ALDI

Aldi Nord logo Aldi Süd logo

Aldi is an international hard discount supermarket chain based in Germany. It is actually two separate companies but is commonly referred to as one. The company's name stands for Albrecht-Discount, using the founders' last name. Historically, Aldi is said to have been Germany's first real discount supermarket. Its spartan stores with low prices on a limited range of goods can now be found in more than a dozen countries.

History

The company was founded in 1946 by the brothers Karl and Theo Paul Albrecht in Essen, Germany. Back then, it comprised only one small food shop. In the year 1961, the then-Aldi chain of supermarket stores split into two sister companies (each belonging to one of the brothers) over a dispute whether to sell cigarettes and other tobacco products at the checkout. Thus today, Aldi consists of Aldi Nord (Aldi North) (where tobacco sales were deemed to be acceptable) and Aldi Süd (Aldi South) (where they were not; however Aldi Süd began selling tobacco products in 2003). The chains initially covered the respective different regions of the then-West Germany. The companies have since expanded internationally, into other European, North American, and Australian markets. In principle, the two firms share nothing but the name and a similar corporate identity; however, they describe their relationship as a "friendly alliance" and there appear to be agreements between the two insofar that they do not compete directly with each other and (except for Germany) never both operate in the same countries.

Regions where Aldi operates

A map of the countries in Europe that Aldi operates, orange: "Aldi South", dark blue:"Aldi North"

Aldi Nord operates in

  • Northern Germany
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Luxembourg
  • The Netherlands
  • Portugal (coming soon)
  • Spain


Aldi Süd operates in

  • Southern Germany
  • Australia
  • Austria (where it operates under the name Hofer)
  • Ireland
  • Slovenia (where it operates under the name Hofer)
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • USA

What you may find in an Aldi store

Aldi specializes in staple items such as food, beverages, sanitary articles and other inexpensive household items. One reason for Aldi's success is that the number of brands is very limited, you usually don't find more than two different brands for one kind of product and often only one. This increases the numbers of sales for each article and also allows Aldi stores to be smaller than supermarkets which cover the same range of products but with more diversity. Also it allowed Aldi to avoid the use of price tags even before the introduction of barcode scanners (see below).

Additionally to the standard assortment Aldi also has weekly special offers, some of them on more expensive products such as electronics, appliances or computers, usually from Medion. Although not always available, but regulary put up for sale are clothing, toys, flowers, gifts. The specials are only available in strictly limited quantities and for a limited timeframe (one week). In the past some of Aldi's early computer offers, created some kind of hysteria in Germany, with all available items sold in only a few hours.

Aldi is the largest wine retailer in Germany. Aldi mainly sells exclusively produced, custom-branded products (often identical to and produced by major brands) with brand names including "Grandessa" and "Fit and Active". American Aldi stores also feature bargain-priced, gourmet foods imported from Germany. Although Aldi emphasizes low prices, reports from a German consumer watchdog suggest that this does not negatively impact the quality of Aldi products.

Low price philosophy

Aldi's "strictly no frills" approach is evident for instance in that typically Aldi stores do not decorate aisles — or even fill shelves for that matter: Pallets of the products on offer are commonly simply parked alongside the aisles, and customers picking up products will gradually empty them. When all items on a pallet have been sold, it is replaced. Long queues at the checkout counter are also relatively common, reflecting Aldi's minimal staffing levels, as well as the competitive situation in Aldi's native Germany, where long supermarket checkout lines are part of daily life. However, due to the efficient checkout system, a long queue does not necessarily translate into longer waiting times than in other supermarkets.

These and other cost-cutting strategies save Aldi money and arguably the general price level in Aldi stores — as compared to more "upmarket" supermarkets — appears to show that at least some or most of these savings are passed on to consumer. Aldi has successfully carved its own (actually rather large) niche with this approach: While shoppers may not normally like shopping in a bland or industrial-looking (and possibly congested) store, such utter lack of frills has become part of the accepted norm with Aldi, and consumers appear to be willing to accept it because of the "incredible value" they expect to get in exchange. ("Top quality at incredibly low prices" is an Aldi marketing slogan.)

Aldi also profited from the introduction of the euro in Germany and other countries. Consumers believed that many merchants had used the currency changeover as a cover to increase prices, often substantially; this was later confirmed by independent studies. In contrast to other supermarkets, Aldi prominently listed "before and after" prices on posters in stores for months after the introduction, and generally rounded its euro prices down. As a result, Aldi earned a great deal of customer goodwill.

Advertising policy

Aldi has a policy in Germany of not advertising, apart from a weekly list of special prices called Aldi informiert (Aldi informs) that is distributed in stores, by direct mail, and sometimes printed in local newspapers. It claims this is a cost savings that can be passed on to consumers. However, in the USA, Aldi advertises regularly via weekly newspaper inserts and Aldi television commercials have begun airing on the TBS network, and in the UK print and television ads appeared in mid-2005. Aldi do not have publicly listed telephones in stores to minimize the time checkouts are unutilised.

Checkout system

Aldi's checkout procedure is highly standardized, with checkout operators sitting down in swivel chairs, passing products through a two-sided barcode scanner. Products have very long barcodes covering several sides of the packaging to speed this procedure. Cashiers save additional time by preparing the most likely amount of change while the customer is still searching for money in his/her wallet.

Aldi was, however, a latecomer to barcode scanners, and many stores only added them in 2004; previously, cashier clerks would manually enter a three-digit code for each item from memory (Aldi Nord) or the price (Aldi Süd). An advantage of this was that the cashiers could already type in the prices of all the articles on the conveyer belt even if the customers were blocking the process by not putting the articles quickly enough back into their shopping cart.

Once products have been scanned, they are put directly in the shopping cart, which has a special dock on the counter for this purpose. This is why Aldi stores in Germany insist that customers use a cart; the customer is expected to bag groceries at a separate bench. Many, if not most customers, however, ignore this rule, not least because it would force them to join the queue to leave the store even if they hadn't purchased anything. Aldi generally does not offer hand baskets. However, in Australia select stores do have hand baskets available.

Reputation

In West Germany, before about 1990, Aldi shops were often ridiculed as being cheap shops selling poor-quality goods. Aldi's customers were alleged to be only poor people who couldn't afford to shop elsewhere. Loyal German soccer fans, ashamed of their favorite team's performance, were known to wear Aldi bags over their heads as a gag. Being held in such low esteem by many did not seem to dent Aldi's profits however. After German reunification, many German middle class families had to cut down their spending and Aldi's popularity and public acceptance grew. Many individual consumers "discovered" that the poor reputation of Aldi's products was apparently undeserved. This shift in public perception was boosted by a series of cookbooks that only used Aldi ingredients, which led to the emergence of a kind of Aldi fandom into the German mainstream.

