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The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that Wal-Mart plans to change the logo that it has used for two decades, converting all of its stores to what the paper describes as “white letters on a burnt-orange background followed by a white starburst.” And, the Journal reports, “In a change, the name will appear as one word: Walmart. When the company first started in 1962, the name was hyphenated by a dash. But in the past decade, the dash has been replaced by a star on stores and the corporate letterhead.”

Wal-Mart hasn’t officially unveiled the new logo and isn’t even commenting on the Journal report, but it apparently has been seen in documents filed for a new store in Memphis, Tennessee.

“The store signs on Wal-Mart's approximately 3,600 existing U.S. stores won't be taken down wholesale, but they will be changed over time, says a person close to the company,” according to the story. “Wal-Mart's new starburst logo mimics the cleaner, brighter sign of competitor Target Corp., with its iconic red-and-white bull's-eye.”

And, the paper writes, this is part of broader effort by Wal-Mart to contemporize both its operations and its image: “In the past decade, as Wal-Mart ramped up store growth and moved from rural areas into suburban and urban markets, it encountered increasing opposition from neighborhood groups and city planners who objected to what they contended was the uniformly ugly look and size of the stores, which averaged about 200,000 square feet.

“In recent years, Wal-Mart has tried to assuage neighborhood groups, making concessions on size and offering facades that better blend into the surrounding neighborhoods, from timber gables in Colorado to pastel stucco in Florida.”

KC's View:
Listen, you have to give the folks at Bentonville a lot of credit. They don't seem to rest on the laurels very often, and always seem to be looking for ways to maintain their momentum…Some of it is image, some of it is actual, and some of it is an alchemy of the two.

Biggest problem with this logo/name change is that all of us who have set up “Wal-Mart” in our spell-check will now have to change it to “Walmart.”