The Southern California Regional Economy
C237C / CM137 Goetz Wolff
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To the low-price, low-cost operator go the spoils.
Isn't that how capitalism is supposed to work?
However, those everyday low prices come at a cost.
With $245 billion in revenues in 2002, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is the world's largest company. It is three times the size of the No. 2 retailer, France's Carrefour. Every week, 138 million shoppers visit Wal-Mart's 4,750 stores; last year, 82% of American households made at least one purchase at Wal-Mart….
In household staples such as toothpaste, shampoo, and paper towels, the company commands about 30% of the U.S. market, and analysts predict that its share of many such goods could hit 50% before decade's end. Wal-Mart also is Hollywood's biggest outlet, accounting for 15% to 20% of all sales of CDs, videos, and DVDs….
The Southern California Regional Economy - v. 2
Urban Planning C237C / CM137 Page 2 Goetz Wolff
Wal-Mart controls a large and rapidly increasing share of the business done by most every major U.S. consumer-products company: 28% of Dial total sales, 24% of Del Monte Foods, 23% of Clorox', 23% of Revlon’s, and on down the list….
However, Wal-Mart's seemingly simple and virtuous business model is fraught with complications and perverse consequences. To cite a particularly noteworthy one, this staunchly anti-union company, America's largest private employer, is widely blamed for the sorry state of retail wages in America. On average, Wal-Mart sales clerks -- "associates" in company parlance -- pulled in $8.23 an hour, or $13,861 a year, in 2001, according to documents filed in a lawsuit pending against the company. At the time, the federal poverty line for a family of three was $14,630…....