business news in context, analysis with attitude

Clearly, we’ve all been fascinated with the defeat of Wal-Mart that took place in Inglewood, California, this week. Voters there decided that they didn’t want a supercenter in the neighborhood, apparently because of some pretty good political pressure and concerns that Wal-Mart might be trying to circumvent local municipal procedures. Wal-Mart, of course, blames the defeat on outside influences (unions, natch) and people’s inability to appreciate what Wal-Mart brings to the table in terms of both local jobs and low prices.

For the moment, at least, the debate is over. It remains to be seen what Wal-Mart will do.

But we do have a memo to every other retailer in Inglewood…

    It is time to step up to the plate.

    You helped to keep Wal-Mart out. But now you need to revaluate your businesses, take another look at your customers’ needs and desires, and to figure out how you can remain relevant to their lives. You have to create compelling and exciting shopping experiences that will keep your shoppers coming back for more.

    It isn’t enough to keep Wal-Mart out. You have to bring the customers in.

    Whether or not Wal-Mart challenges the results of the vote, you have a moment now in which you can take a deep breath and reinvent your businesses.

    Because if you were willing to fight Wal-Mart, you knew that you were vulnerable.

    Do something about it. Now. Because second chances are a rare gift.

    End of memo.
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