October 20, 2004

All About Wal-Mart

Nice report on all things Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart: Its place in the retail world (Part I)
 
Wal-Mart has emerged from the battle of discount retailers as the undisputed leader of the retail industry, taking the top spot on STORES Magazine's most recent list of Top 100 retailers. The company brought in net sales of $256.3 billion in fiscal 2004, according to its annual report, and is frequently cited as the world's largest private employer. Wal-Mart's growth has not come without controversy, particularly over its economic impact and labor policies. Regardless, Wal-Mart continues to forge new territory in retail practices and technology, is a guiding force in the U.S. economy, can affect the fortunes of countless suppliers and is often a microcosm for issues facing the entire industry.

The first part of this two-part NRF Special Report focuses on Wal-Mart's business strategies, its impact on the retail landscape, issues concerning its suppliers, and recent company performance. Part II of this Special Report will run on Thursday, Sept. 23 and will address public opinion, labor and legal issues, competition and international trends.

 
At A Glance 
Business Strategy
Wal-Mart's Supercenter strategy continues to evolve: Although there has been backlash against big-box stores in many urban areas, Wal-Mart's Supercenters are being welcomed by smaller communities where shopping choices are limited and jobs are scarce. The smaller towns are eager to benefit from the extra tax revenue the stores will generate. Los Angeles Times (Abstract text) (9/10)
Perception and Impact
Wal-Mart CEO confronts image issues: Facing resistance to new stores in several communities, as well as highly-publicized labor lawsuits, Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott Jr. recently spoke about improving the chain's reputation by promoting the positive changes that have been made under his leadership.   USA TODAY/Reuters (9/8)
 Audio interview: The BBC talks with Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott Jr. about the company's growth, criticisms and effect on the U.S. job market. (Audio player required.)   BBC (9/2)
Supplier Relations
With its unprecedented size, Wal-Mart has a great deal of control on its suppliers prices and technology. Inc.com provides an in-depth, step-by-step guide on how to become a Wal-Mart supplier.   Inc.com (11/1)
Company Performance
Wal-Mart recently posted a downward revision of its sales forecast, but separately, Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott Jr. has said the company should rebound in time for the holiday season. National Public Radio discusses how this sales revision could impact the presidential election.   National Public Radio (RealPlayer required) (9/9)
The News
Access an extensive collection of articles about Wal-Mart from SmartBrief's news archive. To register for this free service, simply type in the e-mail address at which you receive SmartBrief and create a password. Sign up now.
  From our Sponsor
  
 Buxton is the industry leader in customer analysis for the retail industry. We incorporate the most comprehensive market research information available to identify your existing and potential customers for site selection and target marketing. With proprietary methodologies, like our drive-time trade area modeling, we have served over 1,000 clients from various concepts, including Pier 1 Imports, Bass Pro Shops, The Container Store, FedEx Kinko's, Dollar Tree Stores, Ben & Jerry's, GameStop and California Pizza Kitchen. Best of all, our management staff represents over 500 years of hands-on executive retail experience. We know retail. Find out more about us at www.buxtonco.com. 
 
