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  • 1. Wal-Mart Yun Heng (Lisa) Huang Fen Liu Samantha Peel Stephen Yee BUS 188-Kwan 24 Nov. 2004 1
  • 2. Table of Contents1. Industry Background………………………………………………………...32. Wal-Mart’s Background……………………………………………………..53. Current Status………………………………………………………………..84. Porter’s Competitive Forces Model…………………………………………115. Strategies…………………………………………………………………….146. SWOT Analysis……………………………………………………………..177. References…………………………………………………………………...20 2
  • 3. Industry BackgroundBy: Samantha PeelWal-Mart belongs to the Variety Stores and All Other General Merchandise Storesindustry according to the United States SIC and NAICS Code(s). They are also known asdiscount variety stores, general merchandise discount stores, mass merchandisers, full-line discounters, or discount houses. Today the “Big Three” discount retailers are theWal-Mart, Target and Kmart chains. In addition to the “Big Three” there are severalsmaller regional discount retailers, all operating a low-cost differentiation strategy.Though there have been discount sales for eons, the discount variety store industryexpanded following WWII due to the increased demand for consumer goods. By theearly 1960s the discount verity store industry had established industry leaders and a clearstandard format. The largest stores at this time were the following: the Dayton Companywhich began the Target chain, the Kmart chain part of S. S. Kresge, the W.F. WoolworthCompany’s Woolco stores and Sam Walton’s Wal-Mart stores. During the late 1960sand early 1970s there were several mergers and acquisitions in the industry as well asseveral Chapter 11 filings. During this time Kmart acquired 300 stores and became theindustry’s leader and along with Woolco grew into national companies. Wal-Mart andTarget, on the other hand, remained regional providers in the Southwest and Midwestrespectively.During the 1970s many discount retailers began implementing new advancedtechnologies, such as the use of computers, electronic registers, UPS bar coding systems, 3
  • 4. point-of-sale (POS) scanning and satellites communication systems. Wal-Mart inparticular implemented a computer system that aided in automating its distributioncenters, tracking inventory, increase checkout speed and efficiency and reordering.During this ten-year period Wal-Mart had enormous growth and increased its number ofstores from 18 to 270 as a result of the technology implementation.During the 1980s Kmart, Target and Wal-Mart became the industry leaders. Otherchains, however, faced hard times and had to file Chapter 11, including the nationalWoolco and several regional providers. A handful of regional providers did experiencesome success and remained industry players.During the 1990s in a battle for market share the discount retailers began several newinitiatives. First, they began to focus and market to specific ethnic groups by hiringbilingual clerks, advertising in other languages, and stocking certain ethnic goods.Secondly, many began environmental awareness programs to attract environmentallyconscious consumers, including advertising recyclable and environmentally friendlygoods, using recycled paper for advertisements, and other programs. Specifically, Wal-Mart opened an “environmental demonstration store”; Kmart implemented a recyclingprogram for cassette tapes, tires, and batteries; and Target started an environmental youthprogram called Kids for Saving the Earth. During the late 1990s and early 2000s theindustry began to focus on brand names, partnering, and proprietary brands as theindustry continued to grow. Additionally, however, the industry faced furtherbankruptcy, mergers and acquisitions. 4
  • 5. Throughout its history, the discount variety store industry has continued to grow andadapt to the changing consumer business environment, whether through the adoption ofnew technologies, tapping into new consumer target markets, or following consumerpreference trends. Additionally the dominant players have also grown and adapted,becoming huge international companies, lead by the “Big Three” whose combined saleshave exceeded $125 billion. The industry itself has grown from a $2 billion industry in1960 into a $200 billion industry today.Wal-Mart’s BackgroundBy: Lisa HuangThe first Wal-Mart was opened in Rogers, Arkansas in 1962 by the Walton brothers (SamWalton and Bud Walton). Previously the Walton brother used to own nine Ben Franklinfranchises in the late 1950s. In the early 1960s, Sam Walton traveled around the countryto study the retail market. He believed that a small town population would welcome, andmake profitable, large discount shopping stores. So Sam Walton went to the Ben Franklinfranchise owners with his proposal to slash prices significantly and operate at a highvolume, but they were not willing to let him reduce merchandise as low as he insisted ithad to go. By the end of the 1960s, the Walton bothers had opened 18 Wal-Mart stores,while sill owning 15 Ben Franklin franchises in other states, such as Arkansas, Missouri,Kansas, and Oklahoma. Wal-Mart’s stock went public in 1970 and it was listed on theNew York Stock Exchange. By 1976, Walton bothers decided to close their Ben Franklinstores so they could concentrate on operating the Wal-Mart stores. In 1978, Wal-Martbegan to have its own pharmacy, auto service center, and jewelry divisions. By 1979, 5
