After struggling for years to turn around sluggish sales, Sam’s Club is now pursuing a more fundamental fix: breaking away from the low-income consumers who shop at its parent, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. “We want to be less of a Wal-Mart,” said Rosalind Brewer, chief executive of the warehouse-club retailer that has tried more modest moves like improving online ordering and adding such services as tax preparation that appeal to small-business members. The new strategy means carrying fewer products that appeal to households that earn $45,000 a year—Wal-Mart’s sweet spot—in favor of targeting wealthier shoppers with more organic food, brand-name clothes and 1,000-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, she said during a recent interview. Sam’s struggle to shake an early focus on mainstream consumers has become a liability as club stores have evolved into a favorite among more affluent shoppers who are able to pay a membership fee for access to discounts on items from large screen TVs to bulk boxes of peaches. At the same time, big- box retailers and grocery stores have embraced discounted bulk sizes, without a membership fee. Rival Costco Wholesale Corp. has thrived, building stores in wealthy enclaves and delivering strong annual sales gains.Do you know anyone who would buy 1,000-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets at Sam's Club? Me neither. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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Rep. Paul Gillmor (R-Ohio).
First, let's look at the Weekly Wal-Mart Shopper. When I first started to look, in the 2000 election, this was a bedrock conservative and Republican constituency. The WWMS could be counted upon to vote solidly for George W. Bush in both his election and re-election, as well as support the candidacies of members of Congress and the Senate. They were white, self-described conservatives, tending to be Born Again, evangelical, and rural. And they told us that Wal-Mart was not only a place to shop for low prices but also a place that represented their homespun values.Homespinning has changed.
Today 30% of Weekly Wal-Mart Shoppers call themselves liberal (up from 12%), 31% are moderate (up from 24%), and 39% are conservative (down from 60%). Only 35% own a gun, 40% say they are members of the Creative Class, and 45% now have passports. Interestingly, 19% say they have gone without food for 24 hours at a time "because of a lack of money or food", compared with 6% who said so in 2010 (the first time we were able to compare). Weekly Wal-Mart Shoppers voted for Barack Obama twice. Some of this has to do with the spread of Wal-Marts to big cities in larger metropolitan areas. In the process the chain has been able to cater to a much more diverse group of people. A good deal has had to do with economic hard times which has also served to democratize (and Democratize) its customer base. Today 30% of Weekly Wal-Mart Shoppers call themselves liberal (up from 12%), 31% are moderate (up from 24%), and 39% are conservative (down from 60%). Only 35% own a gun, 40% say they are members of the Creative Class, and 45% now have passports. Interestingly, 19% say they have gone without food for 24 hours at a time “because of a lack of money or food”, compared with 6% who said so in 2010 (the first time we were able to compare). Weekly Wal-Mart Shoppers voted for Barack Obama twice. Some of this has to do with the spread of Wal-Marts to big cities in larger metropolitan areas. In the process the chain has been able to cater to a much more diverse group of people.Zogby rightly points to the Republican birthed Great Recession as a major factor.
A good deal has had to do with economic hard times which has also served to democratize (and Democratize) its customer base.Can radicalize and revolutionize be far behind? Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
Westport LLC, which builds 164-foot luxury yachts at its Port Angeles shipyard, has purchased the old Walmart building in east Port Angeles. The 130,000-square-foot building on 24 acres off U.S. Highway 101 was acquired to house Westport's cabinet shop, engineering department and administrative staff, Westport General Manager David Hagiwara said in an interview with Peninsula Daily News waterfront columnist David Sellars. Hagiwara did not reveal the purchase price. The building and acreage had been for sale for almost $3 million. Needing more space, Westport plans to move its operations to the building, empty since 2010, from the Port of Port Angeles industrial park near the airport where it has built cabinets for its yachts for almost 15 years.Maybe Walmart gave Westport a deal in exchange for consideration on two or three of those 164-foot yachts. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
Twenty area youth roamed the aisles at Walmart Friday morning, inspecting shoes and picking out new clothes for the upcoming school year. One young man excitedly passed up the plain black or brown leather belts in favor of one covered in pictures of Spider-man, smiling that his choice was allowed. This kind of wish-fullfillment was made possible through the partnership of the Salvation Army and the Walmart on Briarcrest Drive in Bryan. Salvation Army Lt. Michelle Walker said that each of the students selected were provided with $100 to shop, school supplies, and a backpack.I cannot imagine how the Walmart parents of school-age children might have felt watching the exercise and perhaps wondering why Walmart wasn't so kind to them. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
