business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The New York Times this morning reports on opposition that Wal-Mart is finding to a new supercenter planned for Monsey, NY – opposition that is largely grounded in religious concerns about the company and the products it sells.

Monsey is populated mostly by Hassidic Jews, and “when residents talk about traffic, they are fearful for the safety of families walking to synagogue on Saturdays. When they fret about merchandise, they wonder if frowned-upon items like bikinis and lingerie will be on display for everyone to see. And when they imagine the outsiders who would shop at the store, they worry that their presence could transform the town’s pious, sheltered atmosphere.”

Wal-Mart says it has been doing outreach to the community for several years, and is willing to listen to any complaints or reservations that the people who live there might offer. However, it does not seem willing to do the one thing that would really make the local citizens happy – build somewhere else.

• Wal-Mart Canada has announced that it will begin making decisions on the products it carries based, in part, on whether those items use excessive packaging.

CEO Mario Pilozzi told a supplier group that both retailers and manufacturers need to work harder on packaging issues, including environmental impact and recycled content of packaging.
KC's View: