Wal-Mart’s New York Strategy

Hillary Clinton may have returned a contribution from Wal-Mart, and Barack Obama’s wife may also be distancing herself from the company, but the country’s largest retailer is trying to win other friends in high places with its own quiet campaign in New York.

Without much fanfare, Wal-Mart has joined a number of local business groups, like the Association for a Better New York, the Partnership for New York City, and the chambers of commerce in four of the city's boroughs.

All this, without having a single store here. So, why have they joined all these New York business groups when, technically, they don’t have a business in New York?

“Wal-Mart is a significant part of the New York City economy, spending nearly $4 billion in the five boroughs,” company spokesman Steve Restivo said in a statement.

It may also help them build the kind of grass-roots support they need to eventually open a store here, something that’s eluded them previously.

As the Partnership’s Kathy Wylde told me, “Obviously, they wouldn’t be joining if they weren’t thinking about it.”