Discount Stores

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Posted by sonny 03/11/2009 @ 02:12

Tags : discount stores, retailers, business

News headlines
US Retail Sales Reports Show Positive Signs for Discount Stores - Israel Diamond Portal
If retail sales reports for April serve as an indication of the future, American discount retailers will have a better than expected year, after a disastrous holiday season saw record-breaking losses for the nation's largest stores....
Nordstrom 1Q Net Falls 32% On Lower Sales; Raises FY EPS View - Wall Street Journal
Nordstrom opened 3 full-line stores, one of which relocated, and four of its discount Nordstrom Rack stores in the quarter. For fiscal 2009, Nordstrom raised its per-share earnings view of $1.25 to $1.50, up from its February target of $1.10 to $1.40....
Expanded Offerings Attracts Customers To Goodwill -
Smith admits you may find similar products at the discount stores for less, however, she said you will see a difference in quality. "The items we sell are very good quality and when you can we do buy products with recycled parts in them," said Smith....
S.Korea April department store sales rise again - Reuters
Durable goods sales in major department stores dropped 11.6 percent in April from a year ago. The ministry also said sales at the country's major discount stores rose 0.1 percent in April from a year earlier, rebounding from a 0.8 percent fall in March...
Wal-Mart bests sales expectations - Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Wal-Mart said sales at its supercenters, discount stores and Neighborhood Market grocery stores rose 5.9 percent from year-ago levels. Discount-sector rival Target Corp. of Minneapolis reported a 0.3 percent same-store sales increase....
People of all types gather in Brevard for job opportunities - Florida Today
The Nielsen Co., based in New York, released a nationwide survey Tuesday indicating that consumers are turning to deep discount stores, with high-income shoppers spending 18 percent more at dollar stores in the second half of 2008 compared to the prior...
South Korea's April Department-Store Sales Rise on Luxury Goods - Bloomberg
Spending at the three biggest department-store chains climbed 2.8 percent from a year earlier, while sales at discount stores gained 0.1 percent, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in an e-mailed statement today. The central bank left its interest...
Bob's Discount to Open NY Store - Home Furnishings Business
Bob's Discount Furniture Furniture is set to open a store that will anchor a recently overhauled mall in Wappinger Falls, NY, now called the Shoppes at South Hills, the Poughkeepsie Journal reported Wednesday. After openings in Poughkeepsie and Yonkers...
US Target adds mini-markets to 100 stores - International Supermarket News
The big (generally 100000 square-foot-plus) Target discount stores already sell a limited assortment of shelf-stable and perishable food, grocery and packaged goods items but don't offer fresh foods such as fresh meats or fresh produce....
Are US Consumers On A Diet, Or Are They Just Turning Thrifty? - International Business Times
The BEA puts the food outlays data together by measuring food purchases at grocery stores, discount stores, warehouse clubs, convenience stores and other places food is sold. They then adjust the sales figures for price changes, as reported in the...

Howard Brothers Discount Stores

Howard Brothers Discount Stores (informally known as Howard Brothers and Howard's) was a chain of discount stores in the Southeastern United States. The chain was founded in 1959 by Alton and W.L. "Jack" Howard, purchased by Wickes, fell on hard times after the rise of Wal-Mart, and dissolved circa 1986.

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King's Discount Stores

King's Discount Stores is a chain discount department stores founded in 1915 by M.H. King in Burley, Idaho. King's Discount Stores has 32 stores in 6 western states Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, and Nevada.

A typical King's store is modeled after Woolworth stores and most older stores include a basement. A typical King's store size ranges from 11,000 to 20,000 square feet (1,900 m2) and carry a wide variety of value priced merchandise. King's mainly specializes in small communities with only a grocery store similar to Pamida discount stores.

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Sam Walton's original Walton's Five and Dime store in Bentonville, Arkansas, now serving as the Wal-Mart Visitor's Center

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is an American public corporation that runs a chain of large, discount department stores. It is the world's largest public corporation by revenue, according to the 2008 Fortune Global 500. Founded by Sam Walton in 1962, it was incorporated on October 31, 1969, and listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1972. It is the largest private employer in the world and the third-largest utility or commercial employer, trailing the British National Health Service, and the Indian Railways. Wal-Mart is the largest grocery retailer in the United States, with an estimated 20% of the retail grocery and consumables business. It also owns and operates the North American company, Sam's Club.

Wal-Mart operates in Mexico as Walmex, in the UK as ASDA, and in Japan as Seiyu. It has wholly owned operations in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Wal-Mart's investments outside North America have had mixed results: its operations in South America and China are highly successful, while it was forced to pull out of Germany and South Korea when ventures there were unsuccessful.

Wal-Mart has been criticized by some community groups, women's rights groups, grassroots organizations, and labor unions, specifically for its extensive foreign product sourcing, low rates of employee health insurance enrollment, resistance to union representation, and alleged sexism.

Sam Walton, a businessman from Arkansas, began his retail career when he started work on June 3, 1940, at a J.C. Penney store in Des Moines, Iowa where he remained for 18 months. In 1945, he met Butler Brothers, a regional retailer that owned a chain of variety stores called Ben Franklin and that offered him one in Newport, Arkansas.

Walton was extremely successful in running the store in Newport, far exceeding expectations. However, when the lease came up for renewal, Walton could neither come to agreement on the existing store's lease renewal nor find a new location in Newport. Instead, he opened a new Ben Franklin franchise in Bentonville, Arkansas, but called it "Walton's Five and Dime." There, he achieved higher sales volume by marking up slightly less than most competitors.

On July 2, 1962, Walton opened the first Wal-Mart Discount City store located at 719 Walnut Ave. in Rogers, Arkansas. The building is now occupied by a hardware store and a pawn shop. Within five years, the company expanded to 24 stores across Arkansas and reached $12.6 million in sales. In 1968, it opened its first stores outside Arkansas, in Sikeston, Missouri and Claremore, Oklahoma.

