Wal-Mart Phenomenon Essay

852 Words Jan 13th, 2006 4 Pages
The Wal-Mart Phenomenon
Michael Hancock
SOC200: Introduction to Sociology
Gary Mayhew
September 18, 2005
The Wal-Mart Phenomenon
At Wal-Mart, "everyday low prices" is the motto. This slogan has helped create the largest business in world history with over $245 billion in revenues. It is actually three times the size of the No. 2 retailer in the world, France's Carrefour. Nearly 138 million shoppers visit one of the 4,750 Wal-Mart retail stores in the United States each week. This trade giant has eliminated tens of billions of dollars in cost efficiencies out the retail supply chain, passing the larger part of the savings along to shoppers as bargain prices. As noted in Business Week online (2003), New England Consulting estimates
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Along with the problems associated with importing products comes the dependence of suppliers on the retail giant. Wal-Mart controls 30 percent of household items such as toothpaste, shampoo, and paper towels and many analysts predict it will shoot over 50 percent by the end of the decade. Today, Wal-Mart is the nations largest grocer, with a 19% market share, and the third largest pharmacy, with a 16% share. Meanwhile, thousands of small stores and their workers are going out of business, with some finding jobs at the local Wal-Mart at a lower salary. Mr. Hawkins, CEO of Green Hills, a family owned supermarket in Syracuse, N.Y. is quoted by Newsweek (2003), "It will be a sad day in this country if we wake up one morning and all we find is a Wal-Mart on every corner."
The research of the effect that Wal-Mart is having on American society must be thorough using a variety of methods to cover all aspects including business, manufacturing, communities, quality of jobs, and consumer shopping habits. Business and manufacturing should be researched using existing data gathered from company annual reports to determine jobs lost, profits, and market share changes. This data is somewhat public and could be easily compared to determine the effect of Wal-Mart on American manufacturing facilities. The effect on communities and the local merchants could be researched and studied through

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