Wal-Mart Without Worries

Interesting story in today’s New York Times about how U.S. consumers don’t trust big businesses (free registration required). Yet, in the case of at least one company, Wal-Mart, that trust may have little or nothing to do with loss of business.

According to Wal-Mart vice chairman John Menzer, in an interview on, the company has seen higher sales this November than the same time last year. Wal-Mart officials also expect December sales to be just as good. And yet, Wal-Mart is among the most negatively-covered big businesses out there — there’s a critical documentary in theaters now (“The High Cost of Low Price”); harsh books (“How Wal-Mart is Destroying America,” “The United States of Wal-Mart”); and skeptical articles. You might think the retail giant would be impacted by consumers turned off by its business practices. Yet, holiday sales are meeting expectations.

So what does this say? Are American consumers just slavish devotees to a good, everyday-low price? Or is all the hype just that — and a lack of trust irrelevant when it comes to doing business.