business news in context, analysis with attitude

  • Following last week’s announcement that it would not resist the unionization of its stores in China, Wal-Mart further clarified that position by saying that its “global policy is to work within the laws of individual countries," as opposed to a change in its anti-unionization stance.

  • A report in various Florida media suggests that while military exchange stores can be as much as nine percent cheaper than Wal-Mart, military families believe that, in fact, Wal-Mart is cheaper…and go out of their way to shop there.

    The result? Military exchanges reportedly looking for ways to economize, including the streamlining of back-office operations, that will allow them to be even more competitive.

  • In Florida, an appeals court has ruled that a lawsuit there against Wal-Mart – charging that the company forced employees to work off the clock – should not be awarded class action status, which would have allowed attorneys in the case to represent some 230,000 Wal-Mart employees in Florida.

    The judges said that the group listed in the class action was too broad, but left the door open for a different ruling if the group is pared down.

  • There’s an interesting meeting on tap for northern Quebec later today – Wal-Mart is scheduled to sit down with union negotiators for employees at its store in Saguenay, who succeeded in organizing earlier this year.

    While Wal-Mart may be meeting with the union, its mind will also be elsewhere in Canada because of concerns that the unionization movement there could begin to gain momentum. Wal-Mart already has made noises about the Saguenay store not being profitable, and that it might be necessary to shut it down.

  • Sometimes, there is a tendency to over-simplify the debate that can surround the building of a Wal-Mart Supercenter…not just among the citizenry, but also among politicians and the mainstream media. (MNB may even be occasionally guilty of that, though we try hard to always consider context.)

    A story in the Salt Lake Tribune strikes us as a good example of how complicated these situations often can be. (We see dozens of these kinds of stories each week, and can’t possibly report on every debate taking place over a Wal-Mart…but this one caught our eye and attention.)

    In Sandy City, Utah, there is a debate taking place over a proposal for a 100-acre development that will include a Wal-Mart Supercenter and a Lowe's home improvement store. While there are a number of residents that are unhappy about the development, fearing lowered property values and stresses on the area’s infrastructure, there also are economic concerns at play – the city’s tax revenues are down, and some are worried that if the new development isn’t approved, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and their ilk will choose to move out of town and take their tax revenues with them.

    And that’s what really complicates the issue: Wal-Mart and Lowe’s apparently already have stores there, and opponents wonder why their existing units aren’t enough.

KC's View:
We have a simple answer for the Wal-Mart opponents in Sandy City.

The word “enough” really isn’t in the American vocabulary. It’s in dictionaries, but nobody uses it, and few people believe in the concept of “enough.”

It isn’t just Wal-Mart.