In countries such as the UK, where the level of service and presentation of mainstream supermarkets is arguably lower than in Aldi's native Germany, Aldi's public reputation does not appear to have improved in the same way. Despite this, and the strong price competition between such British retailers on precisely the basic goods Aldi sells, the firm apparently remains profitable.

In the United Kingdom, Aldi (just like it's rival Lidl) is often the centre of jokes regarding the wealth of a person, particularly with the younger generation. Many consider it to be derogatory to shop at Aldi, and as a result a lot of students will not admit to shopping there if they do.

Business practices

Many Aldi practices are common in German supermarkets but largely unique to Aldi in markets such as the U.S. and Britain. These include the system of metal gates and turnstiles forcing customers to exit through the checkout, the practice of charging for shopping bags, and the fact that Aldi until recently accepted only cash (since 2004, German stores have begun to accept the Maestro debit card). Debit cards are also accepted in the USA. Like most German retailers, Aldi does not accept major credit cards. Aldi does accept MasterCard, Bankcard and Visa in Australia for an additional 1% surcharge.

Aldi stores worldwide are approximately the same size. The company's stores in Germany are similar in size to those of competing supermarkets, and they can often be found in shopping centres or elsewhere where retail units of this size are common. However in other countries, such as Britain, France, and the U.S., Aldi stores are far smaller than those countries' typical supermarkets or hypermarkets, and tend to be free-standing, purpose-built structures.

Aldi stores often have fairly limited opening hours, such as were restricted by law (until 18:30 weeknights and 14:00 Saturdays) in Germany until these laws were relaxed somewhat in 1996 and 2004. Some (but by no means all) of its German outlets, particularly those in shopping centres, now stay open until the revised legal closing time of 20:00. On the other hand, Aldi stores in the U.S. and U.K. close around 19:00 weeknights, earlier on Saturday, and most remain closed on Sunday, in contrast to the late or 24-hour opening times of many U.S. and British supermarkets. Aldi's U.S. stores are the only ones to offer customer toilets.

In Germany Aldi is occasionally jokingly called Feinkost Albrecht (approximate translation: Albrecht Deli).

Recently the similar Lidl chain has grown faster than Aldi; its major difference in business practice is that it stocks a few name brands.

Aldi Talk

On the 7th December 2005, based on their well known brand, Aldi (both Nord and Süd) in Germany introduced a pay-as-you-go mobile phone company Aldi Talk, piggybacking on the e-plus network. They offered rates of €0,05 (approx US$ 0.06) per minute/SMS to other Aldi Talk customers and €0,15 (approx US$ 0.18) to landlines and other mobile phones. This phone offer is available on either a “starter set”, which is a SIM card and €10 (US$ 12.01) worth of credit at €19,99 (US$ 24.02), or a Medion mobile phone [1] with a SIM card at €59,99 (US$ 72.11).

Previously, Aldi Süd in Austria did a pay-as-you-go service called “yesss!” [2] with Connect Austria's One.

Competitors

  • Lidl (5000 stores)
  • Netto (1200 stores)
  • Kwiksave (UK Only)

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Previously, Aldi Süd in Austria did a pay-as-you-go service called “yesss!” [2] with Connect Austria's One. [24]. This phone offer is available on either a “starter set”, which is a SIM card and €10 (US$ 12.01) worth of credit at €19,99 (US$ 24.02), or a Medion mobile phone [1] with a SIM card at €59,99 (US$ 72.11). He has since plead guilty to five counts of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return related to embezzlement and theft from Wal-Mart while serving as a member of its board. They offered rates of €0,05 (approx US$ 0.06) per minute/SMS to other Aldi Talk customers and €0,15 (approx US$ 0.18) to landlines and other mobile phones. Former members of the board of directors of Wal-Mart include Hillary Clinton (1985-1992), who also worked for Wal-Mart as a lawyer, [22] and Tom Coughlin, who went on to be vice chairman [23]. On the 7th December 2005, based on their well known brand, Aldi (both Nord and Süd) in Germany introduced a pay-as-you-go mobile phone company Aldi Talk, piggybacking on the e-plus network. The presence of unions and the difficulty obtaining building permits are two possible reasons for this lack of success.

Recently the similar Lidl chain has grown faster than Aldi; its major difference in business practice is that it stocks a few name brands. In Germany, however, after eight years in the market, Wal-Mart's yearly revenue is still less than one-tenth of the leading retailer, EDEKA. In Germany Aldi is occasionally jokingly called Feinkost Albrecht (approximate translation: Albrecht Deli). ASDA in the United Kingdom is the largest of the international businesses by sales. stores are the only ones to offer customer toilets. Dollars):. Aldi's U.S. Current store counts and revenue for Fiscal Year Ending January 31, 2005 (revenue amounts in U.S.

and British supermarkets. Wal-Mart operates 5 major retail formats under 3 retail divisions:. close around 19:00 weeknights, earlier on Saturday, and most remain closed on Sunday, in contrast to the late or 24-hour opening times of many U.S. He believes that Wal-Mart is merely a symbol of capitalism and success that leftists attack in order to associate capitalism with "exploitation" and "unfairness" to further their own big government/socialists objectives. and U.K. He compares this criticism to the same attacks upon Hummer SUVs while ignoring the issues with many other gas guzzling competitors like old cars the poor could only afford. On the other hand, Aldi stores in the U.S. According to Jay Nordlinger of the National Review, criticism of Wal-Mart is more about what Wal-Mart represents; the sucess of capitalist enterprise and how Wal-Mart is the largest retail store in the world rather than what it actually does.

Some (but by no means all) of its German outlets, particularly those in shopping centres, now stay open until the revised legal closing time of 20:00. Specific areas of controversy include the company's product selection; treatment of suppliers, competitors, and employees; impact on local communities, and effects on world trade and globalization. Aldi stores often have fairly limited opening hours, such as were restricted by law (until 18:30 weeknights and 14:00 Saturdays) in Germany until these laws were relaxed somewhat in 1996 and 2004. Some praise Wal-Mart for benefiting consumers, while other criticise it for being harmful to employees, the community, the economy, and the environment. However in other countries, such as Britain, France, and the U.S., Aldi stores are far smaller than those countries' typical supermarkets or hypermarkets, and tend to be free-standing, purpose-built structures. [20]. The company's stores in Germany are similar in size to those of competing supermarkets, and they can often be found in shopping centres or elsewhere where retail units of this size are common. [19] And, this savings has the largest effect on the poor since the average Wal-Mart customer earns $35,000 a year, compared with $50,000 at Target and $74,000 at Costco.