The company was incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. on October 31, 1969. In 1970, it opened its home office and first distribution center in Bentonville, Arkansas. It had 38 stores operating with 1,500 employees and sales of $44.2 million. It began trading stock as a publicly held company on October 1, 1972, and was soon listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The first stock split occurred in May 1971 at a market price of $47. By this time, Wal-Mart was operating in five states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Oklahoma; it entered Tennessee in 1973 and Kentucky and Mississippi in 1974. As it moved into Texas in 1975, there were 125 stores with 7,500 employees and total sales of $340.3 million.

In the 1980s, Wal-Mart continued to grow rapidly, and by its 25th anniversary in 1987 there were 1,198 stores with sales of $15.9 billion and 200,000 associates. This year also marked the completion of the company's satellite network, a $24 million investment linking all operating units of the company with its Bentonville office via two-way voice and data transmission and one-way video communication. At the time, it was the largest private satellite network, allowing the corporate office to track inventory and sales and to instantly communicate to stores. In 1988, Sam Walton stepped down as CEO and was replaced by David Glass. Walton remained as Chairman of the Board, and the company also rearranged other people in senior positions.

In 1988, the first Wal-Mart Supercenter opened in Washington, Missouri. Thanks to its superstores, it surpassed Toys "R" Us in toy sales in the late 1990s. The company also opened overseas stores, entering South America in 1995 with stores in Argentina and Brazil; and Europe in 1999, buying ASDA in the UK for $10 billion.

In 1998, Wal-Mart introduced the "Neighborhood Market" concept with three stores in Arkansas. By 2005, estimates indicate that the company controlled about 20% of the retail grocery and consumables business.

In 2000, H. Lee Scott became President and CEO, and Wal-Mart's sales increased to $165 billion. In 2002, it was listed for the first time as America's largest corporation on the Fortune 500 list, with revenues of $219.8 billion and profits of $6.7 billion. It has remained there every year, except for 2006.

In 2005, Wal-Mart had $312.4 billion in sales, more than 6,200 facilities around the world—including 3,800 stores in the United States and 2,800 elsewhere, employing more than 1.6 million "associates" worldwide. Its U.S. presence grew so rapidly that only small pockets of the country remained further than 60 miles (100 km) from the nearest Wal-Mart.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in September 2005, Wal-Mart was able to use its logistical efficiency in organizing a rapid response to the disaster, donating $20 million in cash, 1,500 truckloads of free merchandise, food for 100,000 meals, as well as the promise of a job for every one of its displaced workers. An independent study by Steven Horwitz of St. Lawrence University found that Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe's, made use of their local knowledge about supply chains, infrastructure, decision makers and other resources to provide emergency supplies and reopen stores well before FEMA began its response. While the company was overall lauded for its quick response – amidst the criticisms of the Federal Emergency Management Agency – several critics were nonetheless quick to point out that there still remain issues with the company's labor relations issues.

In October 2005, Wal-Mart announced it would implement several environmental measures to increase energy efficiency. The primary goals included spending $500 million a year to increase fuel efficiency in Wal-Mart’s truck fleet by 25% over three years and double it within ten, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% in seven years, reduce energy use at stores by 30%, and cut solid waste from U.S. stores and Sam’s Clubs by 25% in three years. CEO Lee Scott said that Wal-Mart's goal was to be a "good steward for the environment" and ultimately use only renewable energy sources and produce zero waste. The company also designed three new experimental stores in McKinney, Texas, Aurora, Colorado, and Las Vegas, Nevada. with wind turbines, photovoltaic solar panels, biofuel-capable boilers, water-cooled refrigerators, and xeriscape gardens. Despite much criticism of its environmental record, Wal-Mart took a few steps in what is viewed as a positive direction, which included becoming the biggest seller of organic milk and the biggest buyer of organic cotton in the world, as well as reducing packaging and energy costs. Wal-Mart also spent nearly a year working with outside consultants to discover the company's total environmental impact and find where they could improve. They discovered, for example, that by eliminating excess packaging on their toy line Kid Connection, they could not only save $2.4 million a year in shipping costs but also 3,800 trees and a million barrels of oil. Wal-Mart has also recently created its own electric company in Texas, Texas Retail Energy, and plans to supply its stores with cheap power purchased at wholesale prices. Through this new venture, the company expects to save $15 million annually and also lays the groundwork and infrastructure to sell electricity to Texas consumers in the future.

In March 2006, Wal-Mart sought to appeal to a more affluent demographic. The company launched a new Supercenter concept in Plano, Texas, intended to compete against stores seen as more upscale and appealing, such as Target. The new store has wood floors, wider aisles, a sushi bar, a coffee/sandwich shop with free Wi-Fi Internet access, and more expensive beers, wines, electronics, and other goods. The exterior has a hunter green background behind the Wal-Mart letters, similar to Wal-Mart Neighborhood Markets, instead of the blue previously used at its supercenters.

On September 12, 2007, Wal-Mart introduced new advertising with the slogan, "Save Money Live Better," replacing the "Always Low Prices, Always" slogan, which it had used for the previous 19 years. Global Insight, which conducted the research that supported the ads, found that Wal-Mart's price level reduction resulted in savings for consumers of $287 billion in 2006, which equated to $957 per person or $2,500 per household (up 7.3% from the 2004 savings estimate of $2,329).

On June 30, 2008, Wal-Mart unveiled a new company logo, featuring the non-hyphenated name "Walmart" followed by a stylized spark, as it is referred to on store advertisements. The new logo received mixed reviews from some design critics, who question whether the new logo is as bold as competitors such as the Target bullseye or as instantly recognizable as the former company logo, which was used for 18 years. The new logo made its debut on the company's website on July 1, 2008, although the old logo still appears on the corporate site, The new logo will eventually replace store logos at the company's US locations throughout the year. Wal-Mart international have not yet adopted the new logo.

Wal-Mart's operations primarily comprises three retailing subsidiaries: Wal-Mart Stores Division U.S., Sam's Club, and Wal-Mart International. The company does business in nine different retail formats: supercenters, food and drugs, general merchandise stores, bodegas (small markets), cash and carry stores, membership warehouse clubs, apparel stores, soft discount stores and restaurants.

