after one year in operation in D.C. The findings are entirely positive in the area of jobs, tax revenue and consumer savings.

Wal-Mart opened its first two D.C. stores, one on H Street NW and another on Georgia Avenue, in December 2013. A third, in Fort Totten, will open later this year. Two additional stores are planned, one at Skyland Shopping Center and the other at Capitol Gateway, both in Ward 7.

“The reaction to our stores has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re pleased with the feedback we’ve received from our customers and the community,” said Amanda Henneberg, Wal-Mart spokeswoman. “We have thousands of customers shopping our stores in D.C. every day, and it’s clear that D.C. residents and customers in surrounding areas are responding to our convenient and affordable merchandise and fresh food.”

Let’s get to the results. The numbers come from HR&A, which, according to Damon, had unfettered access to Wal-Mart data.

  • Wal-Mart generated more than $6 million in taxes in 2014 for the District, though the study does not break down sales versus income versus property tax revenue, and Wal-Mart would not release that information, citing its proprietary nature.
  • Construction of the H Street, Georgia Avenue and Fort Totten stores supported 630 direct and multiplier jobs.
  • The two open stores employ more than 700 people, of which 65 percent are D.C. residents. According to the report, “A higher percentage of Walmart employees lives in the same ward as the store than is typical for all employment in the two wards with open stores.”
  • Wal-Mart was responsible for half of the retail job growth in D.C. in 2013.
  • Wal-Mart is “directly attributable” for more than 26,000 square feet of ancillary development and 300 new residential units.
  • In a comparison of a basket of “off-brand items,” only Aldi came in with lower prices than Wal-Mart — $54 for Aldi and $75 for Wal-Mart. Target was third, followed by Shoppers Food Warehouse, Giant, Safeway and Harris Teeter.
  • The annual cost of food for a D.C. household is $7,300. Wal-Mart off-brand items sell for 18 percent on average cheaper than most other chains, according to HR&A, so Wal-Mart can save a family of four about $1,300 a year.

“The results are positive because the results are positive,” Damon said. “Wal-Mart does save people money.”

For Wal-Mart’s critics, however, the anecdotal evidence is clear. Respect D.C. released a report in October that claimed “drastic drops in revenue” for small businesses along upper Georgia Avenue. Wal-Mart, it said, has had a “harmful impact” on the Brightwood community. Proprietors said revenue fell by 20 to 85 percent, the group reported, because of concessions to the world’s largest retailer and its low prices.

Walmart Economic Impact Study

Story originally published by Michael Neibauer, Washington Business Journal. Click here to view original story.


Walmart Employees To Get Raises

February 19, 2015 – by Hadley Malcolm, USA TODAY

After years of employee protests and outrage over meager pay, Walmart said Thursday that it will spend $1 billion this year to give raises to half a million workers.

About 500,000 full- and part-time associates at both Walmart and the company’s Sam’s Club warehouse stores will start making $9 an hour or more in April. The world’s largest retailer made the announcement Thursday as part of its fourth-quarter earnings report. That’s at least $1.75 more than the federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25. By February 2016, hourly employees will make at least $10 an hour after completing about six months of training.

CEO Doug McMillon said that the decision to hike wages was made as part of a strategy to retain employees and improve customer service.

“We want associates that care about the company and are highly engaged in our business and are leaning in,” he said. “Those feelings generate a customer experience that drives growth.”

Walmart shares closed down 3.21% in afternoon trading to $83.52.

Walmart employs more than 1.3 million people in the U.S. Of the 500,000 employees getting raises, approximately 6,000 currently make the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour, says spokesperson Kory Lundberg. The remaining 494,000 employees getting raises are either making between $7.25 and $9 an hour, or more than $9 an hour and are getting raises to meet new minimum or maximum pay grades for certain positions.

Full-time employees currently make an average of $12.85 an hour, and part-time employees make an average of $9.48, Lundberg says. Those averages will increase to $13 and $10 respectively under the new plan.

The announcement comes as Walmart has experienced declining store traffic for months and has lost some of its edge as a leader on price, as dollar stores, Amazon, Target and other rivals become more competitive.

Walmart has also been called out over the years by employees and advocacy groups for not paying employees enough to live on and employees having to seek welfare assistance. Protesters most recently flanked stores during the holiday season, particularly around Thanksgiving and Black Friday, to push for higher wages.

