NEW YORK May 20 New York City's comptroller
urged Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O) on Wednesday to accept
food stamps at its outlets because of hard economic times in
the United States.
"This ill-advised resistance clearly establishes a
competitive disadvantage and presents a reputational risk for
Costco," Comptroller William Thompson wrote in a letter to
Costco's Chief Executive James Sinegal.
New York City Pension Funds hold nearly 1.5 million shares
of the discount club operator's stock worth more than $66
million, according to Thompson, who is also chief investment
officer of the the funds.
Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP)
payments, commonly known as food stamps, help the poor buy
Costco's competitor BJ's Wholesale Club BJ.N and discount
retailer Family Dollar Stores Inc FDO.N accept food stamps.
"At a time when Costco is poised to open a facility in East
Harlem, where tens of thousands of residents receive SNAP, such
refusal is both contrary to social policy and a poor business
decision," Thompson wrote in the letter, a copy of which was
received by Reuters.
Costco did not return calls for comment.
(Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan; Editing by Toni Reinhold)