August, 2005

When Will Wal-Mart Demand An Investigation of Wal-Mart?

Washington, DC – Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart and ASDA, its British subsidiary, achieved a new level of global irony this weekend calling for a government investigation into the market dominance of one of its foreign competitors, TESCO. As reported by The Sunday Times, Scott demanded that the British Government investigate its chief grocery rival TESCO because of what Scott sees as the company’s growing market dominance in Britain. Scott stated that “”as you get to over 30 percent and higher, I am sure there is a point where government is compelled to intervene….at some point the Government has to look at it.””

“”Scott criticizing TESCO for its market dominance is like Enron criticizing Arthur Anderson for its accounting practices.  Wal-Mart is using its immoral business practices as a competitive advantage over responsible corporations.  The question for Wal-Mart should be when will Wal-Mart demand an investigation of itself?”” said, Paul Blank, campaign director for

Lee Scott’s statement is especially ironic in light of the facts about Wal-Mart’s market share here in the United States.

Here are the facts:

  1. Wal-Mart accounts for 60% of the sales for the $379 billion market called Discount Department and General Merchandise stores.
  2. Wal-Mart’s general merchandise dominance means it has sales nearly 5 times more than their next closest competitor and double the sales of their next 3 closest competitors (Costco, Target and Kmart) combined.
  3. Wal-Mart controls approximately 24% of grocery sales in the United States (more than double its next closest competitor), very similar to TESCO’s position in the United Kingdom.
  4. Wal-Mart sells more groceries than their top 3 competitors combined.
  5. Wal-Mart sells 30% of household staples bought in the United States, including items such as toothpaste, shampoo, and paper towels, according to Business Week.
  6. A report prepared by Retail Forward in 2003 forecasted that Wal-Mart’s domestic supermarket-type sales could go from an estimated $82 billion to $162 billion by 2007. In the process, Wal-Mart will consume almost a third of the expected growth in US spending on grocery and drug products during 2003-2007. Growth of this magnitude would give Wal-Mart control of 35% of food store industry sales and 25% of the drug store industry – and put many entrenched players in jeopardy.
  7. Grocery Industry statistics Ranked by Percentage:24% Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club
    10% Kroger
    7% Albertson’s
    6% Safeway

    Discount department & General Merchandise stores ($379 billion) Ranked by sales:

    Wal-Mart & Sam’s Club $229 bill
    Costco $47 bill
    Target $47 bill
    Kmart $20 bill



Washington, D.C. – Today, all across America, over 2000 elected officials, teachers, civic and community leaders, and students officially launched a new campaign to highlight Wal-Mart’s failures and its negative effects on our communities, our families, and the nation’s children. The “”Send Wal-Mart Back to School Campaign”” is part of a first-time nationwide effort being led by the two largest teacher’s groups in America, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA), and – America’s national campaign to change Wal-Mart.

The “”Send Wal-Mart Back to School”” campaign began with over 30 coordinated press conferences in 20 states where various leaders, like Senator Jon Corzine, Members of Congress, state officials, labor representatives, local teachers and students asked all Americans to sign’s “”Back-to-School Pledge.”” Americans who sign the pledge agree to not buy their Back-to-School supplies at Wal-Mart until the company becomes a more responsible corporate citizen.

“”Every day Wal-Mart’s so-called ‘low prices’ comes with too high a cost for our families and our children. Starting today, Americans will have the opportunity to teach Wal-Mart a lesson that corporations have a responsibility to do the right thing,”” said Paul Blank, Campaign Director.

As part of the press conferences, local teachers released the “”Wal-Mart Report Card”” – a 3-foot-by-5-foot replica of an actual report card that displays Wal-Mart’s failing grades and shows how Wal-Mart has repeatedly failed American families and children by offering poverty level wages and poor benefits, by abusing taxpayers, by having discriminated against 2 million women, and by breaking child labor laws.

“”Wal-Mart has failed America for too long. This Back-to-School season, all Americans can help send Wal-Mart this message – our children are not a commodity to be exploited. Clearly, our children deserve better than Wal-Mart,”” added Paul Blank.

