Thursday, December 28, 2006

Wal-Mart enters India...gets a $7 billion investment

Wal-Mart gets $7 billion investment
by Brian White

Wal-Mart's entry into the Indian market will receive a huge lift with the announcement of a $7 billion investment by Bharti.
Bharti is the Indian company that has agreed to partner with the world's largest retailer to open locations in India where Wal-Mart currently has no retail presence.

Bharti will invest $7 billion by 2010 to ensure that the retail joint venture is setup and started with the resources it needs to be successful right from the start. The two companies will be setting up 200 large supermarket-type stores and hundreds of smaller large-format stores.

Wal-Mart will now cater to an estimated 300 million Indian citizens -- a population that has become increasingly affluent and a market that global retailers are eying with jaws wide open. This piece of pie is up for grabs -- like China -- and when growth slows in the U.S., to other global markets go the retailers.
(Feed taken from

This is Wal-Marts pearl to be able to open a store to India, this only increases Wal-Mart's imperialistic power. Stores in India will flurish, economy will begin to stagger, local businesses will close, people will rely on Wal-Mart for everything leaving those who broke their backs to create businesses in shambles. Prices will be cheaper than what they are used to paying, but it all goes back to the hidden costs of Wal-Mart, we just hope that the people of India are aware of this before all goes wrong.

What does 2007 hold for Wal-Mart?

What does 2007 hold for Wal-Mart?
2006 was a rough time for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) in many media respects, as the company missed targets, saw same-store sales growth decline, and saw some lows that had not been reached in a decade. Still, the world's largest retailer saw growth this year -- just not as much as some unrealistic market watchers wanted.

Wal-Mart's marketing strategy took several hits, a scandal in its advertising department as Wal-Mart dropped its new ad agency. Also Wal-Mart's attempt to cater to higher-income shoppers and regionalize the products in its stores to cater to local demographics saw little steam (so far). So, what should 2007 bring?

I'm not sure Wal-Mart can ever change its image to what it thinks it can with consumers. The power of branding is too strong, and Wal-Mart's super-glued brand is "low prices." Period. Trying to market to shoppers who associate Wal-Mart with low prices (and not anything else) is probably going to prove futile. But, hey, growth has to come from somewhere, right? Perhaps outside of the U.S. -- like India and China, where Wal-Mart is moving into with rapid aplomb.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Fulton Mall may be custom made for Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart targets Albee Square … again
By Ariella Cohen
The Brooklyn Papers

Fulton Mall may be custom made for Wal-Mart.

The city is now considering a plan to tear down the aging Gallery shopping center to make way for a soaring mixed-use tower that could accommodate a Wal-Mart, the New York Sun reported last week.

If the deal were completed, Albee Square, as the site is known, would be rebuilt into Fulton Mall’s most ambitious project yet — a glistening tower that would include 800 apartments, 100,000 square feet of office space and a 500,00-square-foot ground-floor perfect for the behemoth of Bentonville, Arkansas.

Wal-Mart has been eyeing a Downtown site for at least two years, including the Albee Square location. The discount chain has been trying to open a store in New York City, but has met strong opposition from organized labor and (less-organized) environmentalists.

Wal-Mart spokesman Philip Serghini declined to comment on the Albee location, but reiterated that the retailer was “actively reviewing potential sites in all five boroughs.”

Albee Square, nestled between busy DeKalb and Flatbush avenues, is attractive to retailers like Wal-Mart thanks to the 100,000 pedestrians who pass by it daily. Right now, the Gallery’s biggest-name tenants are Toys “R” Us and a Forever 21 clothing store.

On a recent Saturday, the low-rise mall hosted far fewer shoppers than Fulton Street’s pedestrian corridor, but sold many of the same discount shoes and heavily marked-down leather goods.

“Buy one leather jacket and get two for free,” barked a hawker at the mall’s entrance. “Sell them on the street and get your money back!”

The Gallery was previously owned by Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner, who sold to to Joe Sitt’s Thor Equities after it failed to attract enough high-dollar tenants. Because it sits on land that is owned by the city, the Economic Development Corporation will help decide what will be built.

Sitt is reportedly trying to flip the site, take his profit, and move on, leaving the city to find a new developer to carry out its big-box, big-tower vision.

At least one Fulton Mall businessman said Wal-Mart would be out of place in Downtown Brooklyn.

“People come here on tour buses when they want to see what real New York is like,” said Leo Gulfam, a former graffiti artist who rents a storefront where he customizes clothing, jewelry and Air Jordan sneakers with everything from Pakistani flags to picture of Tweedy Bird.

“Our people are crazy about bling,” he said. “They aren’t crazy about Wal-Mart.”

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Wal-Mart Wins Ruling on Foreign Labor, Sets up Communist Party in China Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart Stores cannot be held liable under United States law for labor conditions at some of its overseas suppliers, a federal judge has ruled.

A complaint filed last year in Los Angeles by the International Labor Rights Fund contended that employees of Wal-Mart suppliers in China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Swaziland and Nicaragua were forced to work overtime without pay and in some cases were fired because they tried to organize unions. The group sought to represent hundreds of thousands of employees of Wal-Mart’s overseas suppliers. The New York Times Reports here.

International Herald Tribune
Communist Party branch set up at Wal-Mart's China headquarters
Sunday, December 17, 2006

Employees at Wal-Mart's China headquarters have set up a Communist Party branch, the company and party said Monday, amid a campaign to expand the ruling party's presence in foreign companies.

The move follows the success of China's state-sanctioned labor body this year in setting up unions at the U.S. retailer's outlets. Wal-Mart is one of China's biggest and most prominent foreign employers, with a workforce of 36,000 and 68 stores.

The party branch was set up Friday at Wal-Mart headquarters in the southern city of Shenzhen, according to the party newspaper People's Daily and a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokesman, Jonathan Dong.

"Quite a few of our associates (employees) are party members already, so they have a right to establish branch organizations," Dong said.

Dong said he didn't know whether Wal-Mart would have any formal interaction with the branch or whether its establishment would affect operations. Employees who answered the phone at the party's Shenzhen office and wouldn't give their names said they had no information on what the branch at the Wal-Mart headquarters would do.