  • 6. there were 276 Wal-Mart stores in 11 states and the sales had increased from $44 millionto $1.25 billion.The company opened its first three Sam’s Wholesale Club in 1983 and began to expandinto larger city markets. (Today it is called the Sam’s Club) In 1988, the company openedthe first Wal-Mart Supercenter in Washington, Missouri, which featured a large selectionof merchandise and offered better-stocked grocery sections. In 1991, Wal-Mart began tointroduce its own store brand, Sam’s American Choice; the first products were beveragessuch as colas and fruit juices. The company’s plan was to have more products of theirown brand to be able to match the quality of national brands, and still be offered at a lowprice.Wal-Mart’s foreign expansion started in 1991, when the company opened a Sam’s Clubnear Mexico City. In 1992, the year Sam Walton died, Wal-Mart entered into a jointventure with Cifra, S.A. de C.V., Mexico’s largest retailer. The venture developed aprice-club store called Club Aurrera and it required shoppers to obtain an annualmembership. The expansion of Wal-Mart continued, and it entered into other NAFTAmarkets and foreign countries in just a few years, such as Argentina, Brazil, Canada,China, Germany, Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and United Kingdom. The internationalsales had reached $7.5 billion in the year of 1998. In the 2002 fiscal year, Wal-MartInternational announced that sales reached $35.4 billion and the operating profit rose to$1.4 billion. 6
  • 7. In late 1998, Wal-Mart began to develop and test a new kind of store, the Wal-MartNeighborhood Market, a store type more similar to a traditional supermarket. The newstore offered deli foods, fresh meats, grocery items, limited selections of generalmerchandise, and it also featured a drive-through pharmacy.After the bankruptcy and closure of the Montgomery Ward department store chain in2001, Wal-Mart offered to replace Ward’s customers’ credit cards with Wal-Martbranded cards. Wal-Mart also formed an alliance with American Online in order to offerInternet access and launched its No Boundaries private-label cosmetics for pre-teens andteenagers. In 2002, Wal-Mart was labeled as American’s largest corporation by“Fortune” magazine. In the same year, Wal-Mart took a 36% stake in one of Japan’s topretailers, Seiyu. By the end of 2002, Wal-Mart had opened 178 Supercenters, 33discounted stores, 25 Sam’s Club stores, and 107 international units.During 2004, the company is planning to open at least 220 new Supercenters, whilereducing its discount store by a net of about 90 units. The Neighborhood Market chain isestimated to grow between 25 and 30 units. In addition Wal-Mart is also planning to addabout 15 more Sam’s Club. Wal-Mart International plans to open 130 to 140 units inexisting markets and expand new operating units in other countries. It is clear that Wal-Mart is trying to hold on its position as the largest retailer of all time.S. Robson Walton is the son of the Wal-Mart founder, Sam Walton. He graduated fromthe University of Arkansas in 1966 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business 7
  • 8. administration. He also got a Juris Doctor degree in 1969 from the Columbia UniversitySchool of Law in New York. Before his employment at Wal-Mart, Walton used to haveprivate law practice. After Walton joined Wal-Mart in 1969, he has held the positions ofsenior vice president; secretary and general counsel; and vice chairman. Today, S.Robson Walton is the chairman of the board of Wal-Mart Store, Inc. since 1992.H. Lee Scott, Jr. graduated from Pittsburgh State University with a Bachelor’s degree inbusiness. He served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Wal-Mart Stores,Inc. since January 2000. When Lee first joined Wal-Mart, he worked in the company’slogistics and transportation area. Lee made improvements in the logistics andtransportation departments as well as improving Wal-Mart’s inventory level andmerchandise flow in the store.Current StatusBy: Stephen Yee Net Sales $300,000.00 $250,000.00 $200,000.00 $150,000.00 $100,000.00 $50,000.00 $0.00 2002 2003 2004 8