Aldi stores worldwide are approximately the same size. However, that $4.7 billion is overwhelmingly offset by the $263 billion it has saved Americans from spending from 1985 to 2004, ($2,329 per houshold) according to a Global Insight study. Aldi does accept MasterCard, Bankcard and Visa in Australia for an additional 1% surcharge. The efficiencies created 210,000 jobs that would not otherwise exist, but at the same time reduced take-home pay for all retail workers (including the company’s competitors) by $4.7 billion. Like most German retailers, Aldi does not accept major credit cards. Wal-Mart increased net consumer purchasing power by $118 billion in 2004. Debit cards are also accepted in the USA. Additional findings from the Global Insight study include: Wal-Mart increased the US economy's overall productivity by three-quarters of a percent by highly efficient distribution systems and pressure on suppliers to be more efficient.

These include the system of metal gates and turnstiles forcing customers to exit through the checkout, the practice of charging for shopping bags, and the fact that Aldi until recently accepted only cash (since 2004, German stores have begun to accept the Maestro debit card). The study indicates that "nominal wages are 2.2% lower, but given that consumer prices are 3.1% lower, real disposable income is 0.9% higher than it would have been in a world without Wal-Mart." (Global Insight Study). and Britain. Also in that time period, it is responsible for the creation of 210,000 net jobs for the economy. Many Aldi practices are common in German supermarkets but largely unique to Aldi in markets such as the U.S. From 1985-2004, Wal-Mart "can be associated with a cumulative decline of 9.1% in food-at-home prices, a 4.2% decline in commodities (goods) prices, and a 3.1% decline in overall consumer prices" and, that this has saved consumers $263 billion in that time frame ($2329 per household). Many consider it to be derogatory to shop at Aldi, and as a result a lot of students will not admit to shopping there if they do. economy (Several notable economists oversaw the study, including both political conservatives and liberals [18]).

In the United Kingdom, Aldi (just like it's rival Lidl) is often the centre of jokes regarding the wealth of a person, particularly with the younger generation. A 2005 study by Global Insight, the world's largest economics organization, that was commission by Wal-mart found that the company has had a positive net economic impact on the U.S. Despite this, and the strong price competition between such British retailers on precisely the basic goods Aldi sells, the firm apparently remains profitable. In 2004, the University of California, Berkeley published a study which asserted that Wal-Mart's low wages and benefits resulted in an increased burden on the social safety net, costing California taxpayers $86 million.[17]. In countries such as the UK, where the level of service and presentation of mainstream supermarkets is arguably lower than in Aldi's native Germany, Aldi's public reputation does not appear to have improved in the same way. Basker's study did not distinguish between low-paying and high-paying jobs. This shift in public perception was boosted by a series of cookbooks that only used Aldi ingredients, which led to the emergence of a kind of Aldi fandom into the German mainstream. Basker concluded that the net change in the number of jobs was not significant.

Many individual consumers "discovered" that the poor reputation of Aldi's products was apparently undeserved. Basker found an average decrease of 30 retail jobs in neighbouring counties and 25 wholesale jobs in the entered county. After German reunification, many German middle class families had to cut down their spending and Aldi's popularity and public acceptance grew. Half of this increase disappeared as other retail establishments closed over a five-year period. Being held in such low esteem by many did not seem to dent Aldi's profits however. Basker found that Wal-Mart's entry into a county increased net retail employment in that county by 100 jobs in the short term. Loyal German soccer fans, ashamed of their favorite team's performance, were known to wear Aldi bags over their heads as a gag. A 2002 study[16] by Emek Basker of the University of Missouri examined the impact of Wal-Mart on local employment.

Aldi's customers were alleged to be only poor people who couldn't afford to shop elsewhere. The next largest employer employed the parents of less than 800 children in the program.[15]. In West Germany, before about 1990, Aldi shops were often ridiculed as being cheap shops selling poor-quality goods. More than 10,000 children who qualified for the program had parents working at Wal-Mart. However, in Australia select stores do have hand baskets available. In 2002, the state of Georgia's survey of children in the state's subsidized health care system, PeachCare, found that Wal-Mart employed more of the parents of these children than any other employer. Aldi generally does not offer hand baskets. Dean found that point out that though Wal-Mart openings cause some small businesses to close by offering lower prices, it also creates opportunities for other small businesses and that as a result, "the process of creative destruction unleashed by Wal-Mart has no statistically significant impact on the overall size of the small business sector in the United States" (the researchers also claim that the Stone study is flawed) [14].

Many, if not most customers, however, ignore this rule, not least because it would force them to join the queue to leave the store even if they hadn't purchased anything. Sobel and Andrea M. This is why Aldi stores in Germany insist that customers use a cart; the customer is expected to bag groceries at a separate bench. In 1997, Stone found that small towns "lose up to 47 percent of their retail trade after 10 years of Wal-Mart stores nearby."[12] In [2003], Stone collaborated with collaborated with Georgeanne Artz, also of Iowa State University and Albert Myles of Mississippi State University to show that there "are both positive and negative impacts on existing stores in the area where the new supercenter locates."[13] A study by Russell S. Once products have been scanned, they are put directly in the shopping cart, which has a special dock on the counter for this purpose. Stone of Iowa State University has published several studies on Wal-Mart. An advantage of this was that the cashiers could already type in the prices of all the articles on the conveyer belt even if the customers were blocking the process by not putting the articles quickly enough back into their shopping cart. Kenneth E.

Aldi was, however, a latecomer to barcode scanners, and many stores only added them in 2004; previously, cashier clerks would manually enter a three-digit code for each item from memory (Aldi Nord) or the price (Aldi Süd). Several studies have been conducted to determined the nature and extent of this effect. Cashiers save additional time by preparing the most likely amount of change while the customer is still searching for money in his/her wallet. As Wal-Mart is an enormously large business, it has a significant impact on economies, especially in the United States. Products have very long barcodes covering several sides of the packaging to speed this procedure. Deaver who formerly worked on behalf of Ronald Reagan, Leslie Dach who worked on behalf of Bill Clinton, and Robert McAdam who worked on behalf of the Tobacco Institute [11]. Aldi's checkout procedure is highly standardized, with checkout operators sitting down in swivel chairs, passing products through a two-sided barcode scanner. Operatives hired include Michael K.