Wal-Mart Stores Division U.S. is Wal-Mart's largest business subsidiary, accounting for 67.2% of net sales for financial year 2006. It consists of three retail formats that have become commonplace in the United States: Discount Stores, Supercenters, and Neighborhood Markets. The retail department stores sell a variety of mostly non-grocery products, though emphasis has now shifted towards supercenters, which include more grocery items. This division also includes Wal-Mart's online retailer,

In September 2006, Wal-Mart announced a new pilot program to sell generic drugs at just $4 per prescription. The pilot program was launched at stores in the Tampa, Florida area, and expanded to all stores in Florida by January 2007. While the average price of generics is $29 per prescription, compared to $102 for name-brand drugs, Wal-Mart maintains that it is not selling at a loss, or providing as an act of charity – instead, they are using the same mechanisms of mass distribution that it uses to bring lower prices to other products.

On February 6, 2007, the company launched a "beta" version of its new movie download service,, which sells 3,000 films and television episodes from all major studios and television networks. This service was discontinued on December 21, 2007.

Wal-Mart Discount Stores are discount department stores with size varying from 51,000 square feet (4,738.1 m2) to 224,000 square feet (20,810.3 m2), with an average store covering about 102,000 square feet (9,476.1 m2). They carry general merchandise and a selection of food. Many of these stores also have a garden center, a pharmacy, Tire & Lube Express, optical center, one-hour photo processing lab, portrait studio, a bank branch, a cell phone store and a fast food outlet. Some also have gasoline stations.

The first Wal-Mart store opened in Rogers, Arkansas in 1962.

In 1990, Wal-Mart opened its first Bud's Discount City location in Bentonville. Bud's operated as a closeout store, much like Big Lots. Many locations were opened to fulfill leases in shopping centers as Wal-Mart stores left and moved into newly built Supercenters. All of the Bud's Discount City stores closed or converted into Wal-Mart Discount Stores by 1997.

As of January 31, 2008, there were 971 Wal-Mart Discount Stores in the United States. In 2006, the busiest in the world was one in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Wal-Mart Supercenters are hypermarkets with size varying from 98,000 square feet (9,104.5 m2) to 261,000 square feet (24,247.7 m2), with an average of about 197,000 square feet (18,301.9 m2). These stock everything a Wal-Mart Discount Store does, and also include a full-service supermarket, including meat and poultry, baked goods, delicatessen, frozen foods, dairy products, garden produce, and fresh seafood. Many Wal-Mart Supercenters also have a garden center, pet shop, pharmacy, Tire & Lube Express, optical center, one-hour photo processing lab, portrait studio, and numerous alcove shops, such as cellular phone stores, hair and nail salons, video rental stores, local bank branches, and fast food outlets (usually Subway; several Supercenter and discount locations have also had McDonald's locations, usually with reduced menus, beginning in the early 1990s). Some Dunkin' Donuts or Blimpie restaurants can be found inside Walmart Supercenters. Some also sell gasoline distributed by Murphy Oil Corporation (whose Wal-Mart stations are branded as "Murphy USA"), Sunoco, Inc. ("Optima"), or Tesoro Corporation ("Mirastar").

The first Supercenter opened in 1988 in Washington, Missouri. A similar concept, Hypermart USA, opened in Garland, Texas a year earlier. All of the Hypermart USA stores were later closed or converted into Supercenters.

As of January 31, 2008, there were 2,447 Wal-Mart Supercenters in the United States. The nation's largest Supercenter, covering 260,000 square feet (24,000 m2) and two floors, is located in Crossgates Commons in Albany, New York.

Wal-Mart Neighborhood Markets are grocery stores that average about 42,000 square feet (3,901.9 m2). They offer a variety of products, which include full lines of groceries, pharmaceuticals, health and beauty aids, photo developing services, and a limited selection of general merchandise.

Neighborhood Markets are used to fill the gap between Discount Stores and Supercenters.

The first Neighborhood Market opened in 1998 in Bentonville, Arkansas. As of January 31, 2008, there were 132 of them in the United States.

Sam's Club is a chain of warehouse clubs which sell groceries and general merchandise, often in large quantities. Sam's Club stores are "membership" stores and most customers buy annual memberships. However, non-members can make purchases either by buying a one-day membership or paying a surcharge based on the price of the purchase. Some locations also sell gasoline. The first Sam's Club opened in 1983 in Midwest City, Oklahoma under the name "Sam's Wholesale Club".

According to Wal-Mart's 2007 Annual Report, Sam's Club's sales during 2007 were $42 billion, or 12.1% of Wal-Mart's total 2007 sales. As of January 31, 2008, there were 591 Sam's Clubs in the United States.

Marketside is a new chain of grocery stores opened in October 2008, the stores are said to be less than half the size of a conventional supermarket, as stated in the backgrounder found on Wal-Mart's official homepage. Each of their stores is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Wal-Mart's international operations currently comprise 2,980 stores in 14 countries outside the United States. According to Wal-Mart's 2006 Annual Report, the International division accounted for about 20.1% of sales. There are wholly owned operations in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Puerto Rico (although PR is part of the US, the company's operations there are managed through its international division), and the UK. With 1.8 million employees worldwide, the company is the largest private employer in the US and Mexico, and one of the largest in Canada.

Wal-Mart has operated in Canada since its acquisition of 122 stores comprising the Woolco division of Woolworth Canada, Inc in 1994. As of October 31, 2008, it operates 310 locations, employing 77,500 Canadians, with a local home office in Mississauga, Ontario. Wal-Mart Canada's first three Supercentres (spelled as in Canadian English) opened on November 8, 2006, in Hamilton, London, and Aurora, Ontario. As of October 31, 2008, there are 39 Wal-Mart Supercentres in Canada, and six Sam's Clubs in Ontario, in London, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Cambridge, Pickering, and Toronto). In December 2006, conversion of a Wal-Mart Discount Store into a Wal-Mart Supercentre began in Lethbridge, Alberta, making it the seventh in Canada and the first in western Canada.

Sales in 2006 for Wal-Mart's UK subsidiary, ASDA (which retains the name it had before acquisition by Wal-Mart), accounted for 42.7% of sales of Wal-Mart's international division. In contrast to Wal-Mart's US operations, ASDA was originally and still remains primarily a grocery chain, but with a stronger focus on non-food items than most UK supermarket chains other than Tesco. At the end of 2007, ASDA had 340 stores, some of which are branded ASDA Wal-Mart Supercentres, as well as ASDA Supermarkets, ASDA Living, George High Street and ASDA Essentials stores.

