View Full Version : Wal-Mart goes upscale, targets urban growth

08-30-2006, 06:31 PM
Wal-Mart Stores has apparently decided that everyday low prices in small-town America only take you so far.

In an effort to kick-start a share price that has lost a third of its value since early 2002 — while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has risen 17 percent and discount rivals Target and Costco Wholesale are also up — the retail behemoth seems focused on the urban and upscale suburban markets as the final frontier of Wal-Mart's enormous growth.

To get there, the company is experimenting with a pair of separate-but-equal endeavors. It's making nice with urban politicians and anti-Wal-Mart activists through a new ad campaign that touts its improved health insurance policy and charitable giving programs. At the same time, it's adding upscale goods to draw in a wider shopping audience interested in more than rock-bottom prices.

"The more people learn about who we are and how we strive to do better every day, the more they know that we are good for America's working families," says Wal-Mart Corporate Affairs Vice President Bob McAdam, adding that the company picked up the health insurance tab for 150,000 people with its latest initiative. The ads are due to roll out in Tucson, Ariz., and Omaha, Neb., this week.

Pacifying the critics is indeed important, say analysts, not because their anti-Wal-Mart campaigns affect the shopping decisions of the company's core rural customers (they don't), but because these critics have the ear of liberal politicians who dominate urban legislatures. And it's these bodies that have the power to keep Wal-Mart from building in the cities. Already, the company moved a planned Chicago store to a nearby suburb after the city council tried to set worker wages.


08-30-2006, 08:11 PM
I might be alone here but my hate for Wal-Mart knows no bounds...

08-30-2006, 08:12 PM

08-30-2006, 08:54 PM
I might be alone here but my hate for Wal-Mart knows no bounds...
Bro, you are not alone.