STOCKTON, Calif. — The City Council here has voted to limit big box stores — a move opposed in council hearings by Wal-Mart Stores and supported by a labor coalition. The law restricts stores exceeding 100,000 square feet of selling space that devote 10% or more of floor space to the sale of non-taxable items, though it excludes membership clubs or other retailers that charge an entry fee. Wal-Mart already operates a single supercenter here, and it had hoped to open two more, a council spokeswoman told SN, citing Wal-Mart testimony during a council hearing. SN was unable to reach Wal-Mart's West Coast spokesman for comment. Wal-Mart may be able to open that second supercenter here if an appeals judge rejects a challenge to an environmental impact report, since the store was approved before the new law was passed, the spokeswoman said. Commenting on the council’s action, Jacques Loveall, president of UFCW Local 8-Golden State, said, “The vote is a victory for working people, [because] when Wal-Mart and other predatory companies open gigantic superstores, good union jobs are lost and communities inevitably suffer.” Loveall said the union worked with various community groups and local activists to get the law passed.
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