  • 9. From 2003 to 2004, Wal-Mart has consistently increased its financial assets in order toalleviate its share of the market. Its net sales increased 11.6% to a total of $256.3 billiondollars. Internationally, Wal-Mart has seen an increase in operating profit of 18.6% andincrease in sales of 16.6% when compared to fiscal 2003. Its total assets also increased10.7% for a total of $104.9 billion dollars. One of the ways the company did this was byselling one of its subsidiaries, McLane Company, Inc., for $1.5 billion dollars. A $151million dollar after-tax gain was procured from this sale that translates to about threecents per share. Its assets include 2460 Discount Stores, 1728 Supercenters, 618 Sam’sClub stores and 100 neighborhood markets located in eight other countries besides theU.S. and Puerto Rico.Wal-Mart has always worked hard at building lasting relationships with their suppliers.Frey Farms Produce Company started doing business with Wal-Mart back in 1995 whentheir president convinced Wal-Mart to let them supply produce to about 400 Wal-Martstores in the Midwest. The Frey Farms president was only 19 years old at the time of thedeal and yet was able to convince the Wal-Mart franchise about the esthetic value oflocally grown produce and the importance to its customers. Wal-Mart also aidscompanies such as Orange Glo into further expansion into the U.S. and other countries.They provided them with guidance in updating Orange Glo’s logistics and informationsystems. Today, Orange Glo enjoys improved cost controls, demand forecasting andsupply chain management and its products are sold in Wal-Mart stores around the world. 9
  • 10. Wal-Mart caters to a variety of customers who all want an enjoyable and comfortablelifestyle that won’t drain their checkbook. Their entire inventory is priced to competewith other discount stores in their market. However, it’s not only the low prices thatentice customers; it’s also the convenience of having almost everything in one place. Fora shopper that has to buy food, household items, toys and clothes, and doesn’t have a lotof time to do it, Wal-Mart is there. By stocking a variety of items, Wal-Mart can attractit’s customers to buy more things by making it easy and convenient. Customers whowant the ease of one-stop-shopping can do so at these stores. Wal-Mart also makes theeffort to go the extra mile when it comes to making people feel comfortable and creatinga friendly environment. Customers who shop at Wal-Mart are given a sense of well-being and treated as individuals, not just as a faceless shopper. From the moment theywalk in and are “greeted” to the time they walk out, Wal-Mart strives to be a familiarityin their customer’s everyday lives.Customers also enjoy the fact that Wal-Mart helps the community wherever it goes. In2003, Wal-Mart contributed more than $150 million dollars to local communities andnonprofit organizations. In their “Words Are Your Wheels” program, Wal-Mart hasgiven over $10 million dollars to nonprofit organization to battle illiteracy. They’ve alsoraise funds to help “Give Kids the World Village”, a nonprofit organization thatmaintains a resort for children with life-threatening illnesses. Individuals that benefitfrom these programs feel very grateful towards Wal-Mart for their generosity andhospitality. 10
  • 11. One of Wal-Mart’s biggest competitors is Target. While also in the discount storemarket, Target differs from Wal-Mart in several ways. Target doesn’t have greeters, nordo they have as many items as Wal-Mart. Such as fruits and vegetables that some of theWal-Mart Supercenters have begun to carry. Target also doesn’t carry the generic brandsof clothing that can be found in Wal-Mart. Instead they try to attract customers bycarrying a number of name brands and making those brands exclusive only to Targetcustomers. Currently Target offers such brands as Sonia Kashuk and Michael Graves andwill soon offer new materials from Isaac Mizrahi, Liz Lange and Amy Coe. Targetbelieves that it is this distinction that gives them a competitive advantage over all thediscount stores. As illustrated in their slogan “Expect More. Pay Less” Target wants itscustomers to expect better quality in their items while still paying discount store prices.Porter’s Competitive Forces ModelBy: Fen LiuWal-Mart has become the largest company in the world due to their cost leadershipstrategy. However, they still need to be aware of the competitive forces from theircompetitors, threat of substitutes, threat of New Entrants, suppliers and customers.One of the rival retailers to Wal-Mart is Target. Although Target doesn’t sell things at alower price as Wal-Mart does, Target attracts customers by creating a better shoppingatmosphere and more types of products. Most of the time when people walk into Wal-Mart, they encounter a crowded and noise store atmosphere. Also, there are too many 11