In addition to its wholly owned international operations, Wal-Mart has joint ventures in China and several majority-owned subsidiaries. Wal-Mart's majority-owned subsidiary in Mexico is Walmex. In Japan, Wal-Mart owns about 53% of Seiyu. Additionally, Wal-Mart owns 51% of the Central American Retail Holding Company (CARHCO), consisting of more than 360 supermarkets and other stores in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.

In 2004, Wal-Mart bought the 116 stores in the Bompreço supermarket chain in northeastern Brazil. In late 2005, it took control of the Brazilian operations of Sonae Distribution Group through its new subsidiary, WMS Supermercados do Brasil, thus acquiring control of the Nacional and Mercadorama supermarket chains, the leaders in the Rio Grande do Sul and Paraná states, respectively. None of these was rebranded. As of August 2006, Wal-Mart operates 71 Bompreço stores, 27 Hiper-Bompreço stores, 15 Balaio stores, and three Hiper-Magazines (all originally parts of Bompreço). It also runs 19 Wal-Mart Supercenters, 13 Sam's Club stores, and two Todo Dia stores. With the acquisition of Bompreço and Sonae, Wal-Mart is currently the third largest supermarket chain in Brazil, behind Carrefour and Pão de Açúcar.

In June 2006, Wal-Mart was excluded from the investment portfolio of The Government Pension Fund of Norway, which held stock values of about US$ 430 million in the company, due to a social audit into alleged labor rights violations in the company's operations in the US and worldwide. Although Wal-Mart did not respond to questions from the fund's auditors, the company later claimed the decision "don't appear to be based on complete information".

In July 2006, Wal-Mart announced its withdrawal from Germany due to sustained losses in a highly competitive market. The stores were sold to the German company Metro during Wal-Mart's fiscal third quarter.

In November 2006, Wal-Mart announced a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises to open retail stores in India. As foreign corporations are not allowed to directly enter the retail sector in India, Wal-Mart will operate through franchises and handle the wholesale end. The partnership will involve two joint ventures; Bharti will manage the front end involving opening of retail outlets, while Wal-Mart will take care of the back end, such as cold chains and logistics.

In 2008, Wal-Mart named German retailing veteran Stephan Fanderl as the president of Wal-mart Emerging Markets-East in an effort to, "explore retail business opportunities in Russia and neighboring markets." The market is estimated to be worth more than $140 billion per year in food sales alone.

In January 2009, the company acquired a controlling interest in the largest grocer in Chile, Distribucion y Servicio D&S SA.

Wal-Mart's business model is based on selling a wide variety of general merchandise at "always low prices." The company refers to its employees as "associates". All Wal-Mart stores in the US and Canada also have designated "greeters", who welcome shoppers at the store entrance.

In June, 2007. Wal-Mart announced it was retiring the blue vest its 1.5 million associates wear, and replacing it with khakis and polos. The replacement was to help Wal-Mart increase sales.

Unlike many other retailers, Wal-Mart does not charge a slotting fee to suppliers for their products to appear in the store. Instead, it focuses on selling more popular products and often pressures store managers to drop unpopular products, as well as asking manufacturers to supply more popular products.

On September 14, 2006, the company announced that it would phase out its layaway program, citing declining use and increased costs. Layaway ceased to be offered on November 19, 2006, and required merchandise pickup by December 8, 2006. Wal-Mart now focuses on other payment options, such as increased use of six- and twelve-month, zero-interest financing. The layaway location in most stores is now used for Wal-Mart's Site-To-Store program, which was introduced in March 2007. This enables customers to buy goods online with a free shipping option, and have goods shipped to the nearest store for pickup.

In 2006, Wal-Mart was 67th most profitable corporation (profits divided by total revenue), behind retailers Home Depot, Dell, and Target, and ahead of Costco and Kroger. For the fiscal year ending January 31, 2006, Wal-Mart reported a net income of $12 billion on $340 billion of sales revenue (3.5% profit margin). For the fiscal year ending January 31, 2006, Wal-Mart's international operations accounted for about 20.1% of total sales. As of Jan 8, 2009, net sales for the 48-week period ending Jan 2, 2009 was $370.5 billion, up 6.5% from the previous year's results.

Wal-Mart is governed by a fifteen-member Board of Directors, which is elected annually by shareholders. Robson Walton, the eldest son of founder Sam Walton, serves as Chairman of the Board. Michael T. Duke serves as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and Lee Scott, formerly CEO, serves as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board. Other members of the board include Aída Álvarez, James Breyer, M. Michele Burns, James Cash, Roger Corbett, Douglas Daft, David Glass, Gregory B. Penner, Allen Questrom, Arne M. Sorenson, Jim Walton, Christopher J. Williams, and Linda S. Wolf.

Notable former members of the board include Hillary Clinton (1985–1992) and Tom Coughlin (2003–2004), the latter having served as Vice Chairman. Clinton left the board before the 1992 U.S. Presidential Election, and Coughlin left in December 2005 after pleading guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Wal-Mart. On August 11, 2006, he was sentenced to 27 months of home confinement, five years of probation, and ordered to pay $411,000 in restitution.

Wal-Mart also had to face fierce competition in some foreign markets. For example, in Germany it had captured just 2% of German food market following its entry into the market in 1997 and remained "a secondary player" behind Aldi with a 19% share. In July 2006, Wal-Mart announced its withdrawal from Germany. Its stores were sold to German company Metro. Wal-Mart continues to do well in the UK, and its ASDA subsidiary is the second largest chain after Tesco.

In May 2006, after entering the South Korean market in 1998, Wal-Mart withdrew and sold all 16 of its South Korean outlets to Shinsegae, a local retailer, for $882 million. Shinsegae re-branded the Wal-Marts as E-mart stores.

Wal-Mart struggled to export its brand elsewhere as it rigidly tried to reproduce its model overseas. In China, Wal-Mart hopes to succeed by adapting and doing things preferable to Chinese citizens. For example, it found that Chinese consumers preferred to select their own live fish and seafood; stores began displaying the meat uncovered and installed fish tanks, leading to higher sales.

