How Wal-Mart Consumes Countries

MSN Money has a more objective business-oriented look at Wal-Mart’s sprawling empire of consumerism, weighing both pros and cons of their practices. Of course, this being the Consumerist and Wal-Mart being our favorite corporate antichrist figure [which does not, we note, prevent us from worshiping them. -Ed.], we’re going to blockquote part of the con:

Most important, Wal-Mart is exporting a retailing and supply-chain system that trains and influences not only the “associates” but the public as well. People in these many countries become Wal-Mart customers. They will live with the results of Wal-Mart’s (and Procter & Gamble’s (PG, news, msgs)) commitment to radio-frequency identification (RFID). The technology sneaks into the store on cat
s feet.

The power of Wal-Mart is partly derived from its partnerships and its bold use of technology. These two things in combination give them the muscle to knock out much of the competition, for better or worse, regardless of state or nation. Retail Forward, the market research firm, has predicted that Wal-Mart will top $500 billion by 2010. That will translate into more power and more countries.

The question is, what is this going to change, and how will the world and its customers adapt themselves to a Wal-Mart world?

Goodbye mom-and-pop stores, goodbye local stores in local places. Hello to stores that have a favored position in their procurement processes and their overall supply-chain practice. Hello to efficient store-owned distribution centers.

It’s an interesting look at how Wal-Mart actually inserts itself as a significant presence into entirely new territories and the ramnifications it has on those countries’ consumer cultures, both good and bad. Plenty of ammo for both sides of the debate here.