Aldi do not have publicly listed telephones in stores to minimize the time checkouts are unutilised. Edelman has set up an internal "war room", a rapid-response public relations team, staffed with high-profile political operatives to respond to negative media attention. However, in the USA, Aldi advertises regularly via weekly newspaper inserts and Aldi television commercials have begun airing on the TBS network, and in the UK print and television ads appeared in mid-2005. It was reported in the New York Times on November 1, 2005 that in response to increased criticism the public relations firm Edelman had been retained. It claims this is a cost savings that can be passed on to consumers. In 2005, Wal-Mart officials embarked on a public relations campaign to counter some of the criticism it receives, through its public relations website as well as through television commercials which show employees who have had a medical emergency and have been sent by Wal-Mart to the Mayo Clinic. Aldi has a policy in Germany of not advertising, apart from a weekly list of special prices called Aldi informiert (Aldi informs) that is distributed in stores, by direct mail, and sometimes printed in local newspapers. Different explanations have been offered for this success:.

As a result, Aldi earned a great deal of customer goodwill. Its stock has dropped more than 20% since then, closing under $50 in August 2005. In contrast to other supermarkets, Aldi prominently listed "before and after" prices on posters in stores for months after the introduction, and generally rounded its euro prices down. Since then its stock has climbed from 5 cents (split adjusted) to a high of $63 in March 2002. Consumers believed that many merchants had used the currency changeover as a cover to increase prices, often substantially; this was later confirmed by independent studies. Wal-Mart went public in 1975. Aldi also profited from the introduction of the euro in Germany and other countries. Sam Walton's family's holdings in Wal-Mart if combined would comprise the nation's largest fortune; at $100 billion combined they are significantly ahead of Bill Gates.

("Top quality at incredibly low prices" is an Aldi marketing slogan.). Wal-Mart also does 20 percent of the retail toy business. Aldi has successfully carved its own (actually rather large) niche with this approach: While shoppers may not normally like shopping in a bland or industrial-looking (and possibly congested) store, such utter lack of frills has become part of the accepted norm with Aldi, and consumers appear to be willing to accept it because of the "incredible value" they expect to get in exchange. $51 billion). These and other cost-cutting strategies save Aldi money and arguably the general price level in Aldi stores — as compared to more "upmarket" supermarkets — appears to show that at least some or most of these savings are passed on to consumer. Wal-Mart is now the largest grocery chain in the U.S., with 14 percent of all grocery sales -- nearly twice the sales of Kroger ($95 billion vs. However, due to the efficient checkout system, a long queue does not necessarily translate into longer waiting times than in other supermarkets. workers.[5] According to Wal-Mart's website, Wal-Mart provides insurance to more than 1 million people.[6].

Long queues at the checkout counter are also relatively common, reflecting Aldi's minimal staffing levels, as well as the competitive situation in Aldi's native Germany, where long supermarket checkout lines are part of daily life. According to an October 2005 article in BusinessWeek, Walmart's health insurance covers 44% or approximately 572,000 of its 1.3 million U.S. When all items on a pallet have been sold, it is replaced. At some Sam's Club these employees inspect the contents of the shopping carts of exiting customers. Aldi's "strictly no frills" approach is evident for instance in that typically Aldi stores do not decorate aisles — or even fill shelves for that matter: Pallets of the products on offer are commonly simply parked alongside the aisles, and customers picking up products will gradually empty them. All Wal-Mart stores in the United States have employees referred to as "People Greeters." They welcome people to the store and help prevent shoplifting. Although Aldi emphasizes low prices, reports from a German consumer watchdog suggest that this does not negatively impact the quality of Aldi products. Wal-Mart refers to its employees as "associates," and encourages managers to think of themselves as "servant leaders." Each shift at every store, club, and distribution center (theoretically) starts with a store-wide meeting where managers discuss with hourly employees daily sales figures, company news, and goals for the day.

American Aldi stores also feature bargain-priced, gourmet foods imported from Germany. However, this proposal was rejected by the city councillors [4] on June 28, 2005 for several reasons including worry over the possible negative impact to small businesses and a potential increase in traffic as customers drive longer distances to go shopping. Aldi mainly sells exclusively produced, custom-branded products (often identical to and produced by major brands) with brand names including "Grandessa" and "Fit and Active". This design, too, included wind turbines, geothermal heating and collecting rainwater. Aldi is the largest wine retailer in Germany. An environmentally-friendly design for a Wal-Mart in Vancouver, BC, Canada was proposed. In the past some of Aldi's early computer offers, created some kind of hysteria in Germany, with all available items sold in only a few hours. Critics, such as the Institute for Local Self-reliance [3], while acknowledging that the features in the new stores are an improvement, still contend that Wal-Mart practices increase driving, and that it has a poor record of locating stores on environmentally sensitive sites, especially wetlands.

The specials are only available in strictly limited quantities and for a limited timeframe (one week). The buildings also include many other energy and cost-saving technologies. Although not always available, but regulary put up for sale are clothing, toys, flowers, gifts. Recently, Wal-Mart has designed two experimental stores [2], one in McKinney, Texas, the other in Aurora, Colorado, which feature wind turbines, photovoltaic solar panels, and biofuel-capable boilers. Additionally to the standard assortment Aldi also has weekly special offers, some of them on more expensive products such as electronics, appliances or computers, usually from Medion. The WFF has also donated to advocacy groups promoting school privatization, such as a $3 million donation in 2003 to the Knowledge Is Power Program. Also it allowed Aldi to avoid the use of price tags even before the introduction of barcode scanners (see below). From 1998 through 2003, the WFF contributed $25,000 to the Heritage Foundation, $15,000 to the Cato Institute, $125,000 to the Hudson Institute, $155,000 to the Goldwater Institute, $70,000 to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, $300,000 to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, $185,000 to the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, and $350,000 to the Evergreen Freedom Foundation.

This increases the numbers of sales for each article and also allows Aldi stores to be smaller than supermarkets which cover the same range of products but with more diversity. Also in 2004, Alice Walton donated $2.6 million to the Progress for America PAC, which supported the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. One reason for Aldi's success is that the number of brands is very limited, you usually don't find more than two different brands for one kind of product and often only one. Walmart's company political action committee, the second largest corporate donor to the GOP, gave away $2.1 million in 2004, compared to $100,000 in 1994. Aldi specializes in staple items such as food, beverages, sanitary articles and other inexpensive household items. The Walton Family Foundation (WFF) gave away $106.9 million in 2003, twice as much as in 2000.
Aldi Süd operates in. According to the November 21, 2005 issue of The Nation, recently both the Arkansas-based company and the Walton family have elevated their charitable giving.