China's 70 million-member Communist Party and its affiliated All-China Federation of Trade Unions are trying to expand their presence in foreign companies to keep pace with a fast-changing society amid capitalist-style economic reforms.

State industry, their traditional base, has slashed millions of jobs while private companies are creating tens of millions more.

In a bid to stay relevant, the party has begun offering membership to entrepreneurs and others in the new private economy.

The ACFTU, the umbrella body for unions permitted by the government, has announced a target of setting up unions at 60 percent of China's 150,000 foreign companies by the end of this year.

An ACFTU spokesman, Li Jianmin, said Monday he had no figures on how close the body is to meeting that goal.

The party has not disclosed its own expansion target.

The party branch at Wal-Mart headquarters is the company's sixth in China, according to Dong.

The first was set up Aug. 12 in the northeastern city of Shenyang. Party officials there said it would not interfere in store management. An official quoted by the state Xinhua News Agency said the Shenyang branch would encourage members to "to play an exemplary role in doing a good job" and to help Wal-Mart grow.

Many foreign companies in China already have party branches, either officially or unofficially.

One of the earliest was at U.S.-based cell phone maker Motorola Inc. in the eastern city of Tianjin. The branch officially was established in 1997, but news accounts say it was set up as early as 1990 and kept secret in order to avoid alarming Motorola management.

Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, resisted the creation of unions at its Chinese stores for two years before agreeing in August to help the ACFTU organize its workers.

The party and labor expansion campaigns were ordered in March by President Hu Jintao, who also is the party's general secretary, according to Chinese media.

"Do a better job of building (Communist) Party organizations and trade unions in foreign-invested enterprises," the order said, according to the newspaper Beijing News.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Wal-Mart & Brooklyn a Perfect fit??

The New York Sun highlighted Mayor Bloomberg's new plans for NYC with this article focusing on Brooklyn, and the speculation for Wal-Mart as a perfect fit....

City in Talks on Future of Big Site For Building in Downtown Brooklyn

BY DAVID LOMBINO - Staff Reporter of the Sun

December 14, 2006


While the city's master plan for downtown Brooklyn was originally spawned to create soaring commercial towers, the city is now negotiating with two private developers to build a $500 million project that would be predominantly residential and retail.

It would be the first major site developed in the area since the city rezoned downtown Brooklyn for increased commercial development two and a half years ago. The project would contain a cavernous retail base that could accommodate a large big-box store such as Wal-Mart, according to sources familiar with the deal.

If finalized, the large site known as Albee Square at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Willoughby Street would contain more than 800 apartments, 20% of which would be "affordable housing"; as much as 100,000 square feet of office space, and 500,000 square feet of retail space designed for an anchor tenant, according to a source familiar with the plans. The lot is currently occupied by the Gallery at Fulton Street, which is a shopping mall, and a large parking garage.

Developer Joseph Sitt of Thor Equities would flip the site he purchased for a reported $25 million in 2001 to a partnership between PA Associates/Acadia Realty Trust and Avalon Properties, according to a source familiar with the deal. The new owners could construct up to 1.5 million square feet of mixeduse space under the recently up-zoned plans. Financial details of the transaction were unavailable, but real estate experts said Mr. Sitt would stand to make a fortune, as real estate values in the area have skyrocketed.

The city owns the land underneath the site and Mr. Sitt controls the development rights. Sources familiar with the negotiations said the city's Economic Development Corp. is unsatisfied with the offer for the land it owns and had hoped to see more office space in the plan.

The president of the Real Estate Board of New York, Steven Spinola, said negotiations between Mr. Sitt and the city and the buyers are entering the final phases.

"The city is encouraging the office space, and the retail needs to be done," Mr. Spinola said. "The residential obviously is the surest thing."

About two years ago, the Bloomberg administration passed an ambitious rezoning plan for downtown Brooklyn, currently the third largest commercial district in the city, that envisioned as much as 5.4 million square feet of new commercial space and about 1,000 new units of housing, mostly along Livingston Street. While the market for new commercial buildings is red hot in Midtown Manhattan, no private developer has ventured into downtown Brooklyn since the rezoning to build a large office building.

Nearby, at the planned $4 billion Atlantic Yards project in Prospect Heights, developer Forest City Ratner drastically cut back on plans to build office space, and increased the number of planned apartments.

A spokesman for the Economic Development Corporation, Andrew Brent, said yesterday that indications from the private sector seem to favor mixed-use development of residential, retail, and commercial space than large stand-alone office buildings with anchor tenants.

"The negotiations for the Albee Square development are very much ongoing, but we're confident that at the end of the day, while the corporate component may be somewhat less than what was envisioned four years ago, the project will catalyze surrounding office development, and its contribution to Downtown Brooklyn's growing vibrancy will be greater than ever," Mr. Brent said.

In 2004, speculation circulated that Wal-Mart was eyeballing the Albee Square site for its first New York City store. Because the site would be as-of-right, the world's largest retailer would not need approval from the City Council, which has been critical of Wal-Mart's treatment of employees.

The executive director of sales for Halstead Brooklyn, William Ross, said the large retail space with room for a lot of parking would be "the least objectionable space in all of Brooklyn for a Wal-Mart."

Pointing to four large apartment buildings going up nearby along Gold and Myrtle Streets, Mr. Ross said the Albee Square development is the latest sign that Flatbush Avenue is undergoing a residential transformation. The city has committed up to $500 million to improve the area's parks, open space, infrastructure, and to pave the way for the Atlantic Yards project.

"Downtown Brooklyn was rezoned two years ago, and nothing happened. Now, everything is happening at once," Mr. Ross said.

Mr. Ross said developers' calculations in downtown Brooklyn are crystal clear.

"You make twice as much selling condos as you do renting office space," he said.

An executive director for Cushman & Wakefield, Glenn Markman, said the demand for commercial space in downtown Brooklyn is growing, despite the loss of the Albee Square site to mostly apartments.

"I don't think that this is a sign of weakness in the marketplace," Mr. Markman said. "It just takes a while for the commercial market to attract the tenants that we're hoping to get. If that transaction is concludes, it is another positive sign for downtown Brooklyn."