Anthony Rodriguez, a 26-year-old store associate in Rosemead, Calif., has participated in several protests as a member of OUR Walmart, a labor union-backed employee advocacy group. He currently makes $9.40 an hour after eight months with the company. He’ll make $10 an hour when the minimum wage goes up next February.

“It’s a great start,” he said about the wage increases. “I think Walmart is starting to realize that we will not stay quiet and we will keep pushing forward and they have to acknowledge that.”

The move could also ultimately lead to higher foot traffic and sales at Walmart, which hasn’t been able to sustain significant sales momentum since the recession, says Brian Yarbrough, analyst with Edward Jones. Same-store sales for the year ended Jan. 30 increased just 0.5%, compared with a 0.6% decline for the prior year.

“If you look at retailers that invest in their people and pay more … these businesses tend to have much more consistent and better sales trends,” Yarbrough says.

Yannet Lathrop, a policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project, says Walmart’s move is, “definitely a step in the right direction.” But she added, “It’s not enough to raise people above poverty,” noting that a $10 hourly wage provides a worker an annual salary of less than $21,000. “(Workers) will continue to struggle,” she says.

But Josh Bivens, director of research and policy for the Economic Policy Institute, called the bump in pay “a tangible raise,” noting that affected workers could receive an additional $2,000 a year.

He says the pay hike is likely to have a ripple effect on retailers who previously said boosting wages would make them less able to compete with Walmart on price. “At the very least, it takes away that excuse from other retailers,” he says.

In a statement to USA TODAY, Target said it already pays above federal minimum wage at all of its stores but would not provide specific figures. “We remain committed to offering market competitive wages that can help attract and retain great talent,” the company said.

Lathrop and Bivens largely attribute Walmart’s move to protests in recent years by OUR Walmart, which has called for a $15 hourly wage.

The wage rallies — along with similar demonstrations by fast-food workers across the country — have raised national awareness about the plight of low-paid employees and helped spark minimum wage increases in many states, Lathrop and Bivens say.

This year, 20 states have raised their pay floors, leaving 28 states above the federal minimum. Minimum pay is scheduled to rise in Alaska next week and in Delaware on June 1.

Walmart also announced a $100 million commitment over five years toward career training for entry-level workers. That includes a training program Walmart has been piloting to teach new employees skills such as communication, merchandising, customer service and the basic financials of retail, said Greg Foran, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. Walmart also recently made changes to its 401(k) retirement accounts, allowing employees to contribute from day one on the job instead of having to wait a year.

“There is a holistic approach to creating an environment where people want to work at Walmart and want to stay at Walmart,” McMillon said. “The wage market has always been competitive. We make adjustments like this to make sure we can attract and retain the talent we need.”

Story by Hadley Malcolm originally appeared in USA TODAY.


Community of Hope & Walmart Volunteers Bring Holiday Cheer to Families of Girard Street Apartments

On Tuesday, December 16, 2014, Community of Hope and Walmart volunteers invited families currently living in Girard Street

Community of Hope & Walmart Volunteers Bring Holiday Cheer to Families of Girard Street Apartments

Apartments, located in Washington DC, to a holiday celebration in one of the complex’s common areas. During the celebration, Walmart volunteers along with Community of Hope staff distributed gift cards provided by Walmart. Keeping in the holiday spirit, candy canes and holiday-themed cookies were passed out by staff and volunteers to residents while holiday music was being played in the background.



Want A Job With Bonuses, 401(k) Match, Health Insurance, And More? Work For Walmart


by: Jeffrey Dorfman – Contributor
originally posted on Forbes

December 11, 2014

Walmart is the employer that unions and many workers-rights advocates love to hate. Yet, when Walmart opens up new stores, they typically receive thousands of applicants competing for the few hundred jobs available. If Walmart is as horrible employer as often claimed, why do so many people want to work there? The answer is that the thousands who want to work at Walmart know more about working at Walmart than those continually protesting against it.

Many misconceptions about Walmart’s pay and benefits are based on data that people have inferred from partial information that is available publicly, not from a full and complete picture of their compensation package. (Full disclosure: I received funding from the National Retail Federation Foundation to study wages in the retail industry. As part of that study, I received data from Walmart on their pay practices. However, Walmart had no role in the writing of this column.)

Here are the facts about working at Walmart. The average hourly associate has a total compensation package of $14.50 per hour. Full-time hourly associates make an average of $12.94 per hour in wages. On top of the pay, hourly associates receive quarterly bonuses based on store performance that average $580 per year. Employees are eligible for health insurance and, if they choose to sign up for it, Walmart pays 75 percent of the premium cost.