Aldi Nord operates in. About $1.5 million in emergency aid was given to displaced employees, and employees displaced by the storm were offered work at Wal-Mart locations elsewhere in the country. In principle, the two firms share nothing but the name and a similar corporate identity; however, they describe their relationship as a "friendly alliance" and there appear to be agreements between the two insofar that they do not compete directly with each other and (except for Germany) never both operate in the same countries. An emergency contact website was set up by Wal-Mart to help locate displaced persons, accessible by Internet and at every store in the country. The companies have since expanded internationally, into other European, North American, and Australian markets. In addition, an estimated $3 million in merchandise was donated to victims in several states, and in some cases the corporation was able to provide supplies before the federal government. The chains initially covered the respective different regions of the then-West Germany. These donations made it the largest single corporate contributor.

Thus today, Aldi consists of Aldi Nord (Aldi North) (where tobacco sales were deemed to be acceptable) and Aldi Süd (Aldi South) (where they were not; however Aldi Süd began selling tobacco products in 2003). After the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster on the United States Gulf Coast, Wal-Mart donated $2 million to the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross and $15 million to the Bush-Clinton Hurricane Katrina Fund for a total of $17 million. In the year 1961, the then-Aldi chain of supermarket stores split into two sister companies (each belonging to one of the brothers) over a dispute whether to sell cigarettes and other tobacco products at the checkout. More than 90 percent of cash donations from Wal-Mart Stores and the Wal-Mart & SAM'S CLUB Foundation target local communities. Back then, it comprised only one small food shop. The typical Supercenter channels $30,000 to $50,000 a year to local causes and events. The company was founded in 1946 by the brothers Karl and Theo Paul Albrecht in Essen, Germany. Unlike most corporate donors, Wal-Mart does not provide a figure for its corporate contributions; instead Wal-Mart's reported contributions include those made by its customers in a larger aggregate figure.

. In 2004, cash donations to non-profit organizations by Wal-Mart, its employees, and its customers made through Wal-Mart, the Wal-Mart Foundation and the Sam's Club Foundation totaled more than US$170 million. Its spartan stores with low prices on a limited range of goods can now be found in more than a dozen countries. According to a New York Times story, it is seen by 130 million people a month, making it the fifth largest network in America, behind NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox. Historically, Aldi is said to have been Germany's first real discount supermarket. The Wal-Mart Television Network is an in-store network showing commercials for products sold in the stores, concert clips and music videos for recording artists products sold in the stores, trailers for upcoming movie releases, and news. The company's name stands for Albrecht-Discount, using the founders' last name. By focusing on a small number of low-cost products, and siting their retail operations in extremely convenient locations (primarily very small towns which cannot support a Wal-Mart as well as low-income areas of larger metropolitan areas), retailers such as Family Dollar and Dollar General have successfully competed head-to-head with Wal-Mart for home consumer sales.

It is actually two separate companies but is commonly referred to as one. Due to Wal-Mart's success in selling consumer goods and its necessary focus on more expensive items (and larger population areas) to increase revenue, a niche has been carved out of Wal-Mart's dominance by several shrewd retail corporations [1]. Aldi is an international hard discount supermarket chain based in Germany. Chief competitors of Sam's Club are Costco, which is slightly larger than Sam's in terms of sales, as well as the smaller BJ's Wholesale Club chain operating mainly on the East Coast. Kwiksave (UK Only). Wal-Mart's move into the grocery business has also positioned it against major grocery chains such as Kroger, Albertsons, Publix, Giant Eagle, Safeway and dozens of local grocery chains. Netto (1200 stores). Wal-Mart's chief competitors in the discount retail space nationally include Sears Holdings Corporation's Kmart chain and Target, Best Buy, along with many smaller regional chains such as Meijer in the midwest.

Lidl (5000 stores). Wal-Mart stock is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WMT. USA. In 2003 McLane Company was sold to Berkshire Hathaway. United Kingdom. In 1990 Wal-Mart acquired The McLane Company, a foodservice distributor. Switzerland. In the past, Wal-Mart operated dot Discount Drugs, Bud's Discount City, Hypermart*USA, OneSource Nutrition Centers, and Save-Co Home Improvement stores.

Slovenia (where it operates under the name Hofer). This purchase has been approved by Seiyu Group shareholders and The Seiyu will be consolidated into Wal-Mart International in FYE 2006. Ireland. in Japan, with a proposed US$597 million to increase its stake to 50%. Austria (where it operates under the name Hofer). In addition to its wholly-owned international operations, Wal-Mart owns a 42% stake in The Seiyu Co., Ltd. Australia. Wal-Mart also operates the largest real estate company in the United States, with an entire division devoted to building new stores, selling old stores, and developing shopping centers around its stores.

Southern Germany. Internationally, Wal-Mart employs over 410,000 people (excluding Japan) for a company-wide total of 1.7 million employees. Spain. Apart from retail locations, it operates 99 Distribution Centers and Transportation Offices in the United States. Portugal (coming soon). Wal-Mart's corporate headquarters are located in Bentonville, Arkansas. The Netherlands. As of January 2005, Wal-Mart employed 1.3 million people in the United States.

Luxembourg. Wal-Mart also operates Sam's Club—a "warehouse club" (similar to Costco and BJ's) that sells discounted bulk merchandise to due-paying members. France. Wal-Mart operates discount retail department stores selling a broad range of non-grocery products, though emphasis is now focused on the "Supercenters" which offer a full line of grocery items. Denmark. . Belgium. retail stores being spent at Wal-Mart.

Northern Germany. It holds an 8.9 percent retail store market share, with $8.90 out of every $100 spent in U.S. It is the largest private employer in the United States, Mexico and Canada. For the fiscal year ending January 31, 2005, Wal-Mart reported net income of US $10.3 billion on US $285 billion of sales revenue (3.6% profit margin). It is the largest retailer in the world and one of the largest companies in the world based on revenue; in 2004 it was the largest, but the recent rise in oil prices has taken at least one oil company past it.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was founded by Sam Walton in 1962. Accessed January 11, 2006. ^  Wal-Mart giant can be tamed The Boston Globe, November 23, 2003. 121; Can't Wal-Mart, a Retail Behemoth, Pay More? The New York Times, May 4, 2005.

^  See Palast, p. ^  Down and Out in Discount America, The Nation, January 3, 2005; Wal-Mart's Welfare Dependency, San Francisco Chronicle by Sally Lieber, November 7, 2003. House of Representatives Representative George Miller, Senior Democrat, February 16, 2004; Wal-Marts Cost State, Study Says, San Francisco Chronicle, August 3, 2004. ^ Everyday Low Wages: The Hidden Price We All Pay For Wal-Mart (pdf), A Report by the Democratic Staff of the Committee on Education and the Workforce U.S.