A spokesman for Thor Equities, Lee Silberstein, would not comment for this story.
A spokesman for the president of Brooklyn, Marty Markowitz, said negotiations should be concluded quickly so that Brooklynites could begin enjoy the benefits of new development.


Also Check out

Why an Agency Said No to Wal-Mart [New York Times]
A week after stunning Madison Avenue by tossing out the results of a lengthy and expensive search for new advertising agencies, Wal-Mart Stores has decided to ask four of the five finalists from the previous review to take another shot at the $580 million assignment. One invitee, however, has declared, to borrow an old song title, “Thanks a lot, but no thanks.” The agency is GSD&M in Austin, Tex., part of the Omnicom Group, which has created campaigns for Wal-Mart since 1987

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Legal Challenge to Wal-Mart

The NY Sun reports(Josh Gerstein): Novel Legal Challenge to Wal-Mart

A bid to use the American legal system to hold Wal-Mart accountable for alleged abuses at its suppliers' factories overseas is faltering after a federal judge indicated he is inclined to dismiss the case.
Judge Andrew Guilford issued a tentative ruling yesterday that would dismiss a wide-ranging lawsuit filed against the retail giant last year on behalf of workers at factories in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Nicaragua, and Swaziland.
The suit alleges that the facilities failed to pay minimum wage, forced overtime work on unwilling employees, and blocked workers from organizing unions.
The attorney for the workers, Terry Collingsworth, argued that the foreign workers had no realistic prospect of suing in their own countries. "They don't have adequate access to courts there," he said. "This is their sole place to try to be heard."

This is an extremely interesting and important case in legal and labor history, if the decision continues to look this bleak, Wal-Mart cannot be reprimanded for mistreating workers in other countries. What we cannot grasp is why, Why Wal-Mart even mistreats workers, the 300 plus billion dollar company should be more ethical and responsible and should see no problem with paying their workers a living wage and quality benefits.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Rocky Return to the Roots at Wal-Mart

Friday, December 08, 2006

The week in Wal-Mart

We wanted to leave SNL skit up in front of the blog because we loved it so much, but here's an overview in the Week in Wal-Mart...

In Montreal, Wal-Mart has lost a battle in the Quebec Court of Appeal to fight the unionization of its store in Gatineau. Back in the US - Oklahoma, Wal-Mart has just settled a $5.1 million dollar class-action lawsuit brought by the estates of 73 former employees, it turns out Wal-Mart had taken out life insurance policies on its employees, making itself the beneficiary, the families of the employees who passed away were forced to sue in order to recover the life insurance benefits...What a disgusting move by the worlds largest employer.

In a terribly sad story a family in
Indianapolis sues Wal-Mart for the death of their 3 year old son. The family of a 3-year-old killed in July when a mirror fell on him at an Indianapolis Wal-Mart store filed a lawsuit charging negligence and seeking unspecified damages. Wal-Mart's layaway program see's its last day.

Senior marketing executive Julie Roehm has left Wal-Mart Stores Inc. after less than a year on the job, which then lead to the diminish of Wal-Mart's new Ad agency after signing a $570 million dollar contract. The New York Times actually wrote a great article on the entire bizzare situation read that here.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Saturday Night Live, Jay Leno Rip Wal-Mart

This weeks Saturday Night Live took a shot at Wal-Mart by airing their idea of a Wal-Mart commercial.

Leno Rips Wal-Mart
Taken from Tonight Show with Jay Leno

"Here’s some bad news. Wal-Mart has reported that its pre-Christmas sales were down in November. Well, thank God that doesn’t affect anything made in America."

Wal-Mart "Thanks" Workers

Wal-Mart has admitted they owe something to their 1.3 million laborers in the United States. It's taken years and years and years of protests, mailings, complaints and demonstrations for them to realize this. So how is Wal-Mart planning on thanking the 1.3 million who run their company?? By giving them polo shirts and an additional 10% off on a specific item each week. The program is called "Associates Out in Front" and was leaked to the New York Times by Wake Up Wal-Mart
The program includes several new perks “as a way of saying thank you” to workers, like a special polo shirt after 20 years of service....Employees who last 40 years will receive matching pants with an option to trade in their Polo shirt for a special edition DVD of "Car 54, Where are You?"
Under the program, store managers are to meet each week with 10 employees who sign up to discuss concerns, suggestions and ideas for improving operations. The program also requires regional general managers to conduct monthly town-hall meetings that are open to every worker in the area.

What are Associates saying about the program?
  • Cleo Forward, a 37-year-old support manager at a Wal-Mart in Dallas, said the new program was promising, but that it fell short in recognizing long-time workers who felt unappreciated by the changes. “They are going to spend $15 on a Polo for you after 20 years? Give me a break,” he said. “We would rather they lift the wage caps.”

  • “Many of the associates were very upset,” Mr. Uselton said, a 35-year-old overnight floor cleaner at a Wal-Mart in Tyler, Tex.. “Management is just not listening anymore.” Some Wal-Mart employees said workers might be afraid to speak up because they have seen coworkers retaliated against — for instance, transferred to worse shifts when they voiced their complaints.
It's yet another weak attempt by Wal-Mart to win back their employee's, but if you are an employee and you are buying this "Associates Out in Front Program" please ask yourself the same thing Cleo Forward did and many others are...You spend 20 years at a company and their thank you is a $15 Polo shirt made in a sweatshop in Cambodia, sounds like payback to me.

Read the entire New York Times article.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Wal-Mart's too quick of a change

Taken from the New York Times Nov.30th 2006

Wal-Mart Trips as It Changes a Bit

Too Fast

The most wonderful time of the year? Tell that to Wal-Mart.

The world’s largest retailer has long dominated the holiday shopping season, with eye-popping discounts that drew throngs of customers and made life miserable for competitors.

After fresh price cuts this month, few doubted they would own this season, too. But this heartwarming storyline for Wal-Mart has turned into heartburn for the company.

Today, the retailer is expected to announce, based on its own estimates, that sales for November fell for the first time in a decade.

