Quoted – Black Friday walkout: why Wal-Mart is focus of labor’s struggle – Christian Science Monitor

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walmart beijing (Photo credit: galaygobi)

Wal-Mart‘s low-cost recipe for success is under attack from the threatened Black Friday walkout as workers protest low wages and benefit cuts. The retailer is fighting back, accusing organized labor of making trouble.

As the hottest shopping day of the retail calendar looms, the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, is embroiled in a battle to defend its image, even its formula for success. A growing number of employees, protesting low wages and benefit cuts, is vowing to walk out on Black Friday.

“Wal-Mart has become the poster child for all the issues surrounding labor right now,” says Scott Testa, a Philadelphia-based business consultant and blogger who has studied Wal-Mart’s business practices extensively. The company has implemented aggressive anti-union measures, he notes, closing a store inCanada rather than negotiate.

The issues at stake are not peripheral, says Mr. Testa, adding that they go to the very soul of Wal-Mart’s business model. The Arkansas-based company, founded a half-century ago by Sam Walton, lives and dies by its ability to cut costs, he says.

Testa notes that Wal-Mart has evolved over the years by dwelling on the fringes of urban areas.

“Many of the municipalities where Wal-Mart has thrived were happy to give the company big open spaces of under-used land, where there was no development,” he says, adding that employees in hard-hit regions have been grateful for the jobs.

But now that the company is expanding into major urban areas such as Los AngelesChicago, andBoston, “they are experiencing a kind of worker pushback that they have largely been able to avoid,” adds Testa.

 

http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2012/1121/Black-Friday-walkout-why-Wal-Mart-is-focus-of-labor-s-struggle

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Quoted – Sales rise, retailers optimistic – The Chronicle

Sales rise, retailers optimistic

By LOU WILIN

Retailers report stronger Black Friday sales this year than last year and they are cautiously optimistic about the rest of the Christmas season.

“So far, so good,” said Debbi Baker, store manager of Christopher & Banks, a women’s clothing store at Findlay Village Mall. “My Black Friday was better (than last year’s).”

David Lazar, store manager of Elder-Beerman at the mall, was cheerier.

“We are happy. We are very, very happy,” with Elder-Beerman’s sales numbers last weekend, he said.

National and regional research companies reported slight sales increases last weekend from a year ago.

In Ottawa, Walmart Manager Shane Sidle is patient.

“Things have been steady, steady with last year,” he said. Sales will probably strengthen in the 10 days before Christmas, Sidle said.

“The last couple of years, that is how it has been,” he said.

The recession has lowered retailers’ sales expectations, and rightly so.

“Consumers are very leery about spending money over the holidays,” said Scott Testa, business administration professor at Cabrini College, Radnor, Pa.

Retailers are coping by spreading out the shopping season. Christopher & Banks at the mall got its Christmas season inventory in early November, three weeks earlier than usual, said Baker, the manager. She even got resort wear, outfits women will wear on trips in the next season. Baker does not usually see those until mid-December.

“They kind of bulked me up, and whatever I have got, it has to go,” she said.

In Fostoria, Kmart Assistant Manager Bridget Weslow said the store’s layaway policy “is what is keeping people coming in.”

Testa said people this year are seeking more practical gifts, like tires, tools and car wax instead of, say, jewelry.

But flat screen TVs and video game systems are still hot items, Sidle said.

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Quoted – Many stores to conduct business on Thanksgiving Day – Walletpop.com

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Image by djlicious via Flickr

Many retail employees are forgoing Turkey Day with their families to offer a jump start on the Black Friday shopping mania.

According to the USA Today, Wal-Mart, Old Navy, and Radio Shack on the West Coast will entertain shoppers who decide to splurge after a hearty meal.

So will Toys R Us, says an earlier Walletpop post and Boscov’s and certain Banana Republic/ Gap stores. These retailers will join Kmart, Walgreen’s and other drug and grocery stores who began the tradition years ago.

“It’s a big trend for retailers,” said Scott Testa, professor of business administration at Cabrini College in Philadelphia in a phone interview. “I think a certain percentage of the population will go and shop especially if they can beat the Black Friday crowd.”

http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2009/11/25/many-stores-to-conduct-business-on-thanksgiving-day/

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Quoted – How to Get the Biggest Savings this Holiday Season – Denver Post

A typical Best Buy store at the Ravenswood 101...
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Stores are stocking less inventory this holiday season, so Traci Lunsford decided to start her shopping last month.

“I will receive the bill in November and have it paid off by December,” says the Thornton resident, who has been using coupons and daily deals from Upromise.com to help curtail her holiday spending.

Marketing experts say zealous coupon clippers and tenacious bargain hunters such as Lunsford will reap the greatest savings this holiday season.

But they also warn that shoppers are unlikely to find the usual last-minute price cuts in the days before Christmas.

Why? To compensate for soft sales throughout the past year, retailers are keeping inventories low to prevent stock from languishing on shelves. Black Friday and Cyber Monday — the weekdays immediately after Thanksgiving — promise shoppers the deepest discounts.

“The more expensive the item . . . the more open the store will be to negotiating,”says Scott Testa, a business-administration professor at Cabrini College in Philadelphia.

“Consumers have nothing to lose,” he adds. “If you have money to spend, you will get as good a deal as you will ever see.”

Wal-Mart and Best Buy both advertise price-matching. To take advantage of it, shoppers should arm themselves with mailers and inserts before hitting the stores.

“Bring your laptop into the store,” Testa says. “Show them the ad you found on Amazon with a $999 price compared to their $1,050 and ask them if there is something they can do for you.”

http://www.denverpost.com/lifestyles/ci_13835889

http://www.dailycomet.com/article/20091125/ARTICLES/911209864/1008?Title=How-to-get-the-biggest-savings-this-holiday-shopping-season

http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091127/LIFE/911270302

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