NEW YORK, May 20 (Reuters) - 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 food.
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)