“In a season of what has been pretty healthy numbers from retailers, Wal-Mart has been lackluster, to say the least,” said Adrianne Shapira, an analyst at Goldman Sachs. “Houston, there is a problem.”

But what exactly is the problem?

At first glance, the stumbles seem to resurrect the perennial question: is Wal-Mart too big for its own good, making it impossible to achieve the gravity-defying growth that Wall Street has counted on for four decades.

Yet, what is happening now appears to be more complicated than Wal-Mart hitting a wall. It may simply be changing too fast, acting more like a start-up than a company with 6,000 stores, 1.3 million employees and sales of $312 billion. And that may not be such a bad thing in the long run.

In the last year, Wal-Mart has introduced a dizzying number of new strategies: it started a line of urban fashion, began renovating 1,800 stores, overhauled its advertising to focus less on price and more on style, rolled out $4 generic drugs, ended its layaway program and imposed wage caps on its workers, to name just a few.

Given its size, even the slightest misstep is magnified. And this season, Wal-Mart has made several, alienating shoppers with designer-inspired clothing and disruptive store remodeling.

And when these miscues occur at the same time, as they have recently, they spook not just investors in Wal-Mart — its shares are down 5 percent this month — but the broader stock market as well.

Wal-Mart has little choice but to change, analysts said. The company’s formula since 1962 — pile cheap merchandise high and watch it fly — is no longer enough. Competitors like Target and Best Buy have stolen shoppers with smarter fashions and sleeker electronics, leaving Wal-Mart to sell Americans mostly everyday products like laundry detergent and socks.

And the company’s strategy of growing through relentless store openings — about 300 a year for the last decade — has begun to hurt the retailer as much as help it by siphoning away sales from other Wal-Marts nearby.

The problem shows up in a crucial yardstick of its performance: sales at stores open at least a year, like the November figure that rattled investors.

Since the beginning of 2006, Wal-Mart’s monthly sales have risen 2.4 percent, half as fast as Target, which posted a 4.8 increase.

Wall Street has been urging the company to find a solution to the slide.

“They need to take some risks,” said Christine K. Augustine, an analyst at Bear Stearns, who expressed alarm at the company’s November performance. “I do not fault them for trying new things.”

But the turnaround effort — which the company has dubbed “Wal-Mart Out In Front” — is taking longer than investors had hoped. And there is a growing consensus that the rapid pace of change may be one reason why.

Individually, the strategies can be viewed as healthy fixes to longstanding problems at Wal-Mart. Trendier (and pricier) clothing, for example, will theoretically persuade consumers to spend more at Wal-Mart, rather than, say, Kohl’s. Ending layaway plans and capping wages will save the company money.

Collectively, however, these measures have created the retail equivalent of cacophony in the stores, temporarily disorienting consumers and employees at a crucial time of year.

For example, at the same time that Wal-Mart introduced fur-trimmed jeans in the clothing department and 42-inch flat-screen televisions in the electronics section this year, it also began renovating hundreds of stores, “making it difficult to find all that enticing new stuff,” Ms. Augustine said.

“They are working at cross purposes over a short period,” she said.

Wal-Mart executives have conceded that the company’s efforts to reinvent itself have hit a few snags.

Several weeks ago, H. Lee Scott Jr., the chief executive of Wal-Mart, told analysts that he was “surprised that the disruption that occurred during the remodels was as extensive as it has been.”

The new clothing at Wal-Mart created problems, too. After early success with a designer women’s clothing line called Metro7 in 600 mostly urban area stores, the company rolled out the fashions across the chain.

It did not work. The average Wal-Mart shopper lives in the suburbs, is roughly 5-foot-2 and wears a size 14 — making them poor candidates for the skinny jeans that were a popular, tight-fitting fashion in urban markets.

Consumers like Shirley Shepherd, who lives outside Salt Lake City, Utah, balked at the unfamiliar clothes.

“I would never buy dress clothes here,” said Ms. Shepherd, who shops at the Wal-Mart in Midvale, Utah, twice a week for staples like toothpaste, batteries, underwear and socks.

It’s not just a simple matter of new fashions not selling well. The new clothes took up space where Wal-Mart stocked reliable sellers like basic blouses and sensible skirts. So the entire apparel department suffered, contributing to the November sales drop.

Mr. Scott said the company moved “too far, too fast” with the Metro7 clothing line and will now sell it only in its urban stores.

By ending layaway plans, which allowed low-income shoppers to make purchases in installments, the chain freed up the store space and employees.

But it also upset shoppers like Michele Kahindi, a 30-year-old mother of three who lives in Portland, Ore.

Eliminating the program “hinders a mom’s ability to hide stuff from the kids,” she said. “I don’t get it. Now Kmart is going to get my layaway business.”

Some of the changes at Wal-Mart have worked.

Higher-priced electronics have been a hit. By offering products like flat-panel televisions, cellphones and MP3 players at several prices — including a $3,000 plasma-screen TV — Wal-Mart has tripled sales in some stores, proving that consumers will buy upscale products at the chain.

The way the company manages its work force has also helped its bottom line. For example, it is relying on more part-time workers and asking them to be available at night and on weekends when checkout lines are longest.

Sprucing up stores, while temporarily frustrating to shoppers, has improved sales, the company said.

But the company’s hope for a turnaround in store sales could take at least a year, if not longer, for several reasons.

It is too late to cancel the latest orders for Metro7, meaning hundreds of stores will be saddled with the slow-selling fashions for months. Renovations, on hold for the rest of the holiday season to make shopping easier, will start up again in January.

And Wal-Mart said it is still grappling with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which the company has said is skewing its sales figures.

Bigger spending by victims of the storm, who received federal funding to rebuild, increased sales at the chain last year, making it harder for the company to improve on last year’s performance. (In November 2005, for example, Wal-Mart’s monthly sales rose 4.3 percent.)

Analysts also noted that a separate Wal-Mart strategy should improve the company’s fortunes. In October, it said it would begin to apply the brakes on new store growth in part to focus more on improving the performance of its existing outlets.