In addition, under heavy pressure from the Chinese government, Wal-Mart accepted a form of organized labor in China. Chinese labor unions do not negotiate contracts but simply pay dues to the government, "to secure the social order." However, Chinese consumers may be more open to Americana than shoppers in Europe.

Each week, about 100 million customers, nearly one-third of the U.S. population, visit Wal-Mart's U.S. stores. Wal-Mart customers give low prices as the most important reason for shopping there, reflecting the "Low prices, always" advertising slogan that Wal-Mart used from 1962 until 2006. The average US Wal-Mart customer's income is below the national average, and analysts recently estimated that more than one-fifth of them lack a bank account, twice the national rate. A Wal-Mart financial report in 2006 also indicated that Wal-Mart customers are sensitive to higher utility costs and gas prices. A poll before the 2004 US Presidential Election indicated that 76% of voters who shopped at Wal-Mart once a week planned to vote for George W. Bush, while only 23% planned to vote for John Kerry. When measured against other similar retailers in the U.S., frequent Wal-Mart shoppers were rated the most politically conservative.

In 2006, Wal-Mart took steps to expand its US customer base, announcing a modification in its US stores from a "one-size-fits-all" merchandising strategy to one designed to "reflect each of six demographic groups – African-Americans, the affluent, empty-nesters, Hispanics, suburbanites and rural residents." Around six months later, it unveiled a new slogan: "Saving people money so they can live better lives". This reflects the three main groups into which Wal-Mart categorizes its 200 million customers: "brand aspirationals" (people with low incomes who are obsessed with names like KitchenAid), "price-sensitive affluents" (wealthier shoppers who love deals), and "value-price shoppers" (people who like low prices and cannot afford much more). Wal-Mart has also made steps to appeal to more liberal customers, for example, by rejecting the American Family Association's recommendations and carrying the DVD Brokeback Mountain, a love story between two gay cowboys in Wyoming.

Labor unions, Christian organizations, and environmental groups have criticized Wal-Mart for its policies and/or business practices. In particular, several labor unions blame Wal-Mart workers' unwillingness to join their organizations on the company's anti-union stance. Others disapprove of the corporation's extensive foreign product sourcing, treatment of employees and product suppliers, environmental practices, and use of public subsidies, and the impact of stores on the local economies of towns in which they operate.

In 2005, two labor unions launched campaigns portraying Wal-Mart negatively. These included Wake Up Wal-Mart (United Food and Commercial Workers) and Wal-Mart Watch (Service Employees International Union). By the end of 2005, Wal-Mart launched Working Families for Wal-Mart, an operation managed by Wal-Mart to tell the company's side of the story. Additional efforts to counter criticism included a PR campaign in 2005, managed through its PR website, as well as several television commercials. The company retained the PR firm Edelman to respond to negative media attention, and started interacting directly with bloggers by sending them news, suggesting topics for postings, and sometimes inviting them to visit its corporate headquarters.

Wal-mart has been accused of locking employees in at night, paying employees below minimum wage, and exposing employees to health hazards.

Full-time Wal-Mart employees earn an average of $10.78 per hour, But critics point out that the starting pay can be far lower — placing some employees with children below the poverty line — and that payrates do not rise as quickly as with unionized companies. Others decry low levels of health coverage or overpriced health insurance, though the company reports that it offers rates as low as $5 per month in some areas ($9 per month nationwide) and that 92% of its associates are insured (though not necessarily through Wal-Mart). Other grievances regard poor working conditions, unfavorable employer-employee relationships, and anti-union policies. Many suggest that Wal-Mart's high annual turnover-rate of ~70% shows that workers are dissatisfied and maltreated.

In response, Jay Nordlinger of National Review argues that Wal-Mart is attacked simply because it is a leader of the Fortune 500 list or the largest employer in America, and a "free-market success story". Penn & Teller devoted an episode of their show to an analysis of Wal-Mart criticism as a social movement. They theorized that despite the noble rhetoric, the real motivation of "Wal-Mart haters" was rooted in human psychology. They suggested that hating Wal-Mart permits a person "to feel better about themselves" for three main reasons: They "don't run a greedy international conglomerate", they aren't Wal-Mart workers, widely considered "low-skilled, minimum wage drones", and they aren't Wal-Mart customers thought of as "toothless, welfare-getting hillbillies". Wal-Mart stores are unionized in every country outside of North America.

Wal-Mart has opposed the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which would make it easier for workers to unionize. In mid-2008, the company required store managers and department heads to attend meetings at which opposition to the EFCA was used as a fulcrum for criticism of Democratic candidates in the elections for the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as of the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee, Senator Barack Obama. At these meetings, Wal-Mart human resources managers warned that Democratic victories might result in passage of the EFCA and hence more unionization. At one meeting, a Wal-Mart customer service supervisor from Missouri stated, "I am not telling you how to vote, but if the Democrats win, this bill will pass and you won't have a vote on whether you want a union. A Wal-Mart spokesman, while acknowledging that the meetings were taking place nationwide, said, "If anyone representing Wal-Mart gave the impression we were telling associates how to vote, they were wrong and acting without approval." Several labor-rights groups including the AFL-CIO have asked the Federal Election Commission to investigate whether Wal-Mart broke federal election rules by advocating against Democratic candidate Barack Obama in meetings with employees.

Wal-Mart is currently facing a gender discrimination lawsuit, Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., which alleges that female employees were discriminated against in matters regarding pay and promotions. In February 2007, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a 2–1 ruling which affirmed a lower court ruling to certify the case as a class-action lawsuit; plaintiffs estimate that about 1.6 million women could be included in the suit. According to a consultant hired by plaintiffs in a sex discrimination lawsuit, in 2001, Wal-Mart's EEOC filings showed that female employees made up 65% of Wal-Mart's hourly paid workforce, but only 33% of its management. Just 35% of its store managers were women, whereas 57% were at comparable retailers. The economist Marc Bendick Jr described the ratio of women store managers in 2001 as below that of comparable companies in 1975. On April 3, 2007, Wal-Mart reported that female employees were now 61% of its workforce and 40% of its management.

