Sunday, February 26, 2006

NYTimes prints internal Wal-Mart emails provided by anti-store group

ORIGINAL LINK (payment required):

On Feb. 17, the New York Times carried a story which quoted extensively from internal emails from Wal-Mart's CEO to its 1.3 million employees.The group Wal-Mart watch, said it obtained the emails from a disgruntled Wal-Mart manager, according to the New York Times account.

For example, asked about Wal-Mart's stock price, which has fallen 11 percent in the last five years. CEO Lee Scott said: ''You cannot have Target or Walgreens beating you day after day after day.'' Mr. Scott wrote that one reason Wal-Mart's same-store sales were growing more slowly than Target's was that Wal-Mart's customers earn less and have been squeezed worse by soaring fuel prices.

''Wal-Mart's focus has been on lower income and lower-middle income consumers,'' he wrote. ''In the last four years or so, with the price of fuel being what it is, that customer has had the most difficult time. The upper-end customer got a tremendous number of tax breaks about four years ago. They have been doing very well in this economy.''

He said having to pay $50 to gas up a car did not change anything for rich customers, but did for those who didn't earn a lot. ''It changes whether or not you go to the movie, whether or not you buy new sheets, whether or not you go out to eat.''

Here is a Feb. 17 email from Andew grossman, Wal-Mart Watch executive director, to supporters:

Andrew Grossman <> wrote:
Subject: Wal-Mart Watch Reveals Secret CEO Postings
From: "Andrew Grossman" <>

"This morning’s NY Times business section front page has a story titled, “On Private Web Site, Wal-Mart Chief Talks Tough” about an internal
Wal-Mart website that CEO Lee Scott uses for Q and A with his managers – Lee’s Garage.

"And this is the lead from this morning’s Bloomberg AM Market Update:

"Wal-Mart Stores Inc. fell after the New York Times reported the chief executive saying that providing some medical benefits would be harmful. Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, fell 15 cents to $46.48. CEO H. Lee Scott told company managers on a confidential, internal Web site that providing medical retirement benefits would leave the world's largest retailer at a competitive disadvantage, the New York Times reported, citing a copy of the posting provided by a group lobbying for better work conditions. [Bloomberg News]

"You can read excerpts from Lee’s Garage at our website:

"Unfortunately, this shows that Wal-Mart just isn’t yet ready to assume the leadership responsibility that Americans expect from the world’s largest corporation. Wal-Mart can and should act as a catalyst for change in the American health care system. To do so, they must 1) guarantee that no employee will have to resort to taxpayer-funded health care for themselves, their spouses and their children and 2) meet the standard already set by the vast majority of medium and large American businesses. Only 48% of Wal-Mart employees have company-provided coverage, while 68% of employees at American companies with over 200 employees receive coverage at work. Wal-Mart is unique."

Andrew Grossman
Executive Director
Five Stones
1730 M Street, NW
Suite 601
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 557-7440
(202) 557-7499 Fax


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