 
Business Strategy 
Real Estate
Wal-Mart has faced both opposition and support for its store expansion plans, depending on the locale, political climate and economic impact. As a result, it has had to adapt its approach to changing circumstances.
 Wal-Mart redevelops existing urban sites as resistance to new building remains: With a growing wave of bans on new big-box developments around the country, Wal-Mart is turning to an alternative strategy of redeveloping existing retail sites that have been abandoned by other developers, experts say. In the Atlanta area, the retail giant is working to develop three urban stores, each about 225,000 square feet, at sites once occupied by other businesses.   GlobeSt.com (9/2)
 Dayton area could be fertile ground for Wal-Mart grocery business: Despite resistance to Wal-Mart Supercenters in Los Angeles and Chicago neighborhoods, among others, the company is said to be planning to add three of the multipurpose stores to the existing seven in the Dayton, Ohio, area. With the national expansion of these Supercenters, Wal-Mart has become the world's largest grocery store chain.   American City Business Journals/Dayton, Ohio (free registration) (8/29)
 Wal-Mart could reconsider Chicago store if ordinance adopted: A so-called "big-box" ordinance being considered by the Chicago City Council to guarantee wage levels and certain benefits for employees of large-format retailers has caused Wal-Mart executives to put on hold plans to pursue a second Chicago store, and possibly reconsider city-approved plans for the first one on the West Side. ''We want to be part of this [West Side] community,'' spokeswomen Mia Masten said. ''But if an owners 'big-box' ordinance is passed we will have to reconsider that proposal as well.''   The Decatur Daily (Ala.)/Associated Press (9/1),   ABC7 (Chicago) (8/31)
Technology
Given its sheer size, when Wal-Mart adopts a technology -- like RFID -- it has a significant effect on the entire supply chain.
 Suppliers prepare for RFID deadline: Wal-Mart has set a deadline of January 2005 for its top suppliers to begin using RFID tags with their products. One consulting group says suppliers may feel the need to rush together a plan to meet the deadline, but ultimately they will be able realize ROI.   BPM Today/NewsFactor Network (9/8)
 Profile: Wal-Mart's CIO driving retail industry tech changes: BusinessWeek reports that Wal-Mart CIO Linda Dillman is setting the stage for retail technology. She is said to be partly responsible for this year's jump in retail industry spending on technology, as she implements such cost-saving systems as UCCnet -- technical standards that already have cut Wal-Mart's new-product data-entry time from two weeks to about two days.   BusinessWeek (5/12)
 Wal-Mart tests store delivery of online purchases: The test program offers online customers the opportunity to have certain products shipped to a nearby Wal-Mart location, where the customer can then pick them up.   The Dallas Morning News (free registration) (8/18)
Merchandising
From music to fruits and vegetables, Wal-Mart can push the revenue dial for entire industry sectors with how it merchandises its products and the policies it sets for their display. Nevertheless, Wal-Mart faces its own set of challenges in introducing new product lines to its customers.
 PBS series: Wal-Mart's impact on entertainment choices: PBS' Online NewsHour explores Wal-Mart's role as a gatekeeper of family values. Since the retailer sells vast quantities of music and movies, musicians and movie companies sometimes offer special censored versions of controversial work to sell exclusively at Wal-Mart. Without these versions, entertainers may lose up to 10% of their sales.   PBS (8/20)
 Wal-Mart TV Network steps up in-store advertising: Wal-Mart TV Network is expanding its in-store presence by adding monitors to stores, upgrading to plasma and liquid-crystal display sets and placing them at eye level in areas where shoppers tend to linger. The TV network, which was launched in 1999, is already seen by about 133 million viewers in a four-week period, which rivals the four major broadcast networks in audience reach, according to Nielsen Media Research.   The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) (9/22)
 Time rolls out women's magazine exclusively at Wal-Mart: Time Inc. introduced its All You magazine, targeted at value-oriented shoppers and covering topics from home improvement to relationships, with free issues at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart accounts for 15% of all U.S. newsstand space and has 100 million shoppers weekly.   New York Daily News (8/13),   USA TODAY (3/29),   Financial Times (London) (subscription required) (3/29)
