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Thomas Moss

Journal #4 Always Low Prices-Always


In the late 1980's there was little mention of Wal-Mart in the Retail industry. The sector was still mainly dominated by companies such as Kmart, Sears and Roebuck and J.C. Penney. By the mid-1990's Wal-Mart had been opening 3 stores nationwide on a weekly basis and had taken a commanding lead over all other retailers. As the other retailers were left in the dust and their profits began to dwindle down a question remained--What does Wal-Mart do so right that made them so incredibly and undeniably effective in gaining control of the market? The values instilled by Sam Walton were keystones of all-American values: hard work, frugality, discipline, loyalty and never to get complacent with the goals that have been achieved. It is though these values that the Wal-Mart effect of low prices has been spread nationwide. In the later years of his life Sam Walton began efforts with his wife to begin private and charter schools to improve educational standards. Between 2005 and 2010, the Walton Family Foundation gave nearly $700 million to education reform organizations. One issue that had been a constant factor in almost any market that Wal-Mart entered was literacy and work performance by employees of lower education levels. While it had been of a fundamental importance to have lower prices, the issue of worker education had become an issue eating into profit margins was having trouble finding qualified people to fill entry-level positions and because the family believed that the education being provided [in public schools] had been dummied [sic] down. The impact of a low value education and literacy had come to play a significant impact in the workplace. The lack of having a reliable, educated population pool to draw from for the companies stores initiated this change. Initiatives have also been made to create, within the retail giant, scholarships for associates with graduating seniors. The Wal-Mart Foundation seeks a long-term approach to creating a reliable workforce in low income areas where Wal-Mart operates. While they can be seen as a solid effort of

philanthropy of the Walton family. It is more geared towards establishing an educated workforce that will be of better use to the consumer and retail industry.

Fishman, Charles. The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works-- and How It's Transforming the American Economy. New York: Penguin, 2006. Print. Support Caroline Preston. A Quiet Family Fund Creates a Loud Buzz,, The Chronicle of Philanthropy February 20, 2011, Article

Vance, Sandra Stringer, and Roy Vernon Scott. Wal-Mart: A History of Sam Walton's Retail Phenomenon. New York: Twayne, 1994. Print.