November 27, 2006

Wal-Mart Nation

69%

That’s the number of Americans familiar with Wal-Mart, who have a favorable opinion of the company according to a Pew survey. That high rating didn’t keep the nation’s largest retailer from suffering a 0.1% drop in same-store sales over the bellwether Thanksgiving shopping weekend, news of which led the stock market downward on Monday.

As shoppers flock to the stores for holiday gifts, some may harbor mixed feelings about the nation’s largest retailer. Overall, 69% of those familiar with Wal-Mart have a favorable opinion of the company, a Pew Center for the People & the Press found in a survey last December. Still, 31% of the public has an unfavorable view, a considerably higher negative rating than accorded many other major firms, and Wal-Mart’s generally high rating didn’t keep the firm from suffering a 0.1% drop in same-store sales over the bellwether Thanksgiving shopping weekend, news of which led the stock market downward the following Monday. Nearly every American lives close enough to a Wal-Mart to shop there, and 84% said they had done so in the past year. Praise for the retailer’s low prices, wide selection and convenience flowed freely, and 81% of those with a Wal-Mart nearby judged it a good place to shop. Somewhat less glowing, however, were judgments about Wal-Mart’s effect on communities and the nation as a whole, and a third of the public (34%) rated it a bad place to work. Read More