business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Walmart announced that it is partnering with Khan Academy to offer free financial literacy education for employees, customers and the communities in which it operates.

According to the company, "The virtual course offers articles, videos and exercises to master personal finance skills, which can help strengthen financial capabilities, reduce stress and make choices that lead to a healthier financial future. With a reported 72% of Americans feeling stressed about money during the previous month, we know providing access to personal finance resources is more important now than ever.

"The course aims to take participants from familiarity to mastery by using a learn-at-your-own-pace, classroom-style approach. Several key financial topics are covered in this comprehensive training, including:  Budgeting and saving … Consumer credit … Financial goals … Loans and debt … Insurance … Investments and retirement … Scams and fraud … Careers and education … (and) Taxes."

It reminds of the old Sy Syms line:  "An educated consumer is our best customer."

(Syms was an off-price men's clothing store that was based in the New York metropolitan area and operated from the late fifties until about 2011.  Sy Syms, the founder, appeared in TV commercials and uttered that memorable line.)

Moves like these don't just educate existing and potential customers, however. They also do the thing that we always talk about here - establishing Walmart as not just a source of product, but a resource for shoppers.  That's critically important positioning.