February 6, 2016

Wal-Mart plans to expand presence in South Carolina

Wal-Mart said Wednesday it plans to grow the number of its stores in South Carolina, building about a dozen new stores and creating over 4,000 new jobs. The company made the announcement at the State Farmers Market in Lexington County. Governor Nikki Haley said the site was chosen because Wal-Mart buys from many South Carolina farms.

It’s companies like Wal-Mart that understand we don’t just need you to put a store. We need you to invest in our people. We need you to invest in our suppliers and we need you to invest in our communities. This is an absolute great day for South Carolina.

Wal-Mart America CEO Bill Simon said the expansion means about $400 million in new investment. He said a half dozen sites have already been selected for new stores, but the retailer is looking at building on a few other sites, as well.

We have… 24 or 25 sites that we’re actively working on. Six will be… released today, because the deals are done. We don’t like about the deals because, suddenly, once we talk about where we’re going, the land prices start going up.

Simon said Wal-Mart had been planning the expansion for months.

Wal-Mart was a major opponent of the Amazon.com tax deal that fell through last week, after it was rejected by the South Carolina House. The company believed an exemption Amazon wanted to protect it from collecting sales taxes would give the online retailer an unfair advantage. The company allied with a coalition of small businesses against the deal.

Haley said she’s still hoping Amazon changes its mind.

We want Amazon in this state, but we want to keep a competitive playing field. What we are doing is we’re continuing to talk with them. We are continuing to reach out with Amazon and see what we can do to make it work.

Wal-Mart currently employs over 27,000 people in South Carolina.

RAW AUDIO: Wal-Mart, Gov. Haley announce expansion into SC (11:21)

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