The Federation of Informal Workers’ Organizations of Nigeria, representing millions of working people in the informal sectors of the Nigerian economy, has asked Walmart, the global retail trade giant, not to come and invest in Nigeria. Despite the optimism by many, the workers argued that ordinary people will suffer in the long run. The workers, in an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State, signed by Gbenga Komolafe, General Secretary, said they are concerned because millions of retail businesses including street and market vendors, some of who happen to be their members face the threat of being displaced from business by this global behemoth. Shelley Broader, President and Chief Executive Officer of Walmart Incorporated Europe, Middle East, Africa and Canada recently paid a visit to Governor Ambode in a quest to establish business presence in Nigeria starting with Lagos. Ambode welcomed the Walmart executives while pledging his commitment to create “an enabling environment” for the global retail company because “the presence of the brand in Lagos will go a long way not only to create jobs for our teeming youths, but also to boost the economy of the state…” However, the workers disagreed. According to them: “As it is, millions of jobs have been lost in Nigeria in the last two decades as a result of Nigeria’s extreme open market policy which has turned the country to a dumping ground of, very often, fake, sub-substandard goods from all over the world especially, in recent years, China. Given Nigeria’s well known infrastructural deficiencies, Nigerian manufactured goods stood no chance as hundreds of factories closed down, rendering millions of Nigerians jobless or with low paying work in the informal sectors of the economy.”So, Nigerians know of what they speak and, in the past, they have not been above a bit of monkeywrenching to repel foreign invaders. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.Walmart, Wal-Mart
When a man shot himself following an incident at Wal-Mart in Beech Grove, it was the last straw for that town’s mayor. He’s declared the business a public nuisance. On Thursday morning, 42-year-old Gillace Monroe Samples tried to steal from the store, police said. After being caught by security, Samples waved his gun at employees before running to a nearby restaurant and shooting himself in the head as police closed in. He remained in critical condition at Eskenazi Hospital as of Friday afternoon. The shooting is the latest in a string of high-profile incidents that have been connected to the troubled Wal-Mart store over the last two months, joining a brawl between two women in the store’s shampoo aisle and a separate act of shoplifting that ended with a crash that killed a 63-year-old woman. As a public nuisance, Wal-Mart can be assessed fines when officers are needed there. To Beech Grove Mayor Dennis Buckley, it’s one of the only remaining options. “We’re better than that, our community is better than that and I don’t want to get a phone call every day saying that somebody pulled a gun at Wal-Mart and has done something out of line,” Buckley said.This is the kind of action typically taken against a bar with too many brawls. Could Buckley be starting a national movement? I hope so. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.Walmart, Wal-Mart
Walmart 2.0 is new, aggressive and is desperate to leave the past behind. The world's largest retailer is promising to leave no stone unturned as it gears up to kickstart its second innings in India. This time however it promises to only play with a straight bat. The retailer has just opened its first cash and carry store in the city of Agra. Spread across 60,000 square feet, the new retail outlet is the company's largest in India thus far. The calm veneer of the swanky store however can barely hide the tempestuous phase Walmart was caught in little over a year back. Not only did its much touted joint venture partnership with Sunil Mittal led Bharti Enterprises reached a near acrimonious end but it also found itself in the middle of an internal anti-corruption probe and an external government led investigation for possible breach in foreign investment rules. However the government probe remained inconclusive.Can Walmart 2.0 be anything but an exercise in wanking? Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
I had taken a vow not to write about Wal-Mart and New York City, having spent considerable time in columns and blogs supporting the retail giant's entry into the city. The chain had simply left too many people high and dry when it decided it wasn't up to the challenge of taking on politicians who opposed it. But a new poll Monday by Quinnipiac makes the issue worth revisiting because it reminds us that people like Mayor Bill de Blasio, most of the City Council and especially former Council Speaker Christine Quinn (the key roadblock last time) are ignoring the desires of most New Yorkers. As the charts make clear, Wal-Mart has always commanded the backing of a majority of city residents. The support is greatest among those who are the least well off because they would benefit the most from its low prices and the way it forces others to lower costs.So, will Walmart jump now? Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
According to the police report, [truck driver Marvin] Steed said he was working for Phaze Concrete---a construction company based in Hildale, Utah, home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. A Salt Lake Tribune investigation has found Phaze is a major financier of the FLDS Church. Former employees have said large portions of their pay were sent to the sect and that Phaze used underage employees, some of whom drove heavy machinery.So, how does Walmart feel about where the company's construction dollars go?