  • 12. products in Wal-Mart and some categories of products are not very clear. Therefore ittakes time for customers to locate the products they want. In contrast, Target stores areclean and colorful. Typically, there are not too many customers, and different productsare categorize by different color which is easier for customer to see and makes the storeslook nice. Recently, while Wal-Mart is being blamed for driving the work opportunitiesto third world countries, Target has built its good reputation by treating their employeesbetter than Wal-Mart. Even though Target only has one fifth of the sale and profits thatWal-Mart has, according to a retail analyst, Target will have a steeper growth curve overthe next few years.Since Wal-Mart needs such a large store space and a large parking lot, Wal-Mart storesare usually located in rural areas, not in the center of the city or close to a neighborhood.Thus, the convenient stores such as Albertson, Longs and Walgreens become the threat ofsubstitutes for Wal-Mart. In these convenience stores, people take less time to find whatthey need. In the past convenience stores were only open 6 days a week, and people hadto go to Wal-Mart to shop for their needs on Sunday. However, now, because of thecompetition between businesses, these convenience stores are open 7 days and havelonger business days. More over, the convenience store offers several special low pricedproducts to attract customers every week. Sometimes, people can buy fresher and betterquality products at lower prices in these kinds of stores.Wal-Mart has guaranteed low prices every day, but actually the cost of products are high.The suppliers in the U.S. have to pay employees at least $6.75 minimum wage, so it is 12
  • 13. difficult to reach the low cost standard that Wal-Mart needs. Therefore, in order to getlower cost products, Wal-Mart imports lots of products from third world countries wherelabor cost is very low. To survive in the price demand of Wal-Mart, some suppliers haveto lay off employees to lower the product cost. Wal-Mart has the power to squeeze thecost and maximize its profit. On the other hand, Wal-Mart makes more and moresuppliers look for outsourcing products oversea creating less job opportunities in the U.S.Moreover, some suppliers in the third world countries make their employees becomeslave labor for Wal-Mart’s low price demand, an issue that has been noticed by most ofthe country.Most customers of Wal-Mart are poor or between poor and middle class. It is good tofind a bargain in Wal-Mart for this certain group of customers. However, Wal-Mart paystheir employees lower wages in order to lower costs, and thus drives job opportunities outof the U.S. When customers recognize these facts, they probably won’t shop happily atWal-Mart. Some customers believe that the way Wal-Mart is doing business is hurtingtheir community and are not willing to buy Wal-Mart’s products. For example, Wal-Martwas boycotted by Canada.New entrants always tried to compete with Wal-Mart in the same way (low costleadership), but most of them went into bankruptcy. Wal-Mart is very successful inutilizing cost leadership. However, if new entrants compete with Wal-Mart by differentways such as differentiation strategy or alliance strategies then this would be a threat forWal-Mart. 13
  • 14. StrategiesCost LeadershipBy: Samantha PeelAs previously stated, during the 1960s the discount variety store has established and therewas a clear standard format for business competing with a cost leadership strategy. Wal-Mart was among those original companies in this industry. In order to implement andachieve a low-cost leadership strategy firms must have unique capabilities. In particular,according to Pearce and Robinson, a firm must be a dominant market share holder, excelat cost reductions, maximize economies of scale, implement cost-cutting technologies,and use volume sales techniques in order to achieve a successful cost-leadership strategy.Through accomplishing these requirements, firms can use its cost advantage to chargelower prices to its consumers and gain market share from competitors based on price.Wal-Mart has been incredible effective at cost reductions, achieving economies of scale,and implementing cost-cutting technologies in order to gain market share and achievecorporate growth. From Wal-Mart’s inception, Sam Walton has adamantly adhered to adiscounting pricing philosophy. Early in his career he learned that reducing price toincrease volume sales is often more profitable in the long term than increasing price tohave a high profit margin per item. This philosophy has remained the key element inWal-Mart’s culture, philosophy and strategy throughout its roughly forty years inbusiness. Many retailers utilize an occasional discount-pricing scheme as a way to attract 14
