Essay by Michele2004 August 2004

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Definition of Main Problem: There can be no argument that Wal*Mart has revolutionized the discount retailing industry. Furthermore, CEO Glass and COO Soderquist have stepped in at the helm of this company and continued to take it in the right direction by quadrupling sales and profits from 1987 to 1993. The main problem they now face is how to sustain their phenomenal performance, and becoming number one has magnified this issue. No longer can they just sneak into small towns where the only competition is the local merchant's shop. No longer can they copy larger companies like Sears and J.C. Penny's because of their size and scope. The fact is, Wal*Mart is bigger than these companies and their direct competitors Kmart and Target are doing everything in their power to close that gap. They are lurking not so quietly in the shadows, benefiting from Wal*Mart's past choices, successes, and failures.

They are there to blow the whistle if Wal*Mart steps outside the lines. Wal*Mart may be growing, but at a rate under 10% for the first time in years. Shareholders are concerned, the press is relentless, and many obstacles lie in their path if they hope to continue the trends Sam Walton set so ambitiously in 1962. Analysis: With one of their main issues being sustained profitability, Wal*Mart is at a critical time in their life. They are no longer the hero, a place commonly reserved for competitors striving to be number one, because Wal*Mart is number one. No one can debate how effective they have been in getting here. Through their focus on superior technology and low cost leadership, Wal*Mart reigned supreme. They are redefining Porter's five forces model in the discount retailing industry, and are in the enviable position of having first mover's advantage. Yet this blessing is...