A similar lawsuit, EEOC (Janice Smith) v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., was filed on August 24, 2001. It accused the retailer of discriminatory hiring practices at its London, Kentucky Distribution Center, dating back to 1995. Mauldin v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. charges that the company's denial of health insurance coverage for birth control is unfair to female employees. In 2002, the lawsuit was granted class action status, allowing all female employees after March 2001 to file claims if they were using contraceptives.

Wal-Mart's rating on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, a measure of how companies treat LGBT employees and customers, has fluctuated widely during the past decade, from a low of 14% (2002) to 65% (2006). They were praised for expanding their antidiscrimination policy protecting gay and lesbian employees, as well as for a new definition of "family" that included same-sex partners. However, they have been criticized in other areas, such as not renewing its membership in the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, which is reflected in their 2008 rating of 40% (compared to Target at 80% and Kmart at 100%).

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Department store

Le Bon Marché department store in Paris, 1867.

A department store is a retail establishment which specializes in selling a wide range of products without a single predominant merchandise line. Department stores usually sell products including apparel, furniture, appliances, electronics, and additionally select other lines of products such as paint, hardware, toiletries, cosmetics, photographic equipment, jewelery, toys, and sporting goods. Certain department stores are further classified as discount department stores. Discount department stores commonly have central customer checkout areas, generally in the front area of the store. Department stores are usually part of a retail chain of many stores situated around a country or several countries.

The oldest department store in the world, is 'Austin's' in Derry, Northern Ireland, which has maintained its original position on The 'Diamond' in Derry's city centre since 1830.

Aristide Boucicaut founded Le Bon Marché in Paris in 1838, and by 1852 it offered a wide variety of goods in "departments" inside one building. Goods were sold at fixed prices, with guarantees allowing exchanges and refunds. By the end of the 19th century, Georges Dufayel, a French credit merchant, had served up to three million customers and was affiliated with La Samaritaine, a large French department store established in 1870 by a former Bon Marché executive.

As Le Bon Marché evolved into a fully fledged department store in the early 1850s, Delany's New Mart opened in 1853 in Dublin, Ireland on Sackville Street (now O'Connell Street). What made Delany's different from most department stores of its time was its purpose-built nature; unlike others it had not evolved gradually from a smaller shop on site. Constructed to a lavish standard on the city's principal street, it was designed to rival the biggest and best in Europe. Acquired by the Clery family in the late 19th century, both the store and Imperial Hotel located in its upper floors were completely destroyed in the 1916 Easter Rising. However the store reopened in 1922, this time across numerous floors, as the famous Clerys department store that stands today, housed in a striking modern neoclassical building based on Selfridges of London.

Another claimant to the title of "World's first department store" is Bainbridges in Newcastle upon Tyne, founded in 1838 as a drapers and fashion shop but on record as collecting its takings by department as early as 1849. The ledger from that year still survives in the archives of the John Lewis Partnership who bought the store in 1952, and retained its original name until 2002 when the store was rebranded as John Lewis Newcastle. That it sorted goods out into Departments in 1849, three years before Le Bon Marche in Paris did the same, there is a strong case for Bainbridges being the world's original department store.

David Jones (Australia) was started by David Jones was a Welsh merchant who met Hobart businessman Charles Appleton in London. Appleton had established a store in Sydney in 1825 and Jones subsequently established a partnership with Appleton, moved to Australia in 1835, and the Sydney store became known as Appleton & Jones. When the partnership was dissolved in 1838, Jones moved moved his business to premises on the corner of George Street and Barrack Lane, Sydney. Jones survived the depression of the 1840s, and by 1856 had retired from active management of the business. A few years later when the firm failed he returned to manage its affairs and in a few years had fully discharged all obligations to his creditors. By 1887, the George Street store had been rebuilt and a mail order facility introduced. A factory was opened in Marlborough Street, Sydney to reduce reliance on imported goods. David Jones is claimed to be the oldest department store in the world still trading under its original name.

Lewis's (United Kingdom) may have been the first most progressive department store group. By 1956 it had the largest stores in the provinces of the UK and had brought the idea of department selling across the country. It started in Liverpool in 1856 and catered for all classes aiming to have the highest quality and lowest prices. David Lewis may have been the catalyst to making tea easily available to the working classes. (Lewis's 2/- tea). It did this by buying the tea direct from the shippers from its home in Liverpool and cutting out the middle man. Lewis's also experimented in new ways of advertising (e.g. flooding the basement of the Manchester store to create a mini Venice.) It's grotto's always were and still are well known through generations of people from Northern Britain. Since 1856 it had stores in Manchester (1877), Liverpool (1856), Birmingham , Glasgow, Liverpool (The Bon Marche), Leeds, Hanley, London (Selfridges),Bristol and Leicester . The group's first and final store, in Liverpool, went into administration in 2007 and was purchased as a going concern by Vergo Retail Limited. Enabling the store to continue trading under the Lewis's brand.

Similar developments were under way in London (with Whiteleys), in Paris (with La Samaritaine) and in Chicago, where department stores sprang up along State Street, notably Marshall Field and Company, which was the second-largest department store in the world prior to converting to Macy's. In 1877, Wanamaker's opened in Philadelphia. Philadelphia's John Wanamaker performed a 19th century redevelopment to the former Pennsylvania Railroad terminal in that city and eventually opened a modern day department store in the building.

On March 1, 1869 Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution was opened in Salt Lake City as a new community store that became the first incorporated department store in America in 1870. A new 3-story brick and iron store was built in 1876, noted for its unique architecture and striped awnings. This store was replaced by an enclosed shopping center in 1973, and the new Zion department store preserved the gilt-edged ornate facade of the old store. In 1999 the May Department Stores bought a 14-store ZCMI chain and changed its name to "Meier & Frank", a May property with eight stores in Oregon and Washington. Subsequently May Department Stores completed a merger with Federated Department Stores and the Meier & Frank brand ZCMI stores have become Macy's stores, effective late 2006.