  • 15. consumers. Sam Walton realized that in order to achieve a sustainable competitive priceadvantage Wal-Mart had to offer low price at all times. Under this belief system theEvery Day Low Price (EDLP) philosophy was implemented. Wal-Mart committed topass savings on to the consumer thereby lowering their Every Day Low Prices. In orderto achieve this Wal-Mart continually strives to lower its costs in order to lower its pricesand therefore increase its volume sales.IT/IS and use of RFID tracking systemsBy: Lisa HuangWal-Mart invested in most of the retail information technology systems earlier and moreaggressively than its competitors. It was among the first retail companies who usedcomputers to track inventory in the year of 1969, and also it was one of the first to adoptbar codes in 1980. Wal-Mart also used EDI for better coordination with its suppliers inthe year of 1985, and wireless scanning guns in late 1980s. Wal-Mart stores used datamining applications to track retail product sales at its individual stores (1997). Theseinvestments allowed Wal-Mart to reduce its inventory significantly, save more money,and boost its capital and labor productivity.Wal-Mart has its own secret of being so successful. The company focused its ITinvestment on applications that will directly enhance its core value proposition of lowprices. Wal-Mart also invested on Retail Link program (2002). This program capturessales data and gives the vendors real-time stock quotes and increases the flow ofinformation. This program is aimed at increasing sales through micro merchandising and 15
  • 16. cutting the chance of getting out of stocks. Wal-Mart built an elaborate satellite networkto link the point-of-sale terminals in all of its stores. The network was designed toprovide managers, customers and its sales force with real-time sales and inventory statusinformation. It also improved Wal-Mart’s store management, purchase of product andinventory control. Therefore, Wal-Mart uses such information systems to offer better-quality products and services, lower cost, and to differentiate itself from its competitors.Recently, in 2004, Wal-Mart announced that they are going to expand their planregarding its electronic product code (EPC) initiative using RFID (radio frequencyidentification) technology. They have discussed this implementation plan with 200 oftheir top suppliers. The RFID labels cost around 25 to 50 cents. It allows Wal-Mart totrack the movement of shipments from their suppliers to distribution center, and to theback rooms of a store. Wal-Mart will install tag readers at the dock doors of itsdistribution centers and at the back rooms of its stores. These readers will communicatewith the RFID tags on the boxes and cases, and it will only take seconds to read all theinformation about the products being moved. Therefore, the company no longer needs itsworkers to scan every case of inventory. The process will all be done automatically (ifthings go smoothly) by the time when the case moves in (with the tag reader installed).The company expects that the initial EPC adoption will benefit the consumer because ofbetter merchandise availability. Wal-Mart hopes that they will be able to save time andimprove their supply chain management. 16
  • 17. SWOT AnalysisInternal AnalysisBy: Stephen YeeWal-Mart has a large amount of brand equity here in the U.S. People know that whenthey shop at Wal-Mart they can expect low prices and a friendly environment. Wal-Martalso has captured about 10% of the retail market in the U.S. and continues to expand.Wal-Mart stores continue to open all over the country making Wal-Mart a householdname. Wal-Mart has also been widely acknowledged for its social responsibility actions.The company has donated to a variety of charitable organizations and has been accreditedfor bringing jobs and wealth to less developed communities.Wal-Mart has faced a lot of bad publicity in the recent years. In June 2001 a case wasbrought on behalf of all former and present female employees against Wal-Mart. Theyaccused the company of discrimination regarding wages and promotions. Otherindividuals allege that Wal-Mart “forced them to work ‘off the clock’ and failed toprovide work breaks.”1 The California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement hasjust recently begun an investigation into Wal-Mart’s suspected failures to followCalifornia wage-and-hour laws. Wal-Mart hate sites can be found throughout the Internettelling of more atrocities and customer service nightmares. This can be tied to anotherweakness that is the apparent lack of customer service and their stores overall cleanliness.Wal-Mart customers often complain about the messy and unorganized aisles. They alsofind it frustrating when sales associates can’t answer their questions.1 Wal-Mart 2003 Annual Report, p.48 17