^  Wal-Mart public relations web page, section regarding Benefits (retreived May 25, 2005). ^  Retaliating first, Wal-Mart in Canada, The Economist, Feb 24th 2005; Ex-Wal-Mart Workers Win Battle Globe and Mail, Rhéal Séguin, September 17, 2005. Coughlin Told Others Bogus Expenses Hid Plot Against Unions Retailer Disputes His Claim, Wall Street Journal, April 8, 2005. ^  Petty Cash A Wal-Mart Legend's Trail of Deceit Mr.

119-120; Chinese Workers Pay for Wal-Mart's Low Prices, Washington Post, February 8, 2004; [Wal-Mart faces sweat-shop lawsuit Wal-Mart faces sweat-shop lawsuit], Financial Times (London), September 14, 2005; Suit Says Wal-Mart Is Lax on Labor Abuses Overseas, New York Times, September 14, 2005; Workers Sue Wal-Mart Over Sweatshop Conditions, Reuters, September 13, 2005, Sweatshop Workers on Four Continents Sue Wal-Mart in California Court, Press Release, September 13, 2005; Human cost behind bargain shopping Dateline hidden camera investigation in Bangladesh, Dateline NBC, June 17, 2005. ISBN 0745318460., p. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: An Investigative Reporter Exposes the Truth About Globalization, Corporate Cons, and High-Finance Fraudsters, Pluto Press. ^  Palast, Greg (2002).

ISBN 1585424226.. The United States of Wal-Mart, Tarcher. Dicker, John (2005). ISBN 155369855X..

Megamall on the Hudson: Planning, Wal-Mart, and Grassroots Resistance, Trafford. Porter, David (2003). ISBN 0745318460.. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Owl Books.

Ehrenreich, Barbara (2002). ISBN 1580086683.. How Wal-Mart Is Destroying America and the World: And What You Can Do about It (3rd edition). Quinn, Bill (2005).

ISBN 0465023169.. Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers' Rights at Wal-Mart. Featherstone, Liza (2004). ISBN 1932857249..

Wal-Mart: The medeum Cost of Low Price, Disinformation Company. Disinformation Company (2005). ISBN 0385513569.. The Bully of Bentonville: How the High Cost of Wal-Mart's Everyday Low Prices Is Hurting America.

Bianco, Anthony (2006). ISBN 155860684X.. Data Warehousing: Using the Wal-Mart Model. Westerman, Paul (2000).

ISBN 0785261192.. The Wal-Mart Way: The Inside Story of the Success of the World's Largest Company. Soderquist, Don (2005). ISBN 1591840430..

The Wal-Mart Triumph: Inside the World's #1 Company. Slater, Robert (2004). ISBN 1591840066.. The Wal-Mart Decade: How a New Generation of Leaders Turned Sam Walton's Legacy into the World's #1 Company.

Slater, Robert (2003). ISBN 0812963776.. In Sam We Trust: The Untold Story of Sam Walton and Wal-Mart, the World's Most Powerful Retailer. Ortega, Bob (1998).

ISBN 1595580352.. Wal-Mart: A Field Guide to America's Largest Company and the World's Largest Employer, New Press. Lichtenstein, Nelson (2006). ISBN 0471679984..

What I Learned from Sam Walton: How to Compete and Thrive in a Wal-Mart World. Bergdahl, Michael (2004). [26]. Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, a 2005 documentary by Robert Greenwald, the creator of Outfoxed.

Independent America, a 2005 documentary on the larger issue of independent businesses fighting for survival against corpprate chains. Outrageous Fortunes, BBC Three, aired on 26 April 2004, about the workings of Wal-Mart. Featuring interviews with both Wal-Mart top brass and critics, it won a Pulitzer Prize and a Peabody Award for television excellence. The Age of Wal-Mart, a 2004 documentary produced by CNBC.

and China. Frontline: Is Wal-Mart Good for America?, a PBS Frontline documentary on the impact of Wal-Mart in the U.S. Store Wars, a PBS special taking a close look at one community's battle over Wal-Mart. Why Wal-Mart Works & Why That Makes Some People Crazy, a pro-Wal-Mart documentary (not affiliated with Wal-Mart).

Wal-Mart Space a blog run by Bobby Gerry which explores Wal-Mart's financial statements. AlwaysLowPrices.net a blog run by Kevin Brancato (discontinued on November 14, 2005). Wal-Mart political donations. 2004-04-09 10-K.

WMT: Profile for WAL-MART STORES - Yahoo! Finance. Company Profile. Yahoo! - Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price A feature-length documentary.

The New Rules Project(critiques big box development, not limited to Wal-Mart). Wal-Mart Free NYC A group fighting to keep New York City Wal-Mart free. Wal-Mart Wiki Though not strictly critical, this wiki is definitely weighted against Wal-Mart in its current state. Wal-Mart Watchlabor union-funded website.

Wake-Up Wal-Mart website by the United Food and Commercial Workers. Index of numerous studies on Wal-Mart's economic and social impacts from The American Independent Business Alliance. Sprawl Busters, site Al Norman, an activist who helps local "site fights" against big box stores. Rotten Library: Wal-Mart.

Video report of Wal-Mart using child labor, CBC News, November 30, 2005. Wal-Mart caught using child labor, CBC News, November 30, 2005. Maryland's House approved a bill that would require all businesses in the state with more than 10,000 employees to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health benefits for workers. Sweet Victory: Maryland Stands Up To Wal-Mart, The Nation, Sunday, April 17, 2005.

Retaliating first, Wal-Mart in Canada, The Economist, Feb 24th 2005. Wal-Marts Cost State, Study Says, San Francisco Chronicle, August 3, 2004. House of Representatives Representative George Miller, Senior Democrat, February 16, 2004. Everyday Low Wages: The Hidden Price We All Pay For Wal-Mart(pdf), A Report by the Democratic Staff of the Committee on Education and the Workforce U.S.

Article argues that the decline of Union Industry jobs and the rise of Wal-Mart is destroying America's middle class. In Wal-Mart's America, Washington Post, August 27, 2003. Up against the Wal-Mart, Business Week, March 13, 2000, Explains union's attempt to unionize Wal-Marts. "Wal-Mart: High Prices for American Workers" file, (PDF February 16, 2004) from the Democratic Staff of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

California Legislators Call for Oversight of Wal-Mart's Health Benefits (Study of Peachcare). "The Wal-Mart You Don't Know", Fast Company, Issue 77, December 2003, Page 68 Wal-Mart's relentless pressure can crush the companies it does business with and force them to send jobs overseas. "Inside the Leviathan" by Simon Head for The New York Review of Books, December 16, 2004. UC Berkeley report on the community impact of Wal-Mart's lower wages(pdf).