In 1881, Joseph Lowthian Hudson opened a small men's clothing store in Detroit. After 10 years he had 8 stores in the midwest and was the most profitable clothing retailer in the country. In 1893 he began construction of the immense department store at Gratiot and Farmer streets in Detroit. The 25-story tower was added in 1928, and a 12-story addition in 1946, giving the entire complex 49 acres (200,000 m2) of floor space. In 1954 the company became a suburban shopping center pioneer when it built Northland 13 miles (21 km) northwest of Detroit. In 1969 it merged with the Dayton Corporation to create Dayton-Hudson headquartered in Minneapolis. George Dayton had founded his Dayton's Daylight store in Minneapolis in 1902 and the AMC cooperative in 1912, built the Southdale Shopping Center in 1956, and started the Target discount store chain in 1962. The new corporation closed the flagship Hudson department store in downtown Detroit in 1983, but expanded its other retail operations. It acquired Mervyn's in 1978, Marshall Field's in 1990, and renamed itself the Target Corporation in 2000.

By 1890 a new world of retailing had been created as department stores had a clear market position as universal providers. General stores eventually became department stores as small towns became cities. The most prominent department stores emerged from small shops. The department store created several of North America's first large businesses. The department store is also largely responsible for the standard store design seen today, because of its size it required new building materials, glass technology and new heating, amongst other architectural innovations. The store layouts made shopping easier for consumers regardless of their social or economic background. The department store also offered new customer services never before seen such as restaurants, restrooms, reading rooms, home delivery, wrapping services, store hours, bridal registries, new types of merchandise displays and so forth.

Some department stores leased space to individual merchants, similar to the changes in late 17th-century London, but by 1900 the smaller merchants were purchased or eventually replaced by the larger companies. In this way they were very similar to our modern malls, where the property owner has no direct interest in the actual department store itself, other than to collect rent and provide utilities. Today only the most specialized departments are leased out, such as photography, photo finishing, automotive services or financial services. However, today this is rare, as most departments--even a store's restaurant--is usually run by the store itself.

Before the 1950s, the department store held an eminent place in both Canada and Australia, during both the Great Depression and World War II. Since then, they have suffered from strong competition from specialist stores. Most recently the competition has intensified with the advent of larger-scale superstores (Jones et al. 1994; Merrilees and Miller 1997). Competition was not the only reason for the department stores' weakening strength; the changing structure of cities also affected them. The compact and centralized 19th century city with its mass transit lines converging on the downtown was a perfect environment for department store growth. But as residents moved out of the downtown areas to the suburbs, the large, downtown department stores became inconvenient and lost business to the newer suburban shopping malls.

During World War II patriotic sentiment in China had led to the formation of a number of department stores specializing in locally-made merchandise. These types of stores became the mainstay in China after the formation of the Communist state in 1949.

Both types of department stores have long had branches in Hong Kong; however Japanese department stores began to appear in the 1960s, and within a generation's time became the dominant force in the market. The Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s had resulted in the closures of some of these stores, but on the whole Hong Kong still has one of the world's most competitive retail markets.

Since the opening policy in 1979, the Chinese department stores also develops swiftly along with the fast growing economy. There are different department store groups dominate different areas of China, for example, INTIME department store has the biggest market presence in Zhejiang province, while Jinying department stores dominate Jiangsu Province. Besides, there are many other department store groups, such as Pacific,PARKSON,Wangfujing,New World,etc., many of them are expanding quickly by listing in the financial market.

France's major upscale department stores are Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps, which both have flagship stores on Boulevard Haussmann in Paris and branches around the country. The oldest department store in France (and in the world) is Le Bon Marché in Paris, owned by the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH. La Samaritaine, another upscale department store also owned by LVMH, closed in 2005. Mid-range department stores chains also exist in France such as the BHV (Bazar de l'Hotel de Ville), part of the same group as Galeries Lafayette.

One of the most famous department stores in Germany is the Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe, German for "department store of the west") which is located in Berlin.

The most upmarket chain is undoubtedly Brown Thomas, founded as a haberdasher's in 1849 on Dublin's Grafton Street. The company (which belongs to the same group as the UK's Selfridges or Canada's Holt Renfrew) bought its long time competitor across the street, Switzers, in 1995. BT then moved to the larger site. It also acquired and re-branded the former Switzer stores in Cork (formerly Cash's), Limerick (formerly Todd's) and Galway (formerly Moon's).

There are also many self-owned department stores around the country, especially in rural towns.

The British department store, Debenhams, purchased the Roches Stores chain in 2006, closed two stores and rebranded the others. The opening of Dundrum Town Centre in Dublin's suburbs saw the arrival of two more British stores, House of Fraser and Harvey Nichols.

Some of the largest department stores in Japan include Daimaru (J. Front Retailing), Hankyu (H2O Retailing), Hanshin (H2O Retailing), Isetan (Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings), Marui, Matsuzakaya (J. Front Retailing), Matsuya, Mitsukoshi (Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings), Printemps Ginza, Seibu (Millennium Retailing), Sogo (Millennium Retailing), Takashimaya, Tobu, and Tokyu (109). Many are owned and operated in conjunction with private railway companies. Recently, business integration has been successive.

The most well-known department stores in The Netherlands are De Bijenkorf, HEMA, Maison de Bonneterie and Vroom & Dreesmann.

In New Zealand, there is only a few select department stores that are popular amongst New Zealanders, most people preferring malls or boutiques. The most prominent chains are The Warehouse, Farmers and Kmart, but smaller, more upmarket department stores such as Smith & Caugheys exist, but the only store is in Auckland, and caters to an upscale crowd.

Arguably the most famous Department store in Russia is the GUM in Moscow, Central Universal Store (TsUM) or the Petrovsky Passage. Other popular stores are Mega (shopping malls), Stockmann, Marks & Spencer. Media Markt, M-video, Technosila, White Wind (Beliy Veter) sell large number of electronic devices. In Saint Petersburg The Passage has been popular since the 1840s.

The three most prevalent chains are Hyundai, Lotte, and Shinsegae, which opened in 1930 as Mitsukoshi Gyeongseong store and is the oldest department store chain. Lotte is the largest, operating more than 20 stores. The Seoul Sampoong department store collapsed in 1995 during shopping hours and many people died.