Hourly associates all can contribute to a 401(k) retirement plan and Walmart matches employee contributions for the first 6 percent of each employee’s pay. Employees can also buy company stock and Walmart will match those purchases with shares equal to 15 percent of those purchased by the employees. Finally, employees all receive an employee discount of 10 percent off on purchases at Walmart.

All of these benefits together can add up to the equivalent of $4.50 per hour, meaning that an average full-time hourly associate could have total compensation of about $17.40 per hour or about $35,000 per year.

In addition to these figures, it is worth noting that annual raises for hourly associates have averaged more than 3 percent per year over the past eight years which includes the recent recession when raises for most workers have been few and far between. About 160,000 associates get promoted each year with 7,000 hourly associates entering management ranks annually. More than three-quarters of all Walmart store managers started as hourly associates.

Does all this make Walmart a worker’s paradise? That depends on how much you are making in your current job (if you have one) and what benefits come with that current job position. A significant number of workers make less than $15 per hour in total compensation, so there are lots of people who would see Walmart’s pay package as a step up. The enormous number of applications Walmart receives for each new store opening seems to indicate that is true: lots of people want to work at Walmart.

Given all this, why are so many people so deeply invested in fighting Walmart store openings and complaining about their pay policies? Several reasons seem to be in play. First, much of the protesting is organized by unions who are actually much more interested in gaining the opportunity to collect union dues from Walmart’s workers than they are in raising the wages of the people working at Walmart. Second, many people honestly complain about pay at Walmart because they have been misled about what Walmart really pays. They assume almost all the associates are making minimum wage or slightly above it. Hopefully, these people will read this column and adjust their behavior to reflect the truth about what Walmart pays.

In an economy where millions of people are still unemployed or underemployed, demonizing any employer is probably a bad idea. It gets much worse when the demonizing is based on lies and distortions. The data show that Walmart offers attractive pay and benefits to its employees. People who find those offers unsatisfactory should find another place to work rather than spending their energy complaining about jobs that hundreds of thousands of people find rewarding.


DC Cops Grab Carts & Hit the Aisles at Georgia Ave Location

DC Cops Grab Carts & Hit the Aisles at Georgia Ave Location

On Thursday, December 11, 2014, Walmart partnered with the Metropolitan Police Department as they kicked off their annual Shop with a Cop event. That morning at the Walmart Georgia Avenue store, approximately 100 pre-selected unserved children (ages 5 to 17) partnered with a Metropolitan Police Department officer to shop for toys, clothes and gifts that will be sure to brighten the kid’s faces on Christmas morning. This event is made possible through a $10,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to the Washington DC Police Foundation.


Walmart H Street Hosts Annual Shop with a Jock Event Featuring DeJuan Blair of the Washington Wizards

Walmart H Street Hosts Annual Shop with a Jock Event Featuring DeJuan Blair of the Washington Wizards

On Thursday, December 11, 2014, Walmart partnered the Washington Wizards and Capitals as they hosted their annual Shop with a Jock event at the Walmart H Street store. That afternoon, Washington Wizards Power Forward DeJuan Blair shopped around the store for holiday gifts for needy children throughout the DMV, gearing up for the Washington Wizards annual Toyland Toy Drive.

This year, the Washington Wizards and Capitals teamed up with The Salvation Army for their annual Toyland Toy Drive. DeJuan Blair and the Wizards hosted their Toyland Drive on Friday, December 12th during the Wizards vs. Clippers game; and Tom Wilson and the Capitals hosted their Toyland Drive on Saturday, December 13th during the Capitals vs. Lightening game.


Girls on the Run Hosts DC 5K to Further Commitment to Empower Women

Girls on the Run Hosts DC 5K to Further Commitment to Empower Women

On Sunday, December 7, 2014, Girls on the Run DC – is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams – hosted its annual DC 5K at Anacostia Park, where more than 1,700 girls, their families, community participants and supporters attended the event. Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser also made an appearance at the event and gave an inspirational speech in order to pump up all the participants before the start of the 5K.

Through its $25,000 grant to Girls on the Run – DC, Walmart will continue its commitment to empower women, starting at a young age. The contribution will provide scholarships for 135 at-risk girls in DC to participate in the program, which teaches young girls critical life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running.