How Costco Became the Anti-Wal-Mart, The New York Times, July 17, 2005. Costco's Dilemma: Is Treating Employees Well Unacceptable for a Public Corporation? The Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2004 Costco's compensation for its employees with comparison to Wal-Mart. Company for the People Seattle Weekly, December 15 - 21, 2004, Article which contrasts Wal-Mart with employee-friendly Costco. The Freedom to Hate Wal-Mart?, Paul Jacob, The Free Liberal, December 5, 2005.

Should We Admire Wal-Mart? Fortune Magazine, March 8, 2004. Economy a study funded by Wal-Mart, determining the net economic impact of Wal-Mart at the national, city, and county level. Measuring the Economic Impact of Wal-Mart on the U.S. of Economics, University of Missouri, 2002.

"Job Creation or Destruction? Labor-Market Effects of Wal-Mart Expansion" (pdf), Emek Basker, Dept. "A distorted lens on Wal-Mart", Bruce Bartlett, Washington Times, November 22, 2004. Wal-Mart's China inventory to hit US$18b this year China Daily, November 29, 2004. Wal-Mart and RFID: A Case Study Wal-Mart's future plans to further reduce costs.

Understanding the Wal-Mart Effect, Max Borders, Tech Central Station, April 11, 2005. Business Week, October 26, 2005, "Some Uncomfortable Findings for Wal-Mart" overview of some academic research findings on Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart's Corporate political contributions at BuyBlue.org. Against the Wal has a larger, but much less selective collection of articles on Wal-Mart.

Much of the best reporting and studies from multiple perspectives is collected here. The articles largely are critical of Wal-Mart, but supporters also are represented. Reclaim Democracy huge collection of articles, studies and websites on Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart Public Relations site.

Wal-Mart Foundation. Corporate Site. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The Wal-Mart in Madison, Ohio is the only Wal-Mart with two American flags outside.

With the success of the much smaller "dollar" stores like Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Dollar Tree, Wal-Mart is seriously considering entering the dollar store business.[25]. Ol' Roy, the Wal-Mart brand of dog food sold at the stores, was named after Sam Walton's dog, which lived from 1970 to 1981. United Kingdom (ASDA): 282. Puerto Rico (United States insular area): 54.

Mexico: 678. South Korea: 16. Germany: 91. China: 43.

Canada: 262. Brazil: 295. Argentina: 11. International: 1,587 (US$56.3 billion total)

    .

    SAM'S CLUB (United States): 551 Clubs (US$37.1 billion total). Neighborhood Markets: 85. Supercenters: 1,713. Discount Stores: 1,353.

    Wal-Mart Stores USA (3,337 stores, excluding Puerto Rico) (US$201.4 billion)

      . Company Total: 5,246 stores (excludes Seiyu operations) (US$285.2 billion)
        . Wal-Mart International — operates various formats internationally, including (but not limited to) SAM'S CLUB, Discount Stores, Supercenters, Supermarkets, and restaurants. Sam's Club also operates in Canada.

        as of October 31, 2005. There were 556 Sam's Clubs in the U.S. Clubs average 128,000 square feet (11,891 m²). SAM'S CLUB — a membership-only wholesale warehouse club focused mainly on serving small business owners.

        The walmart.com site also offers digital music downloads with digital rights management (DRM) and online photo processing. Walmart.com — Online shopping site that offers merchandise different from that in stores. The concept will be introduced into Canada in 2006 with 3 stores (one in London, Ontario and 2 in the Greater Toronto Area). as of October 31, 2005.

        There were 96 Neighborhood Markets in the U.S. Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market — Average 43,000 square feet (4,000 m²) and include grocery, pharmacy, and limited general merchandise products. as of October 31, 2005. There were 1,914 Wal-Mart Supercenters in the U.S.

        Some locations also sell gasoline through Murphy USA. The food courts are normally limited-menu McDonald's, though Subway, Dunkin Donuts, and Baskin-Robbins have also been located. (commonly known as big box stores) The stores also typically feature a tire and oil change shop (Wal-Mart Tire & Lube Express), a hair-cutting place, a Movie Gallery video store, an arcade, an eye-care place, and a branch from a local bank in the area. Wal-Mart Supercenter — Average 187,000 square feet (17,400 m²) and combine a standard Wal-Mart Discount Store with a full-line supermarket.

        as of October 31, 2005. There were 1,233 Wal-Mart Discount Stores in the U.S. The stores also have an in-house-branded food court. Wal-Mart Discount Stores — Average 100,000 square feet (9,290 m²) and include a selection of general merchandise, including apparel, electronics, health and beauty aids, toys, sporting goods, and household products.

        Wal-Mart Stores USA

          . In Kim Possible it is catagorized by "Smarty-Mart". In Fox's The Simple Life, socialite Paris Hilton appears to be unaware of the existence of Wal-Mart and asks "Do they sell things for walls?" Cohort Nicole Richie comparatively appears more knowledgable, announcing "People hang out at Wal-Mart." In a later episode, the pair visit a Wal-Mart and are shown frolicking, reading magazines on the floor, and "hanging out". Former Miami Herald humor columnist Dave Barry penned a column detailing the early millennium fascination with spending the night in an RV parked outside Wal-Mart.

          'Stuff-Mart' is a location in the Veggie Tales video "Madame Blueberry," which addresses consumerism. 'Wall 2 Wall Mart' is seen in The Fairly OddParents. Another cartoon, "This Land", also parodies Wal-Mart. A JibJab comic called "Big Box Mart" premiered on the October 13, 2005 Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

          South Park residents return to a mom and pop store until it too becomes a big box retailer, which residents promptly burns to the ground. Stan and Kyle eventually destroy the Wall-Mart by breaking its heart, a mirror in the electronics department that reflects the image of Stan and Kyle, which shows them that the heart of Wall-Mart is the consumers. The town, unable to resist shopping there, tries to burn Wall-Mart, but a crew rebuilds it the following day. The episode also pokes fun at consumers: South Park residents are forced to shop at Wall-Mart because they are unable to resist its everyday low prices.

