tHE SAN FRANCISCO RETAIL DIVERSITY STUDY

Shopping with Locally-Owned Merchants Could Net San Francisco $200 Million and 1,300 New Jobs
Study Indicates that Slight Shift in Purchasing Habits is Key to Sustaining City’s Unique Character and Bolstering the Economy

Among the study’s key findings:

  • A slight shift in consumer purchasing behavior -- diverting just 10% of purchases from national chain stores to locally owned businesses – would, each year, create 1,300 new jobs and yield nearly $200 million in incremental economic activity.
  • For purchases where quality goods or knowledgeable service are especially important, shopping with a locally owned merchant can reward consumers with a more satisfying experience and enhance the value they receive.
  • Municipal policies tend to favor large chains and developers, and urban governments frequently subsidize developments designed for large numbers of chain stores.
  • The City of San Francisco and the various public institutions, which account for large volume purchases, can actively seek local bidders and provide assistance with procurement processes.
  • A substantial impact may also be achieved if public officials and institutions conscientiously seek local providers for routine, no-bid purchases.
  • The independent merchants of the city provide the community with a tremendous injection of economic activity.
San Franciscans and visitors can significantly sustain and improve the uniquely rich character and the economy of our city with just a slight shift in their shopping patterns
— Hut Landon, Executive Director of SFLOMA

Local Businesses Key to Income Growth

Study conducted by economists Stephan Goetz and David Fleming, both affiliated with Pennsylvania State University and the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development.

Key Findings: 

  • The key to reversing the long-term trend of stagnating incomes in the U.S. lies in nurturing small, locally owned businesses and limiting further expansion and market consolidation by large corporations.
  • Resident-owned small firms have a statistically significant and relatively large positive effect on income growth.

A Downward Push

The Impact of Wal-Mart Stores on Retail Wages and Benefits

By UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education

key findings:

  • Employees at Wal-Mart earn lower average wages and receive less generous benefits than workers employed by many other large retailers.
  • Wal-Mart store openings lead to the replacement of better paying jobs with jobs that pay less. Wal-Mart’s entry also drives wages down for workers in competing industry segments such as grocery stores.

Corporate Subsidies

Shopping for Subsidies: How Wal-Mart Uses Taxpayer Money to Finance Its Never-Ending Growth - May 2004
By Good Jobs First

Key Findings: 

  • Walmart has received more than $1 billion in economic development subsidies from state and local governments across the country. Taxpayers have helped finance not only Wal-Mart stores, but also the company’s huge network of distribution centers, more than 90% of which have gotten subsidies. The report also includes policy proposals