At the press conference, speakers also released a letter sent to Lee Scott, CEO, of Wal-Mart. In the letter, Scott was asked to adopt a nation-wide “”zero tolerance policy”” and promise the American people, and his shareholders, that he would resign if Wal-Mart were found guilty – again – of breaking child labor laws. The letter will be posted on

Press conferences were held in over 30 cities, including:

Boston, MA; Hartford, CT; Albany, NY; New York, NY; Paterson, NJ; Commack, NY; Providence, RI; Springfield, MA; Philadelphia, PA; Edgewater, NJ; Cleveland, OH; Louisville, KY; Columbus, OH; Toledo, OH; Cincinnati, OH; St. Louis, MO; Kansas City, MO; Albuquerque, NM; Chicago, IL; Milwaukee, WI; Oshkosh, WI; Minneapolis-St Paul, MN; Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; Las Vegas, NV; Phoenix, AZ; Los Angeles, CA; San Jose, CA; Oakland, CA; Denver, CO

The “”Send Wal-Mart Back To School”” campaign is the latest effort in the growing national campaign to change Wal-Mart led by Already, over 67,000 Americans in all 50 states have joined our campaign to “”Wake-Up”” Wal-Mart and change America’s largest employer. Statement on Gender Discrimination Hearing

Today, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Dukes v. Wal-Mart, the largest class action gender lawsuit in U.S. history.  The lawsuit affects nearly 2 million former and current Wal-Mart female workers.

“”It is simply un-American for Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest employer, to have systematically discriminated against 2 million of its female employees.  We can only hope – for the sake of all current and former Wal-Mart women workers – that Wal-Mart will stop trying to fight this lawsuit and instead will finally wake-up and do what is right.

The gender discrimination lawsuit really demonstrates Wal-Mart’s two faces.  Wal-Mart smiles because it is able to tightly control every part of its business, but Wal-Mart frowns when someone holds them accountable for their bad behavior.  Wal-Mart’s argument that this case is too big is two-faced and silly.  Wal-Mart knew it had a problem, but chose to do nothing about it.

On behalf of all Americans, and all female workers, we will make sure Wal-Mart is held accountable for its abandonment of moral values in the relentless pursuit of greed.

Sadly, for too long, Wal-Mart has chosen a path that not only disrespects and mistreats its female workers, but all workers.  By paying poverty level wages, failing to provide affordable company health insurance, exploiting immigrant and child labor, and shifting their costs onto the American taxpayer, Wal-Mart has chosen to do what is wrong at the expense of what is good for its workers and America.””

Wal-Mart and Gender Discrimination

More than 700,000 women work for Wal-Mart, which makes the Company the largest private sector employer of women in the United States (

Analysis done in 2003 showed that while 2/3s of the company’s hourly workers were female, women held only 1/3 of managerial positions and constituted less than 15 % of store managers.  (Financial Times, 11/20/03)

For the same job classification, women earned from 5% to 15 % less than men, even after taking into account factors such as seniority and performance.  This divide in pay has been growing over time.  (“”Statistical Analysis of Gender Patterns in Wal-Mart’s Workforce””, Dr. Richard Drogin 2003)

In 2001, women managers on average earned $14,500 less than their male counterparts. Female hourly workers earned on average $1,100 less than male counterparts.  (“”Statistical Analysis of Gender Patterns in Wal-Mart’s Workforce””, Dr. Richard Drogin 2003)

In 2001 six women sued Wal-Mart, claiming the company discriminated against women by systematically denying them promotions and paying them less than men. The lawsuit, Dukes v. Wal-Mart, has expanded to include more than 1.6 million current and former female employees, and was certified on June 21, 2004 as the largest class action lawsuit ever. It is now being appealed by Wal-Mart.

Patterns of discrimination in promotion and pay were found in all regions where Wal-Mart operates in the United States. (“”Statistical Analysis of Gender Patterns in Wal-Mart’s Workforce””, Dr. Richard Drogin 2003)

Documents produced during discovery showed that Wal-Mart formed a diversity committee in 1996, but, instead of implementing the committee’s recommendations, disbanded the panel. Two years later, Wal-Mart’s gender discrimination problem actually got worse.  [Bloomberg, 7/15/05]

An internal Wal-Mart document entitled, “”Minority/Gender Pay Analysis”” dated July 21, 2000, specifically states, “”Generally, average salaries for female and minority males are below the overall average pay for most jobs. Average pay increases for minority males and females are generally below overall average income ratio across most jobs.””  [Bloomberg, 7/15/05]

This led Jeffrey Reeves, a former vice president for personnel at the company’s Sam’s Club unit in a January 2003 deposition, when asked about whether or not management wanted to seriously address diversity, to state, “”I would say a lot was lip service.””  [Bloomberg, 7/15/05]