"Wal-Mart Flourishes As Economy Turns Sour"
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's largest private employer, is reaping big gains from the souring economy even as consumers cut back, retail chains struggle and thousands lose their jobs.
On Thursday, after a week of bad news from retailers such as Best Buy Co. and Starbucks Corp., Wal-Mart said earnings for the third quarter rose 9.8% while sales rose 7.5%. At stores open at least a year, sales rose 3%, twice as much as a year before, and far better than nearly every other U.S. retailer...
Wal-Mart's image problems also persist. In ads and press releases, union-funded groups continue to portray Wal-Mart as a retail vampire draining the lifeblood of Main Streets across America.
YouGovPolimetrix, a firm that polls Americans on brand perception, says people think more positively about Wal-Mart this year than they have in the past, but less positively than they do about Target. And among college-educated consumers, Wal-Mart's reputation has not improved.