  • 18. External AnalysisBy: Fen LiuWal-Mart’s oversea stores have experienced significant growth. According to theirfinancial analysis, Wal-Mart International sales in 2004 have reached $47.5 billion, a16.6% increase over the previous year. Furthermore, the operating profit rose to $2.3billion which is 18.6% over the prior year. Wal-Mart can continue to expand intointernational markets. Population is growing fast in Asia and Wal-Mart can get lower costproducts there, so Asia will be a large potential market. Also, North America, LatinAmerica and Europe are the international markets that Wal-Mart has opened and shouldcontinue to develop.While Wal-Mart is doing business in other countries, it will always face competitors thatare native to those countries. Also, how to fit in to those countries’ culture and makepeople accept the way they do the business and the products is challenging. In addition,Wal-Mart has lots of issues about labors. Wal-Mart doesn’t give their laborers good orreasonable benefits. For example, Canada filed to sue Wal-Mart because of a labor issue.These passive issues will affect Wal-Mart’s prestige. 18
  • 19. Future OutlookBy: Stephen YeeWith regards to the future, Wal-Mart definitely still has room to grow since they haveonly captured about 10% of the U.S. retail market and even less in the internationalmarket. Next year alone Wal-Mart plans to open more than 50 million square feet ofspace to be used in their retail business. They also plan to construct 5 new distributioncenters to service these developments. Ever since their infancy in the mid 1960’s, Wal-Mart has strived to number one choice among those who shop at discount stores.Hopefully with their implementation of RFID tracking technologies within their supplychain, Wal-Mart will continue to expand and grow as a business. 19
  • 20. ReferencesSamantha Peel:"Variety Stores." Encyclopedia of American Industries. Online Edition. Gale, 2004. Reproduced in Business and Company Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.:Gale Group. 2004."Wal-Mart Stores, Inc." International Directory of Company Histories, Vol.63. St. James Press, 2004. Reproduced in Business and Company Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.:Gale Group. 2004. 14 November 2004. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. http://www/walmart.comPearce II, John A. Richard Robinson, Jr. Strategic Management: Formulation, Implementation and Control. New York: McGraw-Hill. 2003.Stephen YeeWal-Mart Annual Report 2003, p. 2, 8-13, 18-21, 26, 48, 49, 55Target Annual Report 2003, p. 4-5Seay, Gregory. “Wal-Mart’s debut may shake up state retail scene; Wal-Mart debut adds more competition to state’s shifting retail landscape.” Hartford Courant January 3, 1993, A Edition, p. D.12004 Annual Report. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 2004, p. 2, 8-13, 18-21, 26, 48, 49, 552003 Annual Report. Target Brands Inc., 2003, p. 4-5 Seay, Gregory.“Wal-Mart’s debut may shake up state retail scene; Wal-Mart debut adds more competition to state’s shifting retail landscape.” Hartford Courant January 3, 1993, A Edition, p. D.1 20
  • 21. Lisa HuangGarry, Michael. “Wal-Mart Expand RFID/EPC Program.” Supermarket News Retrieved: Nov. 1, 2004 (June 28, 2004) p53 <>Hartman, Lauren R. “Let the RFID revolution begin! Wal-Mart, the mega retailer, says its top suppliers will be able to meet its RFID deadline as it begins long-awaited trails of RFID tags and EPC codes.” Packaging Digest 0030-9117, Retrieved: Nov. 2, 2004 (July 2004) v41 i7 p36(1) <>Johnson, Bradford C. “Retail: The Wal-Mart effect; Information technology isn’t the whole story behind productivity.” The McKinsey Quarterly 0047-5394, Retrieved: Nov. 1, 2004 (Winter 2002) p40 (5) <>Kaplan, Andrew. “Ready or not, here it comes: Wal-Mart’s deadline for RFID tagging approaches, and with it case-loads of concerns.” Beverage World 0098-2318, Retrieved: Nov. 1, 2004 (Oct 15, 2004) v123 i10 p58(2) <> Nov.17, 2004 <>O’Brien, James A. Management Information Systems: Managing Information Technology in the Business Enterprise. (pp. 44-45) New York, NY: McGraw- Hill/Irwin, 2004 21
  • 22. Fen LiuFAST COMPANY. The Wal-Mart You Don’t Know By Charles Fishman Nov. 2004“IN THESE TIMES” The Wal-Mart Effect By David Moberg NOV. 2004 22