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Australia Free Trade Agreement

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When it comes to marketing strategies, Wal-Mart sticks to its knitting. From the start, Wal-Mart's advertising focus was all about Every Day Low Pricing, and it remains true today. "What we were obsessed with was keeping our prices below everybody else's," said Sam Walton in "Made in America." "Our dedication to that idea was total."

On this, the retailer has never wavered: Offer customers the products they want at the lowest possible prices. While many of the methods Wal-Mart uses to achieve this goal have become more sophisticated, its advertising strategy remains very much the same. And like most other aspects of Wal-Mart's operations, it continues to be influenced by Walton himself.

"Sam really respected our customers," said Paul Higham, senior vp of marketing. "Everything he did provided us a great example of customer respect and service. Today we make every effort to have our advertising continue to reflect Sam's message of inclusion and respect.

"Our advertising simply reflects what happens in our stores," he said. "Truth is, our culture of trying to take care of our customers and one another powerfully influences the outcome of our ads."

The thrust of Wal-Mart's TV commercials has been consistent over the years. The ads project homey images and use real associates and customers (not actors) to relate all the reasons why it's nice to shop at Wal-Mart. The 10-year-old tactic has duel benefits.

"We continue to get an incredible number of favorable comments from our customers," said Higham.

The marketing department also gets calls and letters from associates wanting to be in the ads. The signature smiley face is practically a punctuation mark in Wal-Mart's low-price, down-home message.

The company did depart slightly from its standard TV ads in summer 1999 when it launched two spots targeting the youth market for Back to School. In one ad designed to point up the improved fashionability in the apparel department, college-age girls talked about what fun it is to shop at Wal-Mart for clothes.

Going after the youth market is not Wal-Mart's mainstay and is plainly a bid to attract the next generation of shoppers. But even in these more contemporary spots, the value equation is clearly present.

By unwaveringly maintaining its EDLP policy throughout its history, the retailer imparts a consistent message to consumers-- "low prices save you money."


Wal-Mart is a powerful retail brand. It has a reputation for value for money, convenience and a wide range of products all in one store.

Wal-Mart has grown substantially over recent years, and has experienced global expansion (for example its purchase of the United Kingdom based retailer ASDA).

The company has a core competence involving its use of information technology to support its international logistics system. For example, it can see how individual products are performing country-wide, store-by-store at a glance. IT also supports Wal-Mart's efficient procurement.

A focused strategy is in place for human resource management and development. People are key to Wal-Mart's business and it invests time and money in training people, and retaining a developing them.


Wal-Mart is the World's largest grocery retailer and control of its empire, despite its IT advantages, could leave it weak in some areas due to the huge span of control.

Since Wal-Mart sell products across many sectors (such as clothing, food, or stationary), it may not have the flexibility of some of its more focused competitors.

The company is global, but has has a presence in relatively few countries Worldwide.


To take over, merge with, or form strategic alliances with other global retailers, focusing on specific markets such as Europe or the Greater China Region.

The stores are currently only trade in a relatively small number of countries. Therefore there are tremendous opportunities for future business in expanding consumer markets, such as China and India.

New locations and store types offer Wal-Mart opportunities to exploit market development. They diversified from large super centres, to local and mall-based sites.

Opportunities exist for Wal-Mart to continue with its current strategy of large, super centres.


Being number one means that you are the target of competition, locally and globally.

Being a global retailer means that you are exposed to political problems in the countries that you operate in.

The cost of producing many consumer products tends to have fallen because of lower manufacturing costs. Manufacturing cost have fallen due to outsourcing to low-cost regions of the World. This has lead to price competition, resulting in price deflation in some ranges. Intense price competition is a threat.

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy released an interesting report yesterday scrutinizing the philanthropic practices of Wal-Mart and the Walton family. The report, "The Waltons and Wal-Mart: Self-Interested Philanthropy," focuses on three main organizations through which their giving is directed: the Wal-Mart Foundation,



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