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Analysts Say Wal-Mart Changes Painful But Necessary

Wal-Mart, expected to announce today that sales for November fell for the first time in a decade, may be changing too fast. But that may not be such a bad thing in the long run.

In the last year, the world's largest retailer started a line of urban fashion, began renovating 1,800 stores, overhauled its advertising to focus less on price and more on style, rolled out $4 generic drugs, ended its layaway program and imposed wage caps on its workers, to name just a few new strategies. It also alienated shoppers with designer-inspired clothing and disruptive store remodeling.

Collectively, these measures have created the retail equivalent of cacophony in the stores, temporarily disorienting consumers and employees at a crucial time of year. But Wal-Mart has little choice but to change, analysts say. Individually, the strategies can be viewed as healthy fixes to longstanding problems.



Read the whole story at The New York Times »

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