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What’s up with Wal-Mart?

There’s been a lot happening with Wal-Mart lately. Last week, Advertising Age reported that in the company’s attempt “to broaden its appeal and woo both upscale and urban markets” it has “hired a gay-marketing shop, joined the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and begun discussions with activist groups about extending domestic-partnership benefits to its employees.”

Meanwhile, DiversityInc highlighted that “Wal-Mart’s recent partnership with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) clearly has alienated some anti-gay groups, which are trying to stir up opposition to the giant retailer.”

And then, other reports this week focused on the retailer’s addition of upscale goods to draw in a wider shopping audience interested in more than low prices, as well as it “making nice with urban politicians and anti-Wal-Mart activists through a new ad campaign that touts its improved health insurance policy and charitable giving programs.”

Whatever it is that’s going on, Wal-Mart is changing. Many of these new moves could alienate its core customer base. Yet amid a sluggish back-to-school sales period, the retailer reported that same-store sales for August rose 2.7 percent.

Related Resources:
Feature: How Many Lightbulbs Does it Take to Change the World? One. And You’re Looking At It., by Charles Fishman
Resource Center: Ten Steps to Turn Around Wal-Mart , by Adam Hanft
Slideshow: 10 Steps to Turn Around Wal-Mart

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