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The Big Player On The Block Is Walmart

There is hardly anyone who hasn't heard about Wal-Mart. They are a chain of warehouse style, large-scaled retail and grocery superstores that sell things in discount all over the country and beyond. It is so large that its stock on the New York Stock Exchange trades under WMT symbol.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is still the owners of the store chain called Sam's club. This corporation has grown so much that it is now known worldwide for its dominating hold on the discount retail and grocery markets.

Sadly, this success also comes with lots of criticisms regarding its business practices. No matter what the critics say, the company has continued to grow and is now the largest retailer in the world.

Apart from that, it is also the second largest corporation in the world. Will you believe this? If you think you have heard enough, wait for this - Wal-Mart's revenue from its businesses is far higher than that of most countries in the world. If you think that is enough, know that it is now the largest non-government employer in the whole of North America. Whew, right?

The founder of Wal-Mart is Sam Walton. He opened the first store in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962. Seven years later (1969 precisely) it had incorporated into Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Three years after (1972 precisely), it went public on the New York Stock Exchange. Growing steadily, it went across the entire United States.

Just twenty eight years after it opened its first stores, it had become the biggest retailer in the United States. Wal-Mart moved into Mexico and Canada in 1991 and 1994 respectively. It was incorporated into the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 1997. It Wal-Mart stores grew into the United Kingdom in 2005 and also in Puerto Rico, bringing close to 300 billion dollars yearly.

As you know about such big corporations, Wal-Mart gets lots of attention from the public. Wal-Mart, like Starbucks and other such large corporations, have out competed other smaller stores owned by families in a particular region.

That is mainly why it has become a source of scorn and people oppose it. That is why it isn't hard to find public protests against Wal-Mart, especially in areas where they are opening new stores. The small retail stores in such areas know their business might be closing so they protest.

Also, one of the areas of highest criticism against Wal-Mart is its use of overseas labor, low employee wages, weak environmental policies and strong resistance to unionization. All these have caused more and more oppositions to their growth and operations, especially among the general populace.

As a way of handling these growing criticisms, Wal-Mart has launched a very intensive Public Relations efforts, from 2005. These include series of commercials which show Wal-Mart as taking great care of all its employees. They now have a Public Relations firm Edelman.

To touch the hearts of the populace, they have seriously increased their charitable contributions. For example, they donated 17 million staggering dollars to the recent Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

But of course, despite all these they are still being criticized heavily, worldwide. Fortunately for them their sales do not seem to be affected by all these criticisms. This shows that the customers are very pleased with doing business with them.

Submitted by:

Bill Johnson

Bill Johnson - Consumer Heaven




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