          The retailer is depicted as a self-aware and independent entity, building itself across the nation to take over everything, and forcing employees and managers to work there against their will. A "Wall-Mart" built in Comedy Central's South Park episode "Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes" runs all local stores out of business. Ironically, he is hired to sell propane at Mega Lo Mart until the store is burned down when an inept supervisor causes a gas leak.[21]. When Mega-Lo Mart begins selling propane, Strickland Propane can't compete with their prices, and protagonist Hank Hill loses his job selling propane and propane accessories.

          "Mega-Lo Mart" (with a pronunciation similar to "megalomania") is a large discount retailer on Fox's King of the Hill. A Mad TV sketch made a parody of the franchise refering to it as "Walls Mart" poking fun at the bland persistence of Wal*Mart employees. This may be a parody of Wal-Mart, such as its taking on additional markets, like Sam's Club imitating Costco and Neighborhood Markets imitating Albertson's or Safeway. A large Wal-Mart like store is shown in the background.

          Additionally in another episode when Homer asks Ned Flanders how his Leftorium store is doing he says not too good, due to a "Left*Mart" having moved in. In the 2005 episode "On A Clear Day I Can't See My Sister", the Sprawl-Mart carries the sign "Not a parody of Wal-Mart". "Sprawl-Mart" is a big-box retailer in Springfield on Fox's The Simpsons. Sy Parrish, the main character in 2002's One Hour Photo, works at a large discounter called "Sav-Mart".

          A Wal-Mart in the middle of the New Mexico desert serves as a product placement parody in the 2003 animated comedy Looney Tunes: Back in Action. The scene was filmed outside a Frisco, Colorado Wal-Mart. A ultra-slick, out-of-control sled ridden by Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) into the toy donation bin outside of a Wal-Mart in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. The character is also included in the 2005 film adaptation, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

          Tibby, a character in Ann Brashares 2001 novel, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, spends her summer working at 'Wallmans'. Letts' book was adapted in 2000's Natalie Portman-Ashley Judd film Where the Heart Is. The film, costarring Joan Cusack and Stockard Channing, changes the setting to a Lubbock, Texas Wal-Mart. Billie Letts's 1995 novel Where the Heart Is depicts 17-year-old Novalee Nation moving in to, and give birth in, an Oklahoma Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart also squeezes out any inefficiencies in the business, such as reducing paper consumption by using a computerized process.

          Hourly employees can be reprimanded or terminated for having unauthorized overtime. Cost Control: Wal-Mart watches controllable expenses very closely. Mainland Chinese media place Wal-Mart as their 8th largest trading partner in front of Russia and the UK on the top-10 list. current account imports from China was reported as $152.4 billion during 2003 [10].

          U.S. operations. In the same period net sales reached $256 billion, with $209 billion coming from U.S. About $7.5 billion were directly imported by Wal-Mart; the other $7.5 came indirectly through suppliers.

          31, 2004. 18, 2004 that it imported $15 billion worth of goods from China in the year that ended Jan. Suppliers: A spokesperson for the company told the Wall Street Journal on Nov. As of June 2004, it has announced plans [9] to require the use of the technology among its top 300 suppliers by January 2006.

          Also, Wal-Mart's focus on cost reduction has led to its involvement in a standards effort [8] to use RFID-based Electronic Product Codes to lower the costs of supply chain management. Information Systems: Wal-Mart helped push the retail industry to adopt UPC codes and bar-code scanning equipment. This is why Wal-Mart began to sell low margin groceries. This allows the company to grow revenue over its fixed cost base (more sales out of the same store).

          One particular aspect of the economy of scale is the aggregation effect, used in other business such as The Home Depot and Wells Fargo, whereby Wal-Mart sells as many different items as possible. Wal-Mart's vast purchasing power also gives it the leverage to force manufacturers to change their production (usually by creating cheaper products) to suit its wishes: a single Wal-Mart order can easily comprise a double-digit percentage of a supplier's annual output. This reduces the overhead of having a large inventory control and buying department. They are leaders in the field of vendor managed inventory—asking large suppliers to oversee stock control for a category and make recommendations to Wal-Mart buyers.

          Wal-Mart benefits from economies of scale in manufacturing and logistics; the purchase of massive quantities of items from its suppliers combined with a very efficient stock control system help make Wal-Mart's operating costs lower than those of its competitors. "This strategy gave Wal-Mart a near monopoly in its local markets and enabled the company to ride out the recessions of the 1970s and 1980s more successfully than its then larger competitors such as K-Mart and Sears."[7]. Lastly, rural towns were less likely to have organized unions and community activists unlike large urban centres. Wal-Mart then promptly moved quickly to pre-empt these discovered locations, since allowing a competitor to locate would likely cause a price war that would make both discount stores unprofitable.

          Although the intended location was a seemingly small rural town, being up in a plane would reveal a lucrative market if the surrounding communities were taken into account, defying the conventional wisdom that a discount store requires a sizable city. The company claims it analyzes potential locations to find those that would support "one and a half" stores. The company has always paid a great deal of attention to site selection; in the company's early years, Sam Walton would fly over small towns in a private plane to identify prospective locations. 2006: Wal-Mart is built in the town of Napanee, Ontario after years of discussion.

          2005: Wal-Mart seeks to expand to urban markets, most notably New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Five months later, Wal-Mart announces that it would close the store, citing poor sales. 2004: Wal-Mart employees in Jonquière, Quebec, Canada vote in favor of becoming the first unionized Wal-Mart in North America. 2004: Wal-Mart buys the Amigo supermarket chain in Puerto Rico for $17 million.

          2003: Wal-Mart sets a single-day sales record of $1.52 billion on Black Friday. It acquires the ASDA Group with 229 stores in the United Kingdom. 1999: Wal-Mart has 1,140,000 employees, making it the largest private employer in the world. 1998: First Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market opens.

          1997: Wal-Mart has its first $100 billion sales year. 1997: Wal-Mart becomes largest private employer in the United States, with 680,000 employees worldwide. Woolworth's Square One Shopping Centre location in Canada becomes the largest Wal-Mart store in the world, at 220,000 square feet (20,000 m²). 1997: Wal-Mart replaces Woolworth on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

          1996: Wal-Mart enters China through a joint-venture agreement. 1994: Wal-Mart acquires 122 Woolco stores in Canada. opens, in Mexico City. 1991: The first store outside of the U.S.

          1990: Wal-Mart becomes nation's largest retailer. 1988: First Supercenter opens in Washington, Missouri. 1987: Wal-Mart completes largest private satellite communication system in the U.S. 1983: First Sam's Club opens in Midwest City, Oklahoma.

          1972: Wal-Mart listed on the New York Stock Exchange. on October 31, 1969. 1969: The company incorporates as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 1962: First Wal-Mart store opens in Rogers, Arkansas.

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