retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• Walmart CEO Mike Duke told the “Today Show” yesterday that he believes there remains a lot of stress in the US economy and that he does not expect the current recession to end anytime soon.

Duke also said that he expects the recession to create a “sustained change in the way that families live.”

• Walmart reportedly is trimming its staffing levels in China, especially at midlevel management positions, as a way of keeping costs in line. The retailer, according to Dow Jones, is giving affected employees the option of relocating to areas where it is opening new stores.

• Brand Finance, a global consultancy, is out with its list of the top global brands…and for the first time, Walmart is at the top of the list.

Coca-Cola, which was in the top spot last year, dropped to number two.

According to Marketing Week, Walmart gained the number one position by positioning itself as a consumer champion during the economic downturn, and that it has overcome criticism of its policies through improved social responsibility and an effective marketing program that focuses on its work in areas like the environment.

KC's View:
Does the phrase “firing on all cylinders” mean anything to you? Because that’s what Walmart is doing these days…with few exceptions, pretty much everything it does seems to be working. The guess here is that the Bentonville Behemoth will emerge from the current recession stronger than ever, with greater market share…and a little bit wiser, as well.