 Wal-Mart rethinks clothing strategy: The retailer's fashion line, known as George, has not been a big hit, according to analysts and observers who say that has more to do with how it's being presented to shoppers than the actual product. Wal-Mart contends sales are ahead of plan this year, but the company is working on new apparel displays and has hired a consultant to address its lagging fashion issues.   The Sun (Baltimore)/The Wall Street Journal (free registration) (7/19)
 Looking ahead to the 2004 toy season: Last year's holiday shopping season saw Wal-Mart using toys as a loss leader, followed by Chapter 11 filings by FAO and K-B Toys. STORES Magazine says the lack of a must-have toy and a legal battle between Toys "R" Us and Amazon.com could damage the 2004 toy season.   STORES Magazine (8/2004)
Perception and Impact 
Analysis: Examining Wal-Mart's economic impact
There are a host of differing opinions about Wal-Mart's impact on the the U.S. economy. While some call its low-price policy "the greatest thing that ever happened to low-income Americans," others question its economic impact and resulting symbolism, saying the company's low-wage entry-level jobs may offer little chance of advancement into the middle class. One industry observer says Wal-Mart could easily reach $500 billion in revenues in the next four to five years, as it moves into urban and global markets.   [email protected] (free registration) (4/8)
Analysis: Can Wal-Mart reconcile its dual image?
BusinessWeek writer Amy Tsao notes that Wal-Mart evokes two different reactions from consumers -- that of "the big and friendly" retailer helping the "little-guy consumer," and that of an "unfeeling giant putting the squeeze on its little-guy employees." Tsao says Wal-Mart could learn a lot from Nike, which saw sales decline after allegations that the company used overseas sweatshop labor, only to recover by spending money on repairing its image and setting up a corporate responsibility department.   BusinessWeek (1/28)
Wal-Mart launches California ad campaign
Seeking to improve its reputation in the state that has resisted its expansion, Wal-Mart published an open letter in 15 newspapers to "set the record straight." The ads address the company's average wages and expansion plans for the state. Wal-Mart has said it plans to open 40 Supercenters in the state.   FOXNews.com (9/24),   Los Angeles Times (free registration) (9/24)
Supplier Relations 
Suppliers go the extra mile for Wal-Mart
Financial Times discusses how suppliers such as Rubbermaid, Gillette and Mattel have gone to extraordinary lengths to maintain a good relationship with Wal-Mart, even opening satellite offices by the retailer's Bentonville, Ark., headquarters.   Financial Times (London) (subscription required) (7/6)
As power shifts from supplier to retailer, Levi's learns to adjust
At its height, Levi Strauss could choose its own styles of jeans and where it would sell them. But retailers have gained more clout in recent years, so when Levi wanted to sell to Wal-Mart, it brought in a sales executive with experience selling to the retailer and had to overhaul its operations system. While some department stores expressed concern the company's decision to sell to Wal-Mart would take away their own customer base, Levi convinced them the Wal-Mart deal would lead to better overall service.   The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) (6/17)
PBS series: Inside a Wal-Mart distribution center
PBS' Online NewsHour speaks with Wal-Mart Executive Vice President for Logistics Rollin Ford about the technology the company uses to keep its warehouses and selling floors stocked with inventory. Click here to watch the segment on Real Player.   PBS (8/20)
Company Performance 
September sales appear to be on track
After a slow start for back-to-school sales, Wal-Mart has maintained its September sales forecast. The company said a late Labor Day holiday postponed many people's shopping.   Yahoo!/Reuters (9/18)
Study: Wal-Mart, Target rank high in customer service
Ease of locating products, lighting, store layout and clearly marked prices contribute to a satisfying shopping experience, BIGresearch found. "Obviously price is key to determining where people choose to shop. But after that, it's customer service," says BIGresearch's Phil Rist. Poor service may cause shoppers to switch to another store.   CNNmoney (9/7)
STORES announces Top 100 specialty retailers
The retail trade magazine notes that its list of leading specialty shops, which range from books to music to apparel, all count Wal-Mart as a top competitor. Best Buy leads the list, followed by Gap, Staples, Office Depot and Toys "R" Us.   STORES Magazine (8/2004)



