In response to Tribune questions, Delia Garcia, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, issued a statement. "General contractors are selected through a competitive bid process," the statement said. "General contractors are responsible for hiring, paying and managing the subcontractors. We expect all General contractors and their subcontractors to comply with all applicable local, state and federal laws as well as Walmart's Ethics Standards."Translation: Walmart is not responsible. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
Ice cream melts based on the ingredients, including cream. Ice cream with more cream will generally melt at a slower rate, which is the case with our Great Value ice cream sandwiches.I'll wait while you clean up whatever just came out of your nose when you started laughing so hard your sides hurt. OK? Feel better now? Here's the story from Ashley Lutz at Business Insider:
A Cincinnati mother is concerned that the Wal-Mart ice cream sandwiches she bought for her family aren't melting in the summer heat. Christie Watson told local news station WCPO she was shocked upon finding a nearly intact ice cream sandwich her son had left outside for 12 hours. Temperatures are topping 80 degrees in Cincinnati this week. Intrigued, Watson left another one of the sandwiches outside for 12 hours — and found that the ice cream had barely melted. "I thought to myself: What am I feeding to my children?" Watson said. WCPO did a similar test and left Wal-Mart Great Value brand ice cream sandwiches, Klondike bars, and a cup of Haagen-Dazs outside in the hot sun for 30 minutes. "The Wal-Mart sandwich, though it melted a bit, remained the most solid in appearance, and still looked like a sandwich," the station reports.I'm thinking that Walmart has tapped into the secret of the Hostess Twinkie, famous staying soft and moist after years on the grocery shelf; not that I'd want to actually eat one. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
Wal-Mart’s minimum-wage hike this year, intended to improve morale and retain employees, is having the opposite effect for many senior workers who didn’t get a raise, according to a new Bloombergreport. New Wal-Mart workers started making a minimum of $9 an hour in April and will get at least $10 an hour in February. Some workers are complaining that new employees are enjoying the pay increase, while others aren’t seeing any raise at all. “It is pitting people against each other,” Charmaine Givens-Thomas, a 10-year Wal-Mart veteran, told Bloomberg. “It hurts morale when people feel like they aren’t being appreciated. I hear people every day talking about looking for other jobs and wanting to remove themselves from Wal-Mart and a job that will make them feel like that.” Some workers suspect that their hours are being cut and annual raises reduced in order to pay for the wage increase for newer workers — a claim that Wal-Mart denies. “It took me four four years to get to $10.80. When minimum wage goes up we don’t receive a pay increase unless we are under the minimum,” one worker wrote in a comment on Walmart’s corporate blog, CBS reported. “Now our 2 newest associates are making $10.75 and my annual raise is going from 40 cents down to 26 cents. Apparently experience doesn’t get rewarded.”This could be sour grapes. This could be a bump in the road. This could be the straw the breaks the camel's back and begins a ground swell of demand for a union. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
Recently, the Governor of Lagos, Nigeria’s most cosmopolitan State, was full of smiles and excitement as he hosted regional executives of America’s global retail chain, Wal-Mart. Governor Akinwunmi Ambode rolled out the red carpet and literally gave the Wal-Mart envoys a blank cheque of support from the Lagos State Government for the anticipated anchoring of Wal-Mart’s ship on Lagos and, definitely, Nigeria’s shores. The vastly reported news of Wal-Mart’s plan to branch into Nigeria---Africa’s largest economy---through Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos is a game changer for all actors in Nigeria’s retail landscape. But beyond the obvious, the reception accorded to Wal-Mart and the support that has been pledged to it is typical of Africa’s race to the bottom in the search for foreign direct investments.So, what specifically does Oguamanam worry about?
Wal-Mart will naturally revel in the over-advertised trump card of the transnational corporate establishment as a mega employment generator. African governments have been known to not interrogate or scrutinize these assurances, which they often habitually over compensate to the detriment of national interest. And foreign direct investors expectedly play the script well since they are regularly courted across the continent in a zero sum competition game. It is simple: “If you do not make it ‘conducive’ for us to invest in your country, we will go elsewhere. After all, we are in a globalized economy”.Sounds reasonable to me. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
I read with consternation the statement credited to Governor Ambode of Lagos State when a delegation of Wal-Mart executives paid him a visit recently. There was something out of our character or un-Nigerian with the Governor’s exuberance and unusual generosity in his unequivocal commitment to assist the corporation to establish in his State. I formulated two theories as I read the report in the Punch Newspaper. The first was that Governor Ambode could be genuinely committed to job creation. The other was his obvious desire to boost the economy of Lagos State. My conclusion when I came back to myself was that Governor Ambode demonstrated clearly that he was passionately pro-business. Nevertheless, a part of me feels compelled to interrogate the propriety of Wal-Mart’s presence in my country at this time, and that is the purpose of this piece.Interrogate on Ojukwu:
My concern with Wal-Mart is that it does not only offer products at competitively low prices, it also captures the retail market to the detriment of the smaller businesses. When, therefore Wal-Mart enters a third world country like Nigeria, where it could potentially dominate the retail market sector of the economy, I think I should be concerned. I am also disturbed by the nature and implication of the Governor’s representation. Let us dispassionately consider what the Governor said among other things: “What I stand here to offer is the commitment to make the investment climate favourable to investors. We want to ensure that whatever it is that would make the business bigger for you, we are committed to it.” He continues, “I want to assure you that if it is in the area of land permits or authorisations for issues that relate to setting up business, we are committed to making sure that we fast-track and do it as transparent as possible to allow more business to come to Lagos.” The Governor’s generosity in language made me pause for a moment; was Ambode overwhelmed or do I say bamboozled by the presence of white men when he made those unrestrained representations? Was the Governor under some influence due to the ingestion of some intoxicating spirit that overwhelmed his capacity for discernment? Is Ambode in the same league with Rocha’s of Imo State, who had a handshake with President Obama and felt that he had “been with the Lord?” Does Ambode truly know Wal-Mart and its reputation? Is Governor Ambode apprised of the economic and social implication of establishing a Wal-Mart conglomerate in Lagos State? I thought that our experience with the foreign extractive corporations should warn us to verify any foreign corporation that intends to invest in our soil.My suggestion would be yes. The governor has been fully aprised and is rubbing his hands together gleefully just like many of his counterparts here in the United States who only see the cash rolling in. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.