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 – Sears/Kmart offers to rent Valley stores

This is a row of Cash Registers at a Target st...
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n an unusual move, the owner of Sears and Kmart is publicly seeking out additional businesses to operate in its stores, including several Valley locations.

Sears Holdings Corp. launched a website earlier this year detailing information about store locations available to rent — in both closed stores and ones still open.

Five Valley stores show up on http://www.shcrealty.com as places the company would welcome new businesses operating within the existing stores. They include Kmart stores in Clovis, Coalinga and Kingsburg, and Sears stores and their auto centers in Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis and Manchester Center in Fresno.

“Traditionally when retailers look to do things like this, they usually do it quietly,” said Scott Testa, a professor who follows the retail business at Cabrini College in Philadelphia. “The idea that they would do this in a public forum … is in some ways very unique.”

New tenants could locate within a current store — either a cart or a shop — or in another empty space in a Sears Holdings-owned shopping center.

“It’s basically letting people know that in these locations we have some extra space,” said Sears Holdings spokeswoman Kim Freely. “If the partnership makes sense, we could make some additional retail space available for other vendors.”

Freely used the example of Edwin Watts Golf Shops, which is opening 12 shops inside Sears stores around the country.

It’s not unusual for stores to open within larger stores — think Starbucks inside Target or Sephora’s recent appearance inside J.C. Penney stores.

Although not typical, Sears’ real-estate website is just another form of marketing, said Walter Smith, senior vice president of Grubb & Ellis/ Pearson Commercial realty firm in Fresno.

“They’re just helping to make sure they get as much exposure as possible,” he said.

Sears owns many of the properties its stores are in, Smith said.

When billionaire investor and Kmart chairman Edward Lampert bought Sears and merged the two companies in 2005, Wall Street analysts expected the new company to make money selling valuable locations.

The real estate crash prevented that, however, and Sears Holdings was stuck with 3,900 full-line and specialty stores. The company closed 60 underperforming stores in 2009, but remains a company “that is struggling to find its way,” competing against heavy hitters like Target and Walmart, Testa said.

Testa said the website could be a way for the company to find out if it can make more money leasing to another retailer instead of operating a Sears or Kmart, but Freely from Sears Holdings said that is not the intent.

Smith and representatives from Sierra Vista and Sears Holdings all said no deals for new stores inside Sears or Kmart stores in the Valley had been finalized.

But, said Smith, “it could be happening in our market, and that’s OK.”

http://www.tradingmarkets.com/news/stock-alert/kmrt_shld_sears/kmart-offers-to-rent-valley-stores-980973.html

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Quoted – Target making inroads into Walmart’s base, survey finds

Wal-Mart location in Moncton
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Everyone loves to hate Walmart, and yet the Goliath has always been the undisputed retail leader with unbeatable prices and customer base. But could that be changing?

The other area where Target is scoring is store locations, said Scott Testa, professor of business administration at Cabrini College.

“Walmart wants to be in the outskirts, where there’s not a huge population density,” Testa said in a phone interview. “Target is going where Walmart isn’t — more dense and urban locations.”

But Target still has a long way to go before it can surpass its towering opponent that offers eye-popping deals. For now it seems to be putting up a good fight.

http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2010/05/05/target-making-inroads-into-walmarts-base-survey-finds/

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Quoted – Buncombe County’s 4th Walmart Supercenter: Is the war over?

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 08:  A Wal-Mart customer...
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Normally, a new Walmart Supercenter going up around here draws a lot of attention and excitement — positive and negative. Some folks get all riled up about traffic, while others are busting at the seams to drop their cash there.

To me that seems to me like a lot of Walmarts in a county of 230,000 people. But to Scott Testa, a professor of business administration at Cabrini College in Philadelphia, it seems “not unusual at all.”

“When it comes to saturation it seems like a lot, but they like to go in areas and really dominate,” Testa said. “And the Supercenter format is really what they see their future in — they see the growth in the grocery sector, and that’s where they’re building a lot of momentum.”

While a lot of retail has been smarting during the Great Recession, Walmart keeps chugging along — overall, net sales for the fourth quarter of 2010 were $112.8 billion, up 4.6 percent. Worldwide, it operates 8,416 stores and Sam’s Club locations, employing more than 2.1 million people.

But, as Testa notes, we’ve probably gotten to the point where all the businesses that would’ve have been driven out by Walmart are already gone.

Testa, the college professor, said Walmart historically is “known as the most anti-union organization that exists,” but he also noted that the company has to compete on the open market for employees, “and it’s supply and demand.”

http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20100221/NEWS01/302210056

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Quoted – Costco sails on while Walmart’s Super plans stall – Lodi News Sentinel

Costco
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In Lodi, the community has virtually rolled out the red carpet in anticipation of the Costco that could soon be built in the Reynolds Ranch center.

Meanwhile, attempts to construct a Super Walmart on Lower Sacramento Road and Kettleman Lane have been met with bitter resistance for the better part of a decade.

What is the difference?

However, one professor understands that this is a situation where perception and reality are the same thing.

Scott Testa, a marketing professor at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, said the public’s beliefs about the two companies are shaped by how they treat both employees and customers.

“Costco has an image portrayed as not anti-union because it pays its workers better and their health benefits are better,” he said.

He said he isn’t attacking Walmart or hyping Costco, but merely stating the public perception.

“It is what it is,” he said.

http://www.lodinews.com/articles/2010/01/30/news/2_costco-walmart_100130.txt

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