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Poor Defenseless Wal-Mart

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On January 13, 2005 @ 9:57 am In Finance | Comments Disabled

Does this PR campaign by Wal-Mart to "Straighten the Record, and Get the Truth Out There" strike anyone else as surreal — Or is it just me?

This is the largest retailer in the world, with over a million employees and a 1/4 trillion dollars in annual sales [1]. Their CFO was the Guest Host on Squawkbox; The company took out full page ads in 100 newspapers. The wounded giant act comes across more like proaganda than a "record correcting" mission.

I guess that the onslaught from a few bloggers [2], a book [3], and dozens of discrimination suits were too much for the defenseless behemoth.

As far as Investors are concerned, there are some very legitimate issues worth addressing. Some states, like California and Vermont, are none-too-thrilled to be part of the ongoing Wal-martization of America — cheap imported goods, displacement of small communities, labor issues, loss of manufacturing / clothing jobs, traffic, noise etc. These issues might be suggesting that the easy part of Wal-Mart’s national expansion is likely in the 9th inning.

In light of that, the wounded goliath act comes across as rather disengenous PR ploy.

Disclosure: I’m more of a Target shopper than Wal-Mart — so thats my bias.

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URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2005/01/poor-defenseless-wal-mart/

URLs in this post:

[1] 1/4 trillion dollars in annual sales: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/ks?s=WMT

[2] few bloggers: http://www.walmartwatch.com/

[3] book: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0805063897/qid=1105627222/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/102-4529470-0078540?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

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