A Case Study on Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.: a New Set of Challenges

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I. Statement of the Problem

Wal-Mart was drawing increasing flak from organized labor about the company’s low wages and anti-union posture. It was confronting 6,000 lawsuits on a variety of issues, including one claiming that it discriminated against female employees.

H. Lee Scott was understandably concerned about the raft of issues that threatened to mar Wal-Mart’s reputation and raise questions about the company’s efforts to secure the lowest prices for its customers.

The problem for Wal-Mart now is how it can continue to grow and diminish the increasing negative issues about the company held through the years.

II. Objectives of the Study

This study seeks the following objectives:
- to learn about the Wal-Mart and its industry
- to know the different strategies that the company uses - to be able to cite different issues concerning the company - to give solutions and suggestions to the company’s problem regarding the lawsuits and cases

III. Scopes and Limitations of the Study

The study includes the current situation of Wal-Mart, its consumers, partners, management and the problems that it faces. The nature of the company, the organizational background of the company and the different strategies that the company has already done to its sales, marketing and merchandise, are also some scopes included in the study.

The study however, is limited with only secondary data based on the text or on the case itself and some research made through the company’s official website on the internet.

This study has recommendations and points of view that are based from my own perspectives and thinking as a marketing student.

IV. Nature of the Research

A. Wal-Mart Inc.
On July 2, 1962, Walton opened the first Wal-Mart Discount City store located at 719 Walnut Ave. in Rogers, Arkansas. The building is now occupied by a hardware store and an antique mall. Within five years, the company expanded to 24 stores across Arkansas and reached $12.6 million in sales. In 1968, it opened its first stores outside Arkansas, in Sikeston, Missouri and Claremore, Oklahoma.

The company was incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. on October 31, 1969. In 1970, it opened its home office and first distribution center in Bentonville, Arkansas. It had 38 stores operating with 1,500 employees and sales of $44.2 million. It began trading stock as a publicly held company on October 1, 1970, and was soon listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The first stock split occurred in May 1971 at a market price of $47. By this time, Wal-Mart was operating in five states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Oklahoma; it entered Tennessee in 1973 and Kentucky and Mississippi in 1974. As it moved into Texas in 1975, there were 125 stores with 7,500 employees and total sales of $340.3 million.

Logo used from 1992-2008 (2001-2009 in Canada, 1992-2009 in Mexico, although Mexico used the current logo in December 2008). It is still used in Mainland China. Still seen on many American locations, even though a majority of Canadian locations have got this logo rather than the 1994-2001 Wal-Mart Canada logo with a hyphen.

In the 1980s, Walmart continued to grow rapidly, and by its 25th anniversary in 1987 there were 1,198 stores with sales of $15.9 billion and 200,000 associates. This year also marked the completion of the company's satellite network, a $24 million investment linking all operating units of the company with its Bentonville office via two-way voice and data transmission and one-way video communication. At the time, it was the largest private satellite network, allowing the corporate office to track inventory and sales and to instantly communicate to stores. In 1988, Sam Walton stepped down as CEO and was replaced by David Glass. Walton remained as Chairman of the Board, and the company also rearranged other people in senior positions.

B. Company Strategies

1) Multiple Store Formats...
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