Walmart: Key Insights and Practical Lessons from the World's Largest Retailer

Natalie Berg & Bryan Roberts. Kogan Page, $39.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-07494-6273-4
With plenty of combined experience working for Walmart and its competitors, Berg and Roberts are familiar with every twist, turn, foible, and forte of Walmart's retail practices. Beginning with the origins of Sam Walton's vast empire in Bentonville, Arkansas, the text shifts rapidly from freshman level background info to grad school caliber industry analysis. Though the particulars of the retail behemoth's success are complex, Walton's genius was and remains simple: it's all about scale—Walmart lobbies for lower prices from suppliers by becoming their biggest customer, their Great Value brand of food products is the largest of its kind in the U.S., and its Data Warehouse is "the second-largest civilian database behind eBay." In addition to their elucidation of the company's domestic presence, Roberts and Berg also explore Walmart's global ventures, dutifully documenting both their successes (as in England under the Asda name) and failures (as in Germany), and illuminating the corporation's ability to learn from good and bad outcomes, as well as from the seemingly unremitting criticism regarding their labor practices, handling of gender issues, and other personnel matters. The authors' backgrounds are evident in their incessant use of business lingo, so while this is a far cry from a pop culture take on one of the biggest retailers in history, Berg and Roberts provide numerous valuable insights for business students and industry professionals. (May)
Reviewed on: 07/30/2012
Release date: 05/01/2012
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