The end of the Wal-Mart era?

Whoa. I don’t even have anything in particular to say about this right now, but it seems that the tectonic plates have shifted beneath us, and I thought I’d bring it to y’all’s attention:

Wal-Mart Era Wanes…
October 3, 2007; Page A1
    The Wal-Mart Era, the retailer’s time of overwhelming business and social influence in America, is drawing to a close.
    Using a combination of low prices and relentless expansion, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. emerged from rural Arkansas in the 1970s to reshape the world’s largest economy. Its co-founder, Sam Walton, taught Americans to demand ever-lower prices and instructed businesses on running a lean company. His company helped boost America’s overall productivity, lowered the inflation rate, and strengthened the buying power for millions of people. Over time, it also accelerated the drive to manufacture products in Asia, drove countless small shops out of business, and sped the decline of Main Street. Those changes are permanent.
    Today, though, Wal-Mart’s influence over the retail universe is slipping….
    Rival retailers lured Americans away from Wal-Mart’s low-price promise by offering greater convenience, more selection, higher quality, or better service….
    … American shoppers are increasingly looking for qualities that Wal-Mart has trouble providing. "For the first time in a long time, quality has a chance to gain on price," says Lee Peterson, a vice president at Dublin, Ohio-based brand consulting firm WD Partners Inc….

Quality? What kind of gimmick will these ad wizards come up with next?

Be sure to check out the short video showing graphically how Wal-Mart took over the country. It’s cool.

6 thoughts on “The end of the Wal-Mart era?

  1. Karen McLeod

    Have you checked? Even in the area of groceries there’s now a trend to better over cheaper. Personally, I avoid Wal-Mart as much as I can. But they’re the only place I can get cat glucosamine at a reasonable price.

  2. Mike Cakora

    Neat video.
    Wal-Mart is my ATF: alcohol, tobacco, and firearms all in one place, with great prices on ammunition.
    Do you remember going to the beach in the days before Wal-Mart? None of the local merchants were getting rich on the groceries and other stuff they sold — their costs were high — but Wal-Mart helped more locals than it hurt because their dollars went further.
    I remain puzzled that folks, Democrats in particular, bash Wal-Mart, a company that’s helped consumers and the economy more than it’s allegedly hurt either. Wal-Mart is certainly no worse an employer than others, and certainly helps those at the lower end of the wage scale more than universities do.
    As a bennie, Wal-Mart is good for alleviating poverty in developing nations, like China too. It’s a tough taskmaster on its suppliers, pushing them toward more efficient operations and ethical treatment of their employees and suppliers.
    That Wal-Mart is facing stiffer competition is great news for consumers. Choice and value are the keys. Wal-Mart will flourish or perish based on how well it responds.

  3. weldon VII

    OK, I read the WSJ piece stem to stern, but …
    Last week, I stopped at a grocery store to buy a few essentials and considered doing the full-scale grocery routine. First item I priced was 50 percent more costly than at Wal-Mart. I got just coffee and milk and hurried home.
    Where I am, Wally World’s still winning.

  4. James D McCallister

    Wal-Mart is and has always been bad for communities, particularly small ones. Its abuses and overall negative economic impact are well documented. I’d like to see them all disappear–it is disgusting when I confront someone about shopping there, and they reply, “Oh, I don’t have any choice. You have to shop there.” That’s madness–or just brainwashing, maybe.

  5. weldon VII

    I buy groceries at Wal-Mart, golf balls, golf gloves and not much else.
    By my reckoning, I save $20 or more per grocery trip, $1 to $2 per golf ball and $5 to $10 per golf glove, not to mention the savings on gasoline if I stop at Murphy’s on the way in or out.
    Yesterday, by the way, I shot 72 using one Wal-Mart ball and one Wal-Mart glove. That’s 15 pars, one birdie and two bogeys on a 6,300-yard, par-71 course.
    The grocery-savings estimate comes from comparative shopping, not brainwashing.
    Where’s the madness?

  6. jeff crawford

    when you see headlines like this it’s time to invest –the point of maximum pessimisum has been reached. I bought WMT at 42.90, it’s good for 20% returns for next 5 years.

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