Wal-Mart: Challenges facing growth (Part II)
 
As Wal-Mart looks to retain its hold on the top spot in retailing, the company is facing a variety of challenges -- resistance in certain new markets, major labor lawsuits and a sentiment among critics that Wal-Mart may do as much harm as good for the U.S. and global economies.

The second part of this two-part NRF Special Report focuses on public opinion, labor and legal issues, competition and international trends. Part I of this Special Report, which focused on Wal-Mart's influence on the retail landscape, ran on Tuesday, Sept. 28.


 























































At A Glance 


Perspectives


Benefits and risks: One major criticism of Wal-Mart is that it threatens existing small businesses and chains when it opens in a new area. There are vastly differing views on the benefits and risks Wal-Mart brings to a new community. Washington Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein writes he's "uncomfortable with the idea that this productivity revolution requires squeezing full-time workers," but adds that the burden is on traditional grocery chains, for example, to be innovative and find new ways to stand out, rather than compete with Wal-Mart on price. What's inescapable, writes Nelson Lichtenstein, who directs the University of California-Santa Barbara's Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy, is that people in cities and towns will find themselves asking the same question: "How will Wal-Mart alter life in our community?"

Good for the industry?: Mass Market Retailers writes Wal-Mart's benefits are significant. "Wal-Mart has transformed the performance and prospects of American suppliers by challenging them to improve beyond their perceived capacity to improve." Wal-Mart is atop Fortune's list of the most admired companies for the second year in a row.

Labor and legal issues


A class-action sexual discrimination lawsuit and a federal investigation into the use of illegal aliens as cleaning contractors are two of the more highly publicized cases of Wal-Mart's labor practices coming under intense scrutiny. Some of the retailer's critics say an even more basic issue is the company's opposition to unions which they claim keeps wages low and working conditions difficult. Wal-Mart has countered that its labor practices are fair and lawful and that workers operate best when in a position to negotiate directly with management.

Joseph Hansen, international president of the United Food & Commercial Workers union, spoke with the Detroit Free Press and discussed the union's attempt to organize Wal-Mart employees. Hansen concedes Wal-Mart offers low prices, but he worries about the effects the retailer has on the economy, including lowering wages and providing minimal health care coverage. "The UFCW sees Wal-Mart as not just a problem for the UFCW. We see it as a problem for all the workers in America."  
Detroit Free Press (5/20)


Competition


Studies from Mississippi and Iowa suggest independent businesses do suffer when competing with Wal-Mart, but the Grand Forks Herald notes there is still hope when the "900-pound gorilla of the retail world" comes to town. One economics professor offers tips on retail survival in the Wal-Mart world. Food retailers can offer a specialized butcher, while other businesses rely on one-day sales and improved customer service to retain customers.  
Grand Forks Herald (N.D.) (9/5)


International


With its acquisitions of Asda in Britain and Seiyu in Japan, Wal-Mart's reach is truly global. Also, the company has been focusing on Asian growth as well. A recent Chinese rule that required foreign retailers to partner with local firms has been scrapped as part of China's commitment to liberalization required by its entry into the World Trade Organization. The move will make it easier for foreign companies such as Wal-Mart, but analysts say the government will still look for ways to help domestic and state-owned companies keep market share.  
FoodNavigator (3/19)


The News


Access an extensive collection of articles about Wal-Mart from SmartBrief's news archive. To register for this free service, simply type in the e-mail address at which you receive SmartBrief and create a password. Sign up now.






























 
From our Sponsor
  
 Buxton is the industry leader in customer analysis for the retail industry. We incorporate the most comprehensive market research information available to identify your existing and potential customers for site selection and target marketing. With proprietary methodologies, like our drive-time trade area modeling, we have served over 1,000 clients from various concepts, including Pier 1 Imports, Bass Pro Shops, The Container Store, FedEx Kinko's, Dollar Tree Stores, Ben & Jerry's, GameStop and California Pizza Kitchen. Best of all, our management staff represents over 500 years of hands-on executive retail experience. We know retail. Find out more about us at www.buxtonco.com. 
 


 


































































Perspectives 


Commentary: Will its move to urban areas change Wal-Mart?


Washington Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein writes Wal-Mart reached its current position by providing inexpensive goods in rural areas where costs are lower. But as the company looks to open in more urban markets, it is facing more pressure from unions, costs are increasing and quality may be as important as price. Even some suppliers have noticed the difference, Pearlstein writes, and have had success resisting Wal-Mart's demands for lower prices.  
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (9/12)


Analysis: Does Wal-Mart deserve its "punching bag" status?


Wal-Mart is so big and successful that many groups, such as labor unions blame the company for manufacturers moving jobs overseas, where the labor is cheaper. But some believe this "punching bag" status is misplaced. "It is not the purpose of Wal-Mart to provide 'public goods' like clean air and clean water, and make sure that everyone has a well-paying job," says a Bernard Sands analyst.  
The Christian Science Monitor (2/23)


Opinion: "Would you work at Wal-Mart?"


Daniel Weintraub spoke to applicants at a Wal-Mart in Northern California, wondering why so many people wanted jobs at the controversial retailer. He found many of the applicants had been recommended by friends or family members who worked for Wal-Mart, and many of them also seemed content with the company's wages, benefits and opportunities for advancement.  
Alameda Times-Star (Calif.) (9/23)


Opinion: Wal-Mart will emerge from legal troubles even stronger


Michael Bergdahl, a former Wal-Mart corporate employee and author of "What I Learned From Sam Walton: How to Compete and Thrive in a Wal-Mart World," writes the recent allegations against the retailer of discrimination indicate the company has a large legal target on its back. Bergdahl writes the Wal-Mart he worked at valued diversity in management, but initiatives can be lost in execution. Still, Bergdahl concludes Wal-Mart will emerge from its recent legal troubles more focused and stronger.  
Retail Merchandiser (9/1)


Big-box development


One issue that has galvanized opposition in some communities to Wal-Mart is its plans to build Supercenters.


