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  • Wal-Mart reportedly is competing against two Japanese companies - Aeon and Izumiya – to acquire Carrefour’s eight hypermarkets there. The estimated cost: at least $300 million (US).

    However, Carrefour continues to characterize press reports of its Japanese divestment plans as “rumors.”

  • NamNews reports that rumors that Wal-Mart may want to acquire Italian chain Esselunga is raising concerns among some Italian lawmakers, concerned that such a move could mean the loss of jobs and the closure of some stores.

  • Facing a barrage of criticism about its almost stagnant same-store sales during November and its strategy of not offering deep discounts that would lure in shoppers during the weekend after Thanksgiving, Wal-Mart announced that it will immediately launch a new advertising program to drive sales in December.

    The campaign reportedly will focus on two dozen key items – especially toys and electronics – that the company believes shoppers are focused on. Prices on these items will be cut by as much as a third.

    "We have great prices, and we are really beefing up our communications to make sure that we get that word out," said company spokesperson Mona Williams.

    In addition to consumers, the real winners in this move will be local newspapers, as Wal-Mart reportedly is committing to a number of “run of press” ad pages to get the word out.

KC's View:
Fascinating to watch Wal-Mart – a company that doesn’t make a lot of marketing missteps – try to engineer a course correction on short notice.

The really interesting thing to us is that, as we’ve reported in this space before, Wal-Mart executives have told us that they hate Black Friday and the Thanksgiving weekend because it was the one weekend that they went off message, telling customers that they actually could offer lower prices for a three-day period.

At some level, Wal-Mart was right and consistent to decide not to bow to the competition last weekend. For the moment, though, you might have a hard time convincing management of that fact.