business news in context, analysis with attitude

NamNews reports that Wal-Mart owned Asda Group in the UK is testing what it calls “Bag-Free Checkout” at one of its stores. If consumers don’t take plastic bags, they are given “green goodies for schools” vouchers, which schools can turn in for a variety of environmental product s big and small (ranging from aluminum can crushers to bug hotels).

Asda even has an anti-bag czar, Claire Costello, who says, "It's simply not sustainable to keep throwing away billions of bags each year. That's why we want our customers to change the habit of a lifetime.”

If the test works, Asda says it could expand the concept to other locations.

• The Wall Street Journal reports that Wal-Mart, “under pressure to boost productivity at its Sam's Club wholesale unit, is cutting a small number of store-management jobs at the operation as part of a rare nationwide job cut.” The chain reportedly plans to consolidate some 3,000 manager positions at the almost 600 club stores, though it remains unclear how many people will lose their jobs.

A spokesperson for the retailer, however, denied that the moves were being taken to reduce costs. “"This is not about cost reduction; it's about providing better service to our members," she tells the Journal.
KC's View:
Sure. Because the first thing you do when you want to improve service is eliminate personnel.