 Opinion: Big boxes fuel American worker productivity: A social sciences professor points out that European workers were more productive than their American counterparts until the mid-1990s, when American productivity rose a shocking 5.7%. He says that most of the rise in productivity is attributed to new stores such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy, "big boxes" sprouting up off highways and in suburbs.  
Financial Times (London) (subscription required) (8/19)



 Radio Roundtable: Wal-Mart goes to the polls: A group of business writers discuss the pros and cons of Wal-Mart in the communities it serves, as well as ballot-box measures aimed at halting the retailer's growth. Click here to listen to the discussion (Audio player required).  
National Public Radio (RealPlayer required) (4/14)



 Analysis: Los Angeles wants big-box stores to provide cost/benefit reports: The city is looking to pass an ordinance that would require big-box stores to assess the economic impact of their existence in a community, including potential business displacement, job creation or loss, open-space effects and impact on city revenue. Opponents contend that the measure is designed to impede growth of stores such as Wal-Mart and Costco.  
The Christian Science Monitor (8/12)


























































Labor and Legal Issues 


Judge grants class-action status to Wal-Mart sex discrimination case


A San Francisco federal judge granted class-action status to a sexual discrimination case against Wal-Mart that could now involve up to 1.6 million female current and former employees. Wal-Mart denied it favored men over women in its employment practices and said it would appeal the judge's ruling, which it added "has absolutely nothing to do with the merits of the case." The appeal could mean it will be at least a year before any trial begins. Click here to watch a video from NBC on the judge's ruling.  
MSNBC (6/23),  
The Washington Post (free registration) (6/23),  
The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) (6/23)


 Update: Appeals court mulls class certification in Wal-Mart suit: A federal judge has suspended the discovery phase of a discrimination suit against Wal-Mart to give an appeals court time to decide whether the suit can continue as a class action. Wal-Mart says the size of the class is "unprecedented, unmanageable and unconstitutional."  
The New York Times/Bloomberg (free registration) (9/28),  
The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) (9/28)



Cleaning crew case may be settled


Wal-Mart said earlier this month it is in talks with the government over settling an investigation about the alleged use of illegal workers as cleaning crews. Last October, federal agents raided 61 Wal-Marts as well as corporate headquarters in search of evidence of illegal workers, which could bring a $10,000 fine per worker. No details of the potential settlement were revealed.  
The Washington Post (free registration) (9/4)


Fortune goes behind the effort to unionize Wal-Mart


Fortune magazine spends 10 days with United Commercial Food Workers union organizers trying to bring unions to Wal-Mart. Their tactics range from staking out parking lots, knocking on doors and even entering the stores undercover. Wal-Mart maintains it is "pro-associate, not anti-union," and did not comment on the individual matters discussed in the Fortune story. Despite not having a single unionized store after five years of trying, the union says it will keep trying for the sake of organized labor's survival.  
Fortune (5/17)


Analysis: Wal-Mart to introduce new wage system


According to a BusinessWeek report citing Wal-Mart employees and analysts, the retail giant is preparing to roll out changes to its pay system. The system would establish different pay classes and set annual raises at flat rates, not percentages. Analyst Robert Buchanan speculates the company, which declined to discuss the new plan, may be using the new pay scale to address labor concerns, but Stan Fortune, a UFCW organizer, worries the plan hurts veteran employees.  
BusinessWeek (6/3)


Wal-Mart institutes background checks


Wal-Mart now requires a criminal background check on all potential new hires to Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores. Company officials say the move adds another "level of security" to its hiring process.  
ABCNEWS/Associated Press (8/12),  
The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) (8/12)




















































