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Wal-Mart to open new store in West Covina

August 29, 2012|By Shan Li
  • Shoppers at a Wal-Mart store in Los Angeles. West Covina will have its own store by the end of the year.
Shoppers at a Wal-Mart store in Los Angeles. West Covina will have its own… (Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images )

Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced plans to open a new 120,000-square-foot store in West Covina.

The store, which is expected to open this year, will slide into a space once occupied by Mervyns at the Eastland Center shopping area.

"When you look around at the surrounding area, local residents are always looking for affordable shopping options," Steven Restivo, Wal-Mart's director of community affairs, told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. "We think our store can be part of the solution for West Covina residents."

The announcement brought both praise and opposition from local residents, some of whom have announced at City Council meetings their plans to protest and boycott the store when it opens, the newspaper said. Because the Eastland shopping center is zoned for commercial retail, city officials say the local government and residents cannot prevent the store from opening.

The retailer also has been quickly expanding its grocery-oriented Neighborhood Markets. One smaller-format supermarket opened in Huntington Beach at the end of last year. Another planned for downtown Los Angeles' Chinatown neighborhood has incurred fierce opposition from some residents and workers advocacy groups.

But West Covina Mayor Mike Touhey said the new Wal-Mart store will bring much needed jobs.

"The job growth is good because we lost a similar amount of jobs when Mervyns closed in late 2008," Touhey told the Tribune.

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 Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ShanLi

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