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  • The Wall Street Journal this morning reports on one of the issues that most irks communities and Wal-Mart competitors – the company’s enormous fleet of empty, unused locations that have been abandoned in favor of newer, better locations.

    “While big retailers can afford to write off or absorb the cost of closed stores and their ongoing leases, communities are often stuck with a different kind of bill,” the WSJ reports. “They complain that the empty buildings are eyesores that can boost crime and vandalism and bring down property values. And where darkened stores anchor strip malls, they can depress sales of remaining retailers.

    “While the stores' owners typically continue to pay property taxes on the vacant properties -- that is, if they remain in business -- the buildings no longer generate jobs or lucrative sales-tax dollars for state and local governments.”

    And compounding the problem is the fact that Wal-Mart often will prevent these locations from being leased to competitors, which in many cases can dramatically reduce the potential pool of lessees. The paper cites as an example a 69,000 square foot former Wal-Mart in La Junta, Colorado, which has been vacant since 2000…and Wal-Mart holds the lease until 2017.

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