When a small publisher recently agreed to let Amazon.com be the exclusive seller of a new book about Barack Obama, the deal sparked a flurry of protest from independent booksellers and provided new evidence that the e-commerce giant intends to leverage its power as a retailer to gain more control over the production and distribution of books.… Read More
A growing number of communities are fighting back against the rising power of large retail stores like Wal-Mart. But real change won’t come until we stop thinking of ourselves as consumers and start thinking of ourselves as engaged citizens.… Read More
As the company’s misdeeds pile up in the public consciousness, it can be tempting to define the problem of Wal-Mart as one of a bad apple—a rogue company gone awry in an otherwise sound economic system.
Wal-Mart has indeed attained a scale that puts it in a category all its own, and there’s no question that it is leading a race to the bottom. But others are running that race too. Target’s wages are as poor and its health benefits as out of reach. Home Depot and Lowe’s have crushed thousands of independent hardware stores. Best Buy has its main sourcing office Shanghai, where it relies on the same dismal factories.
The nation’s largest seller of everything from groceries to toys wants to go into banking. Wal-Mart has applied to open a bank in Utah. State regulators say it will take about four months for them to review the application. … Read More
More than 40 percent of the towns surveyed for a new report by the London-based New Economics Foundation are so overrun by chain stores that they have lost their local identity and become little more than "clone towns." … Read More
At the request of independent movie theaters across the state, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer is investigating claims that major movie theater chains use their clout with distributors to prevent independent theaters from showing many of the most popular first-run films. At issue is a common industry practice called clearance, whereby theaters are given exclusive rights to show a film within a certain radius around their theaters. … Read More
Small business owners are crying foul over an agreement reached between the Puerto Rican government and Wal-Mart. The deal allows Wal-Mart to proceed with its purchase of an island supermarket chain, which will give it control of 40 percent of Puerto Rico’s grocery sales. Last year Wal-Mart won approval from the Federal Trade Commission to purchase the Amigo supermarket chain. Puerto Rican officials said the deal violated local antitrust laws and sued to block the merger. … Read More