In a small but symbolically important adjustment that will result in enormous cost savings, the company will expand its square footage at a rate of 7.5 percent in 2007, down from 8 percent in the last several years,

For now, Wal-Mart’s message to investors and customers appears to be the same as the one on the signs in its renovated stores: please excuse our appearance — and performance — while we are under construction.

“The size of the undertaking,” said Ms. Shapira of Goldman Sachs, “should not be overlooked.”

Brian Libby contributed reporting from Portland, Ore., and Martin Stolz from Midvale, Utah.

Wal-Mart’s Nov sales show is the worst in a decade

Wal-Mart’s Nov sales show is the worst in a decade

NEW YORK: Wal-Mart Stores, the world’s largest retailer, said US same-store sales fell 0.1% in November, the worst performance in more than 10 years, as holiday discounts on toys and electronics failed to lure customers.

December sales at stores open at least a year will rise between 0 to 1%, the company said Thursday. November marks the second month in a row that the retailer has reported sales of less than 1%. Since last month, Wal-Mart cut prices on toys, electronics, groceries & appliances and extended its $4 generic drug programme to all US pharmacies. At the same time, it has upgraded stores and merchandise to win affluent shoppers away from Macy’s and Target.

“They don’t have a cohesive strategy, they are flailing around,” said Patricia Edwards, a Seattle-based money manager at Wentworth, Hauser & Violich, with $8.2 billion in assets including Wal-Mart shares. “I think that there are many more Target shoppers and department-store shoppers than there were a year ago.”

November’s performance, which matched a preliminary estimate Wal-Mart provided November 25, is the worst since April l996, when same-store sales fell 0.6% after a shift in the timing of Easter. In November 2005, Wal-Mart’s US same-store sales increased 4.3% after shoppers restocked after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Neil Currie, an analyst at UBS Securities in New York, was “somewhat surprised” by the company’s weak sales this month after it cut prices aggressively, he wrote in a November 27 research note. “Perhaps the multitude of rollbacks at Wal-Mart did not have the desired, broad shopping effect.”

Wal-Mart’s results probably pulled the expected November gain at US retailers down to 2.5%, the International Council of Shopping Centres and UBS said November 28. In October, Wal-Mart said disappointing clothing sales and renovations hurt sales, posting a 0.5% gain after initially forecasting a rise of 2-4%. Wal-Mart’s “upscale move may be alienating its core customer”, Charles Grom, an analyst at JP Morgan Securities said. The company is modernising more than half of its US Wal-Mart stores. Wal-Mart finished the first round of 1,200 stores this month and will begin work on the remaining 600 in February.

However, overall US retailers may report a 2.5% rise in November sales, the smallest increase since March. Demand accelerated in the final week of the month with the start of the holiday shopping season, according to the International Council of Shopping Centres, which provided the November estimate. Most retailers will report sales today.

“The higher-end stores seem to be doing well because wealthy people are less susceptible to higher oil prices and interest rates,” said Matthew Kelmon, who helps manage $400 million, including Best Buy and Wal-Mart shares, at Kelmoore Investment in Palo Alto, California. “The people buying at Wal-Mart are squeezed.”

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Welcome to India, birthplace of Ghandi, largest populated country, one of the most historical countries in the world and now the new home of Wal-Mart. India's labour force contains 496.4 million working people, 60% of which are employed in agriculture-related industries. The service sector accounts for 23% of GDP. Wal-Mart has been trying to enter India for the last few years and has encountered internal opposition from India as well as opposition from Americans. The Traders forum recognizes the effect Wal-Mart will have on India's economy
"Stores like Wal-Mart being quite in large numbers across the world will source will source products of lower quality from any part of the world because of their giant size and will dump products in their country," he said

World-wide expansion only makes a reality scarier of Lee Scotts dream having "A Wal-Mart within 5 miles of every American...and every Country" This will destroy business forcing terrible low-paying no benefit jobs on our workers, as well as pushing only their products on us. The Wal-Mart effect.

Wal-Mart sales, still on the decline

Dispite their new aggressive advertising campaign, Wal-Mart's sales again didn't meet expectations and isn't expecting a change.

The world's largest retailer said over the weekend that it expects to report a 0.1 percent decline in November sales in stores opened at least a year, slightly below its projections for flat sales, compared with the year-ago period. The results cover the four-week period through Friday, the first day of the holiday shopping season.

Wal-Mart and other major retailers are expected to report final same-store results for November on Thursday.

Wal-Mart shares fell $1.29, or 2.7 percent, to $46.61 in New York Stock Exchange trading.

It seems as all of the national campaigns to Change Wal-Mart are in fact working, and the public is now learning who Wal-Mart really is... the largest most irresponsible employer in the world.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Top Stories

Here are last weeks top stories...
Wal-Mart may face holiday boycotts
Boston Globe - United States
NEW YORK -- A conservative group that had called on supporters to boycott Wal-Mart's post-Thanksgiving Day sales to protest the retailer's support of gay ...

Wal-Mart Comps Down in November
Wal-Mart Stores here said Saturday that same-store stores were expected to be down 0.1% for November, marking a slow start for the holiday season at the world's largest retailer. That follows comp-store sales gains of less than 1% in October, a number that also fell short of the company's expectations.

Wal-Mart Mexico gets go-ahead to operate new bank
Reuters - USA
MEXICO CITY, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Mexican retail leader Wal-Mart de Mexico said on Wednesday it received final authorization to begin operating its new bank ...

Wal-Mart steps in as Tesco quits
Economic Times - India
MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: The world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart is believed to be close to striking a deal with the Sunil Mittal led-Bharti Industries, after UK ...

On the Blogs:

Somebody at Wal-Mart must have a headache
Houston Chronicle - United States
I'm not a fan of Wal-Mart's business practices, but I feel sorry for the folks in their public relations department right now. The ...

Edelman: The Wal-Mart Flogs
MediaPost Publications - New York,USA
PUBLIC RELATIONS AGENCY EDELMAN WILL likely need to completely overhaul its online blogging strategy for its large retail client Wal-Mart if it hopes to ...

