Wal-Mart Changes Its Strategy

Wal-Mart experiments with a "grassroots approach" to garnering support for its expansion into urban areas.
May 26, 2004, 6am PDT | Connie Chung
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

In Chicago, Wal-Mart "has gone into churches, schools and community halls, winning over ministers and local residents in the two communities where the company wants to build stores....Their message, resonating among people tired of traveling to the suburbs for low-priced patio furniture or clothes." Wal-Mart characterizes this new approach as a "public relations experiment" and plans to apply similar strategies to garner support in major cities across the country.

Despite potential detrimental effects that Wal-Mart can have on a community, many community leaders contend that corporate support of such magnitude in economically disinvested neighborhoods can be an opportunity to address other issues, including bank redlining and deteriorating schools, and "help turn their predominantly African-American neighborhoods into shopping meccas for low- to middle-income families." Although Wal-Mart is making promises to hire locally, give competitive wages, etc., no formal agreements have been made--leaving many other community groups wary of Wal-Mart’s willingness to follow through on its promises.

Thanks to Connie Chung

Full Story:
Published on Sunday, May 23, 2004 in The Chicago Tribune
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email