Walmart has a system for bilking local merchants out of sales. It deems it efficient to open two stores very close together if they can dominate all local competition. The initial prices can be so low that they lose money. Once a monopoly has been established, they can jack up prices and abandon the less profitable of the two stores. The patrons of the less-profitable store will then have no choice but to make the longer trip to the higher-priced store. By the year 2000, Walmart had already abandoned 25 million square feet of retail floor space with this strategy.
Bilk (rhymes with milk)
1. *To defraud, cheat, or swindle: made millions bilking wealthy clients on art sales.
2. To evade payment of: bilk one’s debts.
2. To thwart or frustrate: “Fate . . . may be to a certain extent bilked” (Thomas Carlyle).
3. To elude.
Appeared in 1600s from seemingly obscure origins. First used as a term in the card game, cribbage.
fleece, dupe, defraud