From Time Magazine
[While most retailers are shutting down stores, Walmart has opened 52 Supercenters since Feb. 1. Thank you for voting NO ON MEASURE A to preserve our unique, locally-owned businesses, neighborly small town values, and livable human-scale communities. -DS]
Walmart loves to shock and awe. City-size stores, absurdly low prices ($8 jeans!) and everything from milk to Matchbox toys on its shelves. And with the recession forcing legions of stores into bankruptcy, the world’s largest retailer now apparently wants to take out the remaining survivors.
Thus, the company is in the beginning stages of a massive store and strategy remodeling effort, which it has dubbed Project Impact. One goal of Project Impact is cleaner, less cluttered stores that will improve the shopping experience. Another is friendlier customer service. A third: home in on categories where the competition can be killed. “They’ve got Kmart ready to take a standing eight-count next year,” says retail consultant Burt Flickinger III, managing director for Strategic Resources Group and a veteran Walmart watcher. “Same with Rite Aid. They’ve knocked out four of the top five toy retailers, and are now going after the last one standing, Toys “R” Us. Project Impact will be the catalyst to wipe out a second round of national and regional retailers.”
Though that’s bad news for many smaller businesses that can’t compete, Walmart investors have clamored for this push. Despite the company’s consistently strong financial performance, Wall Street hasn’t cheered Walmart’s growth rates… “Walmart is under excruciating pressure from employees and frustrated institutional investors to get the stock up,” says Flickinger.