Competitor Watch 


The man who stands up to Wal-Mart


Wal-Mart may be all the rage of the retail world, but Costco president James D. Sinegal isn't willing to concede anything just yet. Costco has grown to a Fortune 50 company during Sinegal's 20 years on the job, and is lauded for its low markups, high employee wages and generous merchandise exchange policy.  
Fortune (subscription required) (11/10)


Analysis: Sears banking on its "Grand" plan


Sears, Roebuck and Co. plans to operate 15 of its Sears Grand stores by the end of next year, which CBS MarketWatch describes as "Bed Bath & Beyond meets 7-Eleven and Pep Boys, with a lot of other stuff thrown in." Sears CEO Alan Lacy says the format's food offering is bringing customers in, and the company is using in-store customer kiosks to help differentiate its service from competitors Wal-Mart and Target.  
CBS MarketWatch (free registration) (8/23)


NPR report: The town that survived Wal-Mart


National Public Radio looks at the downtown business district in Viroqua, Wisc., which has managed to coexist and thrive, even with the competition of Wal-Mart. Click here to listen to the report. (Audio player required.)  
National Public Radio (RealPlayer required) (6/4)


Kroger Marketplace concept set to take on big discounters


To further compete against big-box discount chains, Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the U.S., recently announced it will soon open Kroger Marketplace stores and will include such non-grocery items as linens, lawn chairs and cooking pans, along with traditional grocery items. "One-stop shopping is an attractive concept to a lot of consumers, and the lines of retail are blurring," one industry representative said. "There is no such thing as an average customer or an average supermarket today."  
The Kansas City Star (Mo.) (free registration) (7/12)


Save-A-Lot looks to expand using Wal-Mart model


Despite having a fraction of the sales Wal-Mart has, Supervalu is drawing attention for its fast growth, discount prices and combined food and general merchandise. One difference between Save-A-Lot and Wal-Mart, maintains the company's CEO, is smaller, "easier to shop" stores.  
Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul) (free registration) (4/16)

























































International 


Is Wal-Mart eyeing Russia?


Wal-Mart said it did send a team to check out expansion opportunities in Russia, but would not comment on speculation that it plans to open a supermarket in St. Petersburg next year.  
Reuters (9/16)


Mexican Wal-Mart helps rural residents, but draws protest


Wal-Mart has become Mexico's biggest retailer by acquiring several other chains, but some Mexicans are protesting its latest plans for a Bodega Aurrera store in Teotihuacan because of its proximity to ancient pyramids. Wal-Mart says the store will be inconspicuous and the company will respect "Mexican culture and traditions."  
The New York Times (free registration) (9/28),  
The Miami Herald (free registration) (9/6)


Report: Wal-Mart, Goldman Sachs may team to snap up Japanese retailer


Wal-Mart has expressed interest in acquiring Daiei to expand its presence in the Japanese market, and the retailer may get some help from Goldman Sachs Group, according to industry sources. Reports indicate the investment bank may invest in some of Daiei's businesses if Wal-Mart buys the general merchandising stores. Investors of debt-ridden Daiei reportedly want help from a corporate turnaround agency to figure out how to handle the retailer's assets.  
The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) (9/10)


Wal-Mart unit takes top clothing retailer spot in Britain


Buoyed by its George clothing brand, Asda, a supermarket unit of Wal-Mart, now holds a 9.4% share of the retail clothing market in Britain, which passes former top slot holder Marks & Spencer. Asda's George clothing is sold in 240 of the supermarket's 266 British stores and in five stand-alone outlets.  
The New York Times/Agence France-Presse (free registration) (8/22)


Wal-Mart eyes expansion throughout Europe


Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott says the retailer wants to open stores across Europe, calling every country there a potential market. Wal-Mart purchased British supermarket chain Asda nearly five years ago, and some expansion stores could carry that brand, Scott said, but new acquisitions could also be part of the company's Europe strategy.  
Financial Times (London) (subscription required) (5/25)


Analysis: Why is Wal-Mart successful in Britain, but not in Germany?


Wal-Mart has lost money in Germany each year since 1997, while in Britain, the retailer's sales have grown 10% annually. The difference in performance is due to a tough German retail market where prices are regulated, labor laws are not flexible and local discounters, such as Aldi and Lidl, are well-established.  
BusinessWeek (10/6)



Posted by Craig at October 20, 2004 05:29 PM