Florida Pilot

A compendium of random thoughts from a former Washington Beltway insider who is now having a lot more fun flying small airplanes in Central Florida.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Is what's good for Wal-Mart good for the country?

During the 1950's, GM president Charles E. Wilson stated, "What's good for General Motors is good for the country." At the time, GM was the largest company in the country as well as the largest employer.

These days, Wal-Mart is the giant of American companies with over 1,000,000 employees and, by itself, counting for an amazing $15 billon of the trade imbalance between the United States and China. From forcing suppliers to lower prices to claims of abuse of employees, Wal-Mart has become quite a controversial operation.

According to Financial Times, "Worries about the sustainability of the US economic recovery were stoked on Sunday after Wal-Mart, the discount retailer that is a bellwether for the country's retail sector, announced that sales grew by only 0.7 per cent in the year to November.

The world's largest retailer had estimated growth of 2 to 4 per cent just 10 days ago. But Wal-Mart revised its estimates down on Saturday evening after disappointing sales on “Black Friday”, the day after Thanksgiving so called because it is traditionally the time retailers move into profit for the year. It is an indicator of spending for the holiday season, when a quarter of annual retail sales are rung up."


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