Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wal-Mart promotes career advancement

(Stylesight) Under pressure by labor-backed critics to maintain fair labor practices, Wal-Mart Stores Vice Chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright promised shareholders at its annual meeting that it would press for greater diversity in the workforce and create more career opportunities for advancement, reported the Associated Press.

"In the year ahead, we will take bold steps. We will not confuse efforts with results," Castro-Wright said, adding that the company would do more to help associates, including hourly associates, advance in the workforce and get competitive pay. He also stated that 40% of regional general managers are "of color," while 20% of that group are women.

The announcement follows recent efforts to improve the company image and business practices by cutting waste from operations and reducing health care costs through store clinics. So far, Wal-Mart has greatly benefited as a result of shoppers switching to cheaper options in a recession and of re-emphasizing low prices and a right mix of merchandise and marketing.

The AP suggests that Wal-Mart's challenge is to maintain new shoppers when the economy improves. Already, the company is said to be remodeling 500 of its 3,600 stores in the US this year, adding better displays of electronics and lower shelves, and earlier this week debuted a new fashion line with teen star Miley Cyrus and BCBG Max Azria for the back-to-school season.

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