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.
Read the full Walmart Economic Impact study