However, Kendals in Manchester can lay claim to being the oldest department store in the UK and perhaps in the world. Beginning as a small shop owned by S. and J. Watts in 1796, its sold a variety of goods. Kendal Milne and Faulkner purchased the business in 1835. Expanding the space, rather than use it as a typical warehouse simply to showcase textiles, it became a vast bazaar. Serving Manchester's upmarket clientel for over 200 years, it was recently purchased by the House of Fraser - although most Mancunians still refer to it as Kendals.

In Edinburgh, Jenners saw a similar development. It starting as a drapery store in 1838, which by 1890 had grown into Scotland's largest retail store by gobbling up all the small stores in the neighbourhood. In 1895, after a devastating fire, a new ultra-modern building opened, with lavish electrical lighting, hydraulic lifts and air conditioning. Four hours after the grand opening, 25,000 people had already visited the store.

In the UK the term "department store" still refers to the traditional, classic department store, which has a wide range of independent departments with their own staff and their own tills. Large discount stores with the tills located by the entrance are not regarded as department stores in the UK, although the owners may call them that. Such stores as Marks & Spencer, Britain's largest clothes retailer would therefore not be included in the British definition of a department store.

In the United States, companies such as Macy's, Lord and Taylor, Sears, Boscov's, and J.C. Penney are considered department stores, while retail brands such as Target, Kmart, and Wal-Mart are discount department stores. T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and Burlington Coat Factory are stores that sell designer goods at lower prices. Stores that carry a general line of groceries and other product lines similar to those of department stores are considered warehouse clubs or supercenters. Warehouse clubs require a nominal annual membership fee, while supercenters do not. Costco, BJ's Wholesale Club, and Sam's Club are examples of warehouse clubs.

Some upscale department stores that operate in the United States include national chains like Barneys New York, Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as regional retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman, and Von Maur. In the United Kingdom, department stores making up the high-end include Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Fortnum and Mason. In Indonesia, the most upscale department stores includes Sogo and Seibu from Japan, Debenhams and Harvey Nichols from United Kingdom (all managed by PT. Mitra Adiperkasa Tbk.), and Parisian from Indonesia (managed by Lippo Group).

Depending upon location, Belk, Dillard's and Macy's, are sometimes considered upscale department stores, but the chains overall are often viewed as being situated somewhere between midscale and higher midscale.

Mid-range department stores that operate in the United States include national chains JCPenney and Kohl's. Regional chains such as Gottschalks in the western United States and The Bon-Ton and associated stores in the northern part of the country are also among this grouping of stores.

As noted in details of upscale department stores, Macy's, Dillard's and Belk vary in price points and relative consideration as upscale or mid-range versus local competitors, depending upon location. Some larger locations in affluent areas often carry significant selections of brand name products including brand name accessories and fragrances kept in glass cases, and usually have cosmetic specialists in the beauty department. Brands at above-average price points, if offered at all, are generally limited and full product lines of such brands are not typically available. Smaller and more remote store locations — often, the legacy of acquisitions of smaller retailers — may concentrate squarely on moderately-priced merchandise. California-based Gottschalks mirrors these chains, though in a specific region with little presence in major metropolitan areas. Macy's are typically the anchors of upscale malls and are situated among other high-end department stores such as Tysons Galleria or The Domain in Austin. Nationally known JCPenney has incorporated elements of upscale stores such as salons and custom home decorating services, along with offering optical shops, portrait photography studios and designer-produced private labels.

The national chain Sears is also in this category, but often is considered a lower grade mid-range department store due to marketing a higher proportion of private label and lesser-known label goods in apparel and housewares segments. Sears differs from most mid-range department store chains in its common inclusion of departments for hardware, garden and outdoor equipment, automotive service, and large appliances and electronics — product segments more typical of discount or so-called "big box" retailers.

Some discount department stores that operate in the United States include: ShopKo, Kmart and Wal-Mart. Although ShopKo and Kmart are more upscale than Wal-Mart; further, Wal-Mart could be considered a "super discount department store". Target is also in this category but may be considered a more upscale Discount Department Store because it puts a greater emphasis on current fashion and on special merchandise lines from well-known designers such as Isaac Mizrahi and Thomas O'Brien.

Off-price retail department stores include T.J. Maxx, Factory 2-U, Century 21, Gabriel Brothers, Ross Dress For Less, Marshalls, and Burlington Coat Factory. TJX, the parent company of Marshall's, and TJ Maxx, has been experimenting with Home Goods superstores that carry a larger range and variety of housewares, including furniture.

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List of defunct retailers of the United States

Across the United States a large number of local stores and store chains became defunct between the 1950s, when the chain-store format was introduced, and the 1990s, when many chains were either consolidated or liquidated. Some have been lost due to mergers. Below is a list of defunct retailers of the United States.

Many long-established catalog merchants have gone out of business in recent years.

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P.M. Place Stores

P.M. Place Stores, also known as Place's Discount Stores was an employee-owned chain of discount stores based out of Bethany, Missouri in the United States. The company mainly operated in towns with a population of 1,500 to 4,000 people.

P.M. Place Stores was founded in 1910 by Pryor M. Place in Lathrop, Missouri. Place financed his company by selling his horse, saddle, and bridle, and collected his savings to buy goods to stock his shelves.

Place's stores carried the same departments as larger discount stores except on a smaller scale. Stores ranged from around 16,000 sq ft (1,500 m2). to 27,000 sq ft (2,500 m2). Their prominent slogan was "The Best of All... Places" which could be heard on a recording that would repeatedly play in their stores amongst music and announcement of the latest sale items.

In 1985 the company expanded through the acquisition of Matco/Mattingly stores, a Lexington, Missouri based chain of discount stores.

At the time of assimilation into Pamida, Place's president and CEO was Charles M. Place. Phillip Place had previously been in charge of the company.

Place's attempted to grow to 75 stores by the end of 2002 but was bought by ShopKo in 2000 with a store count of 49. ShopKo converted these stores into Pamida stores.

In an effort to streamline Pamida's distribution operations, the Bethany cross-dock facility, formerly the Place's warehouse, was closed in early 2002.

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Source : Wikipedia