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  1. 1. A Wai-Marl Superctnter in Lebanon. Mo *Th« Wal-M*rt Ellecl* c..irr.,nci the company thai changed the way America ihopi An unsparing look inside the biggest of the big boxes news. Its myriad labor pmbkms made headlines Few knowledgeable salespeople are left In retail •gain last month when a California Jury ordered ing anymore, only cashiers. '-• THE WAL-MART EFFECT: HOW the company to pay more than $170 million to Simply to feed turnover, Wai-Man must rcpUo THE WORLD'S MOST POWERFUL thousands of workers who claimed they were de- 600,000 workers a year, the Economist magazim nied lunch breaks; the company Is appealing. The reported — roughly the population of the dty o COMPANY REALLY WORKS - company also was embana.wd this month when Baltimore, More Americans now vrort In store AND HOW IT'S TRANSFORMING its Web nie prompted people shopping for Afri- than in factories, an epic shift that occurred qui THE AMERICAN ECONOMY can-American films to purchase Planet of the etly a few yean ago, Fishman points out Charles Fishman Apes and Wtlty Wonka and the Chocolate factory. But the company's might partly results from It Penguin Pr*» / 304 p*jn /$2595 Chief Executive Officer H. Lee Scott Jr. acknowl- zeal to push responsibilities onto others, Flshmai edged recently that he must spend Increasing uyv Suppliers are strongly discouraged troa gota of time defending the company. Union- passing on cost increases, regardless of whet he backcd campaigns such as they're driven by raw materials or envlronmen BY A N D R E W RATHER and Wat-Mart Watch are textbook models of how lal-protectjon laws. Many contend that Wai-Mar oouniwd labor will engage Its corporate foes In foists responsibility for health care coverage fo the Internet age. its workers onto the public system — an argu O Ftshman's is neither a wholly two-fisted attack men! that recently moved the Maryland legisla nor a fawning account. The author Illuminates ture to require Wai-Man into Increasing Its em NE INDICATION OF HOW THOR the vut and complex Impact the company has ex- ptoyw health care. oughly Wal-Mart has transformed erted economically and socially. As Fishman describes, Wai-Man's 'social con retail Is (o read news coverage The 1980s are often described as the *Me Dec- tract* has frayed since the 1991 death of foundc. from the early 1990s, when a ade,' but Wai-Man through the 1990s helped Sam Walton. The company has become a welte Paris-based company introduced make acquisitiveness a central tenet of American of contradictions: II espouses patriotism and lam It* Leedmark 'superstore* in life. Allcr saks of Harm underwear shot up at Uy values but placet extreme demands on it Maryland. Wal-Mart a Tew years ago. for example. Hanes ex- managers, requiring inordinate houn away thin •Skeptics uy the 'hybrid mar ecutives were initially twilled about where else families, and squeezes suppliers so unrelentingh ket' has yet to prove it is anything men.' than a they might be losing sales as a result. They even- that jobs move overseas. Walton touted *Bir lumbering 'diruwtore,' • said a story tn The Sun tually concluded that shoppers weren't buying American' in the 1980s, but the company helpe< less of their product elsewhere: They were simply contribute to the hollowing out of that lentimen 300.00Cnquare-root store In Glen Bumlc. •Hy- stuffing their dressers at home with ever more as it began buying billions of dollars worth o permarkets haw been popular in Western Eu- undergarments, driven by Wai-Man's persuasive Koods from China and other countries. rope since the 19605, but the term has acquired pricing, Fishman writes. The author Implies that Wai-Man could anc the reek of failure In U.S. retailing circles.' With Its unsophisticated Image, low-rent mar- should use Its power to do more good even as I Although little more than a decade old. clips keting «nd bland and Jumbled stores, Wai-Man thrives, such as improving working conditions to certainly makes a fun target for critics. The ani- the likes of Chilean salmon farmers and Bangfe Ing depleting primitive man's aversion to having mated political cartoon site Jthlabcom offered a deshl garment wotters who supply Its labor an a big-screci 'IV and underarm deodorant In the withering parody recently to the tune of "Oh Su- products so cheaply. same shopping can. sanna." Walton Isn't widely vtewed as an industrial ge Leedmark eventually did fold, but Wal-Mart, But the company's Impact is undeniable. Wai- nlus, hut he transformed shopping for the masse which look over Leedniark'* Gen Bumle site, has Man changed the way American families shop. as much as Henry Ford did the automobile are grown to unlmagtned proportions. Annual sales, their perceptions of what they need, and how Bill Gales the personal computer. The Wcl-Mor which Ilrst surpassed 11 billion in 1979, now ap- manufacturers prepare goods, package them and Fffcct may seem breathless at times, but per proach Ijoo billion. get them to market The chain altered the for- haps It's because the author cant help but mai The Wal-Mart Effect, * new book by Charles tunes of mom-and-pop stores on Main Street, de- vel at the unlikely influence one dryfoods put Fishman, is a fascinating dissection of the most throned the once-mighty enclosed suburban veyor In the Ozarks has exerted on the planet controversial corporation In America today. shopping mall and the venerable department Fishman Is a senior editor at Rut Company who stores, ajid paved the way for more fashionable last year won a coveted Gerald Loeb Award for discount competitors such as Target Corp. and business magazine wn ting. Kohl's Corp. It made 'low prices' king and ren- Andrtw Ralner is deputy bustneu rdilor o/ Th* The world's largest retailer cant stay out of the dered "service* less vital In the service economy.