Did you know that Goodwill is one of Milwaukee’s fastest growing retailers? The metro Milwaukee area supports 15 stores and there are two more set to open soon. Goodwill of SE WI has increased revenues 90% since 2009 to $127 million in 2014. They have numbers that any retail establishment would kill to have.
Same-store sales at the nonprofit rose 5.1% last year. By way of comparison, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s same-store growth was just 0.5%.
This isn’t an isolated case. Across the U.S. and Canada, Goodwills are bustling with shoppers.
In 2013, retail sales at Goodwill organizations in the two countries totaled $3.79 billion. That was up 57% from 2009 — 10 times the percentage sales growth at both Kohl’s and Target.
Goodwill sells used household goods and clothes. You know, necessities. So, why the huge increase in sales? Because many people can’t afford to buy those things new anymore. They’re too poor.
From 2007 through 2013, data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate, the number of households in the four-county metropolitan area with inflation-adjusted income of less than $25,000 a year increased by about 28,000.
While it is great that the stores are nice and the bargains are good, it doesn’t hide the fact that people have to shop here because they don’t have any other options. There continues to be an ever widening gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” in the United States. Policies decisions like union busting, de-funding of education, denying healthcare coverage, doing away with consumer and environmental protections, while cutting taxes has led to a huge disparity between the wealthy and the poor in this state and in this nation.
Goodwill’s success is really America’s failure.