Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Welcome to Wal-Mart country

June 4, 2009

bentonvillewmtoneReuters is attending Wal-Mart’s annual meeting this week and will be sending news, tweets and images from the event via Shop Talk.

Our tour will include visits to the company’s distribution center, a Sam’s Club warehouse store and a Walmart supercenter.

We’ll also get updates on the discounter’s plans for its international business, U.S. store remodels and, of course, send news from the annual meeting.

bentonvillebankowned2Walmart’s Store #1, pictured above, is featured on local tourist maps.

One thing that struck us on the drive from the airport to world biggest retailer’s headquarters of Bentonville, Arkansas, was the sheer number of “For Sale” signs on properties ranging from homes to commercial land.

Wal-Mart is often held up as the success story of these hard economic times, but when it comes to foreclosures its home town is no different from many others around the nation. 

“For Sale” signs litter the landscape and housing communities are idled. Here’s a snippet from a recent story in The Morning News: Bentonville has 11 unfinished subdivisions in various states of completion, according to city records. Nine are not under active construction, and four of those are virtually abandoned, said Brian Bahr, the city’s current planning manager.

(Photos: Lisa Baertlein)

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