Walmart Wasn't First Big Retailer to Be Condemned for Serving Its Customers With Everyday Low Prices
Does this sound familiar?
1. At its peak, the retail chain had nearly 16,000 stores nationwide, with a retail presence in almost every state. Critics charged it with competing unfairly by offering too-low prices.
2. The major retailer's business philosophy is simple: If the company keeps its costs down and prices low, more shoppers will come through its doors, producing more profits than if it kept prices high. The more stores it opens, the greater the take.
4. Chain retailing has become a political issue, one that continues to nag the big-box retailer. The critics' persistent charge is that the chain retailer's prices are too low. Because the chains are so big, they could offer special deals to wholesalers. They can also build their own bakeries and canneries, options unavailable to the independent "mom and pops."
MP: Of course the chain retailer being discussed above would appear to be "evil" Walmart, but it's actually a discussion about a low-price, chain retailer that was founded almost a century before Walmart opened its first store in 1962. What the two retailers had in common was a relentless focus on controlling costs with supply chain efficiencies and economies of scale, with the ultimate goal of providing "everyday low prices" to their consumers. And despite their joint success in serving their consumers with service, quality and prices unmatched by their competitors, both chain retailers received a fair amount of public condemnation for providing alternatives to higher-priced small, "mom and pop" merchants.
Find out more about Walmart's retail predecessor in today's WSJ (text above was modified slightly).
Note: Walmart currently operates about 4,400 stores in the U.S. (including Sam's Clubs), far fewer than the 16,000 stores the other giant retailer was operating in the U.S. at one time.