Case Study Analysis of “Wal-Mart: The Main Street Merchant of Doom”
This case details the history and social responsibility issues of Wal-Mart. It discusses Sam Walton and his responses to criticisms as well as his determination to be a successful. The central issue is this case is why is there such conflicting data? Some people see Wal-Mart as an example of “social responsibility” and one of the most admired corporations in America, while others see it as an unattractive homogenizing factor and a “Merchant of Doom” that should not be allowed to set up shop in small towns.
The rapid and enormous expansion of Wal-Mart and its market share have changed the landscape of Main Street in towns and cities across America. By 1981, Wal-Mart became Americas largest retailer. It has approx. 6,700 stores worldwide, $345 billion in net sales (2007), and roughly 100 million weekly customers.
Wal-Marts massive footprint has had three primary areas of concern:
1) Putting local small business merchants out of business
2) The creation of urban sprawl
3) Traffic congestion
In the mid 1980′s, Wal-Mart was becoming responsible for the loss of American jobs due to the sheer volume of foreign purchases from its overseas vendors. The company was contacted by then Gov. Bill Clinton and he requested that they devise a plan to support American manufacturing. Wal-Mart responded with a “Buy American” program to support American manufacturers, but the plan was eventually abandoned. Wal-Mart is currently the largest purchaser of Chinese products. This shift in policy caused the loss of American manufacturing jobs once again.
The aggressive marketing of Wal-Mart, its purchasing power and intent to provide very inexpensive goods to the consumer has shut down many local merchants. Even with continued resistance in many communities, Wal-Mart has continued to expand worldwide in brute force. The varying cultures across the globe that Wal-Mart attempts to move into...