Also check out, a parody site launched by Wal-Mart Watch

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Newsday covers Lond Island Wal-Mart event

Newsday along with Long Island's News 12, covered a press conference at the Wal-Mart in Uniondale. The press conference was sponsered by WakeupWalmart along with many other local Unions that see the need to change Wal-Mart... Here is the entire article.

Monday, November 20, 2006

New York Business Report: "Wal-Mart’s management is in total denial"

The New York Magazine has highlighted Wal-Mart's recent ineffectiveness in James Cramer's column, Attention, Wal-Mart Shoppers. Cramer sheds light on the consistent failures of the Wal-Mart company. He highlights what he calls the obvious reasons "low wages, shoddy benefits, predatory pricing versus mom and pop outfits" He even goes as far as saying Wal-Mart and their "anti-union stance that makes Henry Ford look like a Shop Steward for the United Auto Workers." All and all it's great to hear the point of view on Wal-Mart from Wall Street's perspective

Despite the dismal financial performance, which has produced a horridly under performing stock that has flatlined for seven years now, Wal-Mart’s management is in total denial. Almost every month, CEO Lee Scott starts afresh with an optimistic prediction of how the next five weeks will go. Then routinely, at the end of almost every month, the company misses its projections. The worst part is, no one seems the least embarrassed by this performance, least of all Scott himself. Going into October, Wal-Mart predicted 2 to 4 percent sales growth. Then, in early October, the company lowered its projection to 1.3 percent. When it finished the month, Wal-Mart turned out to have gained only half of one percent. This at a moment when almost every other major retailer was meeting or exceeding its higher targets. There was a time when such an overpromise-and-underdeliver phenomenon at this once-smartest of all retailers would have been unthinkable. Now it’s a given. That’s why, for the first time since Sam Walton could visit all of his stores in his beat-up old pickup, it’s worth asking if we are not seeing the twilight, not of the consumer—as so many media pundits speculate because of the incredibly low single-digit growth from Wal-Mart—but of the largest American retailer itself.
The rest of the column rips Wal-Mart's pathetic attempts to fight back from all the terrible press they receive "...Wal-Mart's attempts to fight back have been pathetic, to say the least..." It's a breath of fresh air to know that Wal-Mart isn't fooling anyone, whether it be their projections or attempts to be more "hip" or trying to go "organic", their problem lies at the roots, still the largest employer, still a billion dollar company who is discriminating and underpaying workers, still makes no sense how the world's largest retailer doesn't provide or make a reasonable attempt to provide health care for their employees.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Supermarket News Highlights our 30 Rock Protest

Supermarket News Highlights Local 1500's actions against Wal-Mart

(Taken From Supermarket News November 6, 2006)
The United Food and Commerical Workers Union is trying to dim the "green" glow of Wal-Mart.
As Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., increasingly seeks to position itself as an environmentally friendly retailer concerned about sustainability its foes are stepping up efforts to draw attention to what they see as the company's shortcomings in terms of wages and benefits.
At an event last month in New York City where Lee Scott, chairman and chief executive officer, received an award for his leadership on the environment, UFCW Local 1500 organized a protest near where the award was presented. The presentation included a performance by rock group The Eagles, which inked an exlusive promotional agreement with the retailer based in part on Wal-Mart's proactive stance on environmental issues, the company said.
The next day, as Wal-Mart was conducting its annual analysts' meeting in near by Teaneck, N.J., the union conducted another protest in which scantily clad male and female models bearing painted-on slogans such as low wages and poor health care were painted over with green paint, symbolizing Wal-Mart's alleged efforts to hide its labor problems behind publicity over its efforts on behalf of the environment.
A video of the protest was uploaded onto video-sharing website and circulated to the media. The video is available for viewing Here.
Wal-Mart can't cover up these real issues with a little bit of green paint, a narrator in the video said.
At the analysts' meeting Leslie Dach, Wal-Mart's recently appointed vice president of consumer affiars said Wal-Mart's strategy in counter such attacts is to stay on the offensive.
We are part of the solution, and our goal is to tell that story on our terms every day, he said. Politicians and the public know that [our opponents] are not part of the solution America wants to see. He cited polls of union households indicating that a clear majority disagree with the union's campaigns against Wal-Mart, and that 'nearly two-thirds think Wal-Mart is a good place to shop.
Among the company's efforts on behalf of sustainability, he listed the offering of seafood with the National Marine Fisheries seal, Fair Trade coffee and organic clothing. The company also said it has set goals to increase its use of renewable energy and reduce waste.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wal-Mart's last minute donations to the Right Wing....

As we have previously reported, contrary to what Wal-Mart wants you to believe, Wal-Mart is constantly backing republican politicians. January of last year Wal-Mart donates $5,000 to Vito Fossella the under fire congressman from Staten Island. We actually supported a demonstration in front of his office asking him to return the generous donation citing that, "When no Wal-Mart lies within your jurisdiction, nor do any of your constituents work for Wal-Mart we must question your reasoning for accepting the campaign finance" That being said and the election 2 days ago we'll go through a few GOP candidates that have accepted Wal-Mart's money, released by WakeupWal-Mart.

"After launching a voter education campaign to attack Democratic candidates fighting for a better America, Wal-Mart is now pouring money into key races to support its anti-family, anti-employee agenda," says in a press release issued today.

The release listed examples from recent weeks where Wal-Mart donated to the GOP candidates in "hotly contested races." Among them:

  • $10,000 total to Tom Kean, GOP candidate for U.S. Senate from New Jersey, trailing in the latest polls against incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez;
  • $5,000 to embattled GOP Rep. Tom Reynolds of New York, in a tight race for re-election against Dem challenger Jack Davis;
  • $5,000 to Michael Steele, GOP candidate for U.S. Senate from Maryland, battling Dem candidate Ben Cardin;
  • $2,500 to Mike DeWine, incumbent GOP Senator from Ohio, trailing in a re-election race against Dem challenger Sherrod Brown.

The release notes that these and other donations follow a half-million dollar donation by Wal-Mart to the Republican Governors Association in September.

