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Walmart announced Thursday that the company plans to build about a dozen new stores in the city of San Diego within the next five years.

Company representatives, joined by Mayor Jerry Sanders at a downtown press conference, said the plan depended on the City Council repealing an ordinance passed last month that regulates the largest of the company’s stores — those larger than 90,000 square feet that also sell groceries. Maggie Sans, the company’s vice president of public affairs, said the company needed the flexibility to build both large and small stores across the city.

The announcement was well-timed. The council is expected to repeal the ordinance it passed in December after Walmart collected enough signatures to put the issue to voters. Council President Tony Young, a swing vote, said the city can’t afford a special election. The council will vote on a repeal next Tuesday. But after the press conference, Sans said the plan was not a quid pro quo. The company still plans to move forward even if the City Council does not repeal the ordinance.

“This is our investment for the San Diego community,” she said. It is also a rebuke of organized labor unions, the ordinance’s main supporters, who declared victory when the City Council passed the law last month.

At the press conference, Sanders said the new stores would be a boon for communities that lacked places to shop. Asked afterward, Sans would not say where in the city the company planned to open its new stores, nor when it planned to first break ground.

She also declined to say whether any of the stores were planned as supercenters larger than 90,000 square feet, the ones the ordinance regulates.

Please contact Adrian Florido directly at adrian.florido@voiceofsandiego.org or at 619.325.0528 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/adrianflorido.

Adrian Florido

Adrian Florido is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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