La. could gain as retailers look to build in oil, gas boom towns

A number of retailers are looking to build stores in oil-and-gas towns in Louisiana, North Dakota and Texas, thanks to the boom or expected boom in drilling activity, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.

Home Depot’s only new U.S. store this year is in Minot, N.D., “the heart of the American shale oil and gas boom,” the Journal says. Chief Executive Officer Frank Blake said the impact of shale oil development is one of the great stories happening now.

Other retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., are also shopping for real estate in oil-and-gas towns. A Wal-Mart in Williston, N.D., raised hourly pay for cashiers and stock clerks to $17. The store imported workers from nearby stores and other states to meet the demand.

Some say the developing Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, an oil-rich formation that crosses Louisiana’s midsection, could be the next big thing. Until now, most of the focus in towns like St. Francisville has been figuring out a way to get residents ready to take advantage of the expected boom in drilling-related jobs.