"Wal-Mart's last minute contributions to Republicans proves that Wal-Mart is not only a right wing company but supports an anti-family, anti-employee agenda which ships U.S. jobs overseas, denies workers a living wage and fails to expand health care to hard-working families," said's campaign director in the release, which is viewable in full at their website.

Also we're sure it's no coincidence in an unrelated story....
Wal-Mart shares drop after Democrats win
Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT.N) slipped on Wednesday as some investors worried that big political wins by Democrats could bring higher payroll costs and derail the retailer's efforts to open a bank.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Wal-Mart,Top News of the week

Today we look at how Wal-Mart expects the worst results in a decade. How the grinch I mean Wal-Mart ruined Christmas for one family in Oregon
How Wal-Mart's new attendence policy has workers dialing 800 numbers to explain tardiness.
And finally how Christians across America are now boycotting Wal-Mart for doing business with the Corporate Advisory Council of the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and how over 62,000 people have signed an online petetion ordering Wal-Mart to end their relationship with the council.

Abolishment of Wal-Mart layaway policy affects family
Statesman Journal - Salem,Oregon,USA
The late Sam Walton, founder of the Wal-Mart empire, wrote in his autobiography that the secret to successful retailing is always giving customers what they ...

Wal-Mart Expects Worst Results in Decade
New York Sun - New York,NY,USA
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ... The estimate means Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, is headed for its worst monthly performance since April 1996. ...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Wal-Mart's Reputation Crisis

A Must Read:
Wal-Mart: A 'Reputation Crisis'
BusinessWeek - USA
... One of the most surprising targets of criticism, however, has been Wal-Mart (WMT). The retailer didn't have any hand in the ads attacking Ford though their reputation stands on thin ice. ...

This editorial serves as proof that all of our efforts, whether it be through Blogs, or Media our efforts are making people aware of the affects Wal-Mart has on communities...Keep up the fight, and Wal-Mart will change.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Wal-Mart No Way TV AD

Here is the Ad running on NY1 from the guys at Wal-Mart NO WAY!

Wal-Mart Gets Heat from Conservatives for Joining Gay Group

WalMart Gets Heat from Conservatives for Joining Gay Group

Nearly two months after Wal-Mart announced its membership into the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, an anti-gay organization is sounding off, asking its own members to avoid shopping at the retail giant. The American Family Association is reminding its supporters that Wal-Mart recently joined the NGLCC and says Wal-Mart plans to give "two large grants" to the organization.

According to Cybercast News Service, the president of the NGLCC said he expects Wal-Mart to use its influence to pressure suppliers such as Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and Gillette to give preferential treatment to businesses owned by gay and lesbians. The AFA, noting that the NGLCC is a leading promoter of same-sex marriage, is urging conservatives to take action: "Send your email to Wal-Mart expressing you displeasure with their promotion of homosexual marriage," AFA told its supporters, reports CNS. "Call your local Wal-Mart manager and express your displeasure."

According to the Agape Press, AFA states it found (via a search function at more than 1,100 items for sale when the term "gay" was entered, almost 500 in response to the term "lesbian," and more than a hundred based on the terms "transgender," "bisexual," and "gay marriage." Sharp says the corporate giant’s new link to support of the homosexual agenda is clear. "There’s no question that Wal-Mart is supporting homosexuality," Randy Sharp, AFA’s director of special projects, told the Agape Press. "They’re supporting the homosexual agenda, whose number-one directive is to bring same-sex marriage to America."

Despite all the pressure and criticism, Wal-Mart stock was up this week. Accrding to the Associated Press, Wal-Mart pleased investors with its announcement that it "plans to bring costs in line with a slowdown in sales and earnings growth." Even so, the company reportedly plans to open stores in 600 new locations next year, reports the AP.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Monday's Wal-Mart Events

Here is a short clip courtesy of the guys from JWJ, on one of the demonstrations that went on in NYC Monday. We're putting together the rest of our media from the days events, thanks again to everyone who came out and showed their support.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Wal-Mart at 30 NYC

Last night 40-50 concerned community members joined at 30 Rock to tell Lee Scott he and his irresponsible company are not welcome in New York City. It was a successful night filled with chants that surely intimidated the Wal-Mart entourage. Scott, who received an environmental award last night, knows Wal-Mart is not welcome in New York(taken from Wal-Mart's fake blog
Our organization has brought people of all backgrounds together to fight for a common cause. We have all seen the
facts of the affect Wal-Mart has on communities, how they treat their employees, and their disrespect for labor laws. along with the help of community activists has stopped them from opening stores throughout the five boroughs. We Thank all of you for your support.
Press from yesterday's events...

NY Metro:

Friday, October 20, 2006

Join us in Welcoming Lee Scott to Manhattan...

Monday October 26th

5:30 pm

30 Rockerfeller Center 49th st. Entrance


Continues their Attempt to Enter Our City

Lee Scott To Be Honored

Show him Low Wages,

Increased Polution, No Benefit Jobs AREN'T WELCOME IN NYC

For More Information and to RSVP Please


Wake up Wal-Mart T-Shirts will be Distributed at the Event

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Jury: Wal-Mart to Pay Workers $78M-Plus

Wal-Mart must pay at least $78.5 million for violating Pennsylvania labor laws by forcing employees to work through rest breaks and off the clock, a jury found Friday.

Plaintiffs' lawyer Michael Donovan will also seek another $62 million in damages because the jury found that Wal-Mart acted in bad faith. Common Pleas Judge Mark Bernstein is expected to rule on that issue in the next few weeks.

The jury awarded the exact amount the plaintiffs sought, rejecting Wal-Mart's claim that some employees chose to work through breaks and that the loss of a few minutes' pay here or there was insignificant.

Reason #439 Not to let Wal-Mart in our Unique City.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Wal-Marting Across America - The Flog

Honestly, after reading countless articles and reports on the great people who run Wal-Mart and their PR department you learn to laugh at some of the ridiculous stunts they try and pull over the eyes of American people. Regardless of where we stand on Wal-Mart, their ethics and Public Relations are a joke. Whether it be hiring fake liberal politicians, creating fake organizations or establishing front groups now what is simply the icing on the cake, Fake couples and their Fake traveling stories.

It has finally been revealed that the humorus flog (fake blog), is a flat out PR stunt. has revealed the truth about the two travelers "Jim" and "Laura". For those of you who aren't familiar with Jim and Laura, here is a quick summary on what their blog was about...

Jim and Laura are like every American couple, hard workers just simply in search of a fabulous vacation from their full-time jobs. One day Jim and Laura had a brainstorm,
"I started thinking about all the other amazing things there are to see in this vast country of ours. And then I started thinking about how Wal-Mart — one in every town, practically — lets you park overnight for free."
Great idea, couldn't have said it better myself, this is where we encounter our first problem(s), they don't exist (yet at least). Through non-stop heavy criticism from bloggers proclaiming that Jim and Laura did not exist, they now do...Wal-Mart Watch: Identity revealed.

“Laura” is now Laura St. Claire, a freelance writer. Jim is James Thresher, a professional photographer and Washington Post employee. Freelancing although, is against his contract with the Post, which has ordered him to return Wal-Mart’s money and remove his photos from the flog.

"Wal-Mart has hired fake people," says Jonathan Rees, a labor historian and associate professor at Colorado State University at Pueblo, who has also worked as a staff researcher at the AFL-CIO. In a blog posting for the Web site The Writing On the Wal, Reese published an open letter to Laura and Jim challenging them to reveal themselves and asking who paid for their RV and gas.

When the blog was first released, many bloggers immediately knew how unrealistic the blog was. There has been plenty, not surprisingly... there’s more here, here, and elsewhere.

Businessweek sums up the entire confusting soap opera here in this report - "Jim & Laura- The Real Story"

Blogging is an independent way for regular people to voice their opinions and feelings. We're fine with Wal-Mart running a blog, what we shouldn't be fine with is the integrity of their blogs. Wal-Mart trying to create this 'hip' image that it is so far from, this is yet another example of Wal-Mart's attempt to fool their consumers. Another reason why this company is extremely messed up.

"Edelman wanted to make consumers think that Wal-Mart is a hip place that you'd want to use as the anchor point for a roadtrip. The problem is it's not. And because blogging is not a control-based medium, Edelman couldn't make Wal-Mart appear to be something it's not. It rang false, and they got caught."
--Publishing 2.0

Wal-Mart Adjusts Attendance Policy - Jury awards Wal-Mart Workers 78.4 million

Wal-Mart Adjusts Attendance Policy

Critics Say Plan Is Designed
To Pare Unhealthy Workers;
1-800 Number for Sick Days

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has enacted a new attendance policy that penalizes workers for multiple unexcused absences and requires them to call an 800 number whenever they get sick, changes critics say are part of a bigger effort to nudge out unhealthy and long-tenured employees.

Also on the labor front, a Pennsylvania jury on Friday awarded $78.4 million to thousands of Wal-Mart employees who claimed they were forced to work during rest breaks and off the clock.

Wal-Mart, of Bentonville, Ark., says the new attendance policy benefits employees by documenting their requests for time off instead of relying on harried store managers to remember each request. And it benefits shoppers by discouraging unexcused absenteeism. "It's not for tracking; it's really to ensure a more consistent application of our absentee policy," spokesman John Simley said.

The new policy instructs employees requesting time off for illness to call an 800 number to get a code and then relay that code to their store manager for approval of their absence. Previously, employees asked their store manager directly for such time off, employees say.

In addition, the new policy formalizes penalties for employees who fail to get their absences authorized or don't bother to call. Among them: Any employee with more than three unauthorized absences in a six-month span will be disciplined, and those with seven will be fired. Any employee who is absent three times during a six-month period and doesn't call the 800 number for any of the three times can be fired. And employees needing more than three consecutive sick days are encouraged to apply for an unpaid leave of absence or time off under the Family Medical Leave Act. Previously, store managers had more discretion regarding discipline for unexcused absences.

The policy change comes at a time when some of Wal-Mart's 1.3 million U.S. workers are riled by fears that the retailer wants to cut costs by attracting healthier employees and a greater percentage of part-time workers. Some employees and Wal-Mart critics decry the new policy as a way for Wal-Mart to discourage unhealthy employees by tracking sick-time use more closely, setting stricter guidelines for authorization and making the process of applying for sick leave more onerous.

"I guess they're just trying to see how many people they can get rid of," said Ramiro Gonzalez, a 49-year-old full-time worker in the produce section of a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas. "They're trying to make ways that you can mess it up so they can let you go, especially if you're a full-timer."

Wal-Mart's concerns about its soaring health-insurance costs came to light last year, when an internal memorandum authored by a top Wal-Mart official was leaked. The memo offered numerous suggestions for corralling benefits costs by luring healthier workers.

The new policy "just sends another terrible message that this company looks at its workers as a commodity," said Chris Kofinis, spokesman for Wal-Mart critic

From the employer perspective, automated telephone or Internet-based systems to track worker absences can protect employers against litigation related to providing adequate time off to workers under overlapping federal and state leave laws. "There are a lot of issues that surface when someone calls in sick," said Lisa Franke, a workplace analyst with CCH Inc., a Riverwoods, Ill., provider of employment-law information to companies. "It's really an administrative nightmare, so a lot of employers are outsourcing that to the experts and having them do the dirty work."

Unscheduled absences cost some large employers more than $1 million a year, according to a CCH survey of 323 human-resources executives last year. The survey found that unscheduled absenteeism cost employers $660 per employee per year on average last year, up from $610 the prior year.

In the Pennsylvania case, Wal-Mart was ordered by the jury to pay damages to nearly 187,000 current and former workers in that state. The class-action case had covered labor practices at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores from March 1998 through May 2006. In addition to the damages awarded by the jury, a state judge is expected to add $62 million in minimum damages required under state labor law, according to Michael Donovan, attorney for the plaintiffs in the case. That would bring total damages in the case to about $140.4 million, excluding an estimated $40 million in legal fees, he said. Wal-Mart attorney Neal Manne said he was confident the company would appeal the jury's decision.

---- Peter Loftus and James Covert contributed to this article.

Write to Kris Hudson at and Kris Maher at