Originally published on Wed October 26, 2011 10:40 am
<p>Members of the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union protest against Walmart's acquisition of Massmart, southern Africa's largest retailer, in May. The deal was initially approved but is now under review.</p>
In May, the South African government approved Walmart's bid to buy Massmart for more than $2 billion. Massmart is the largest retail chain in southern Africa, operating in 14 countries. But now the government is reconsidering that ruling.
Workers' unions have long opposed the plan because of concerns that the deal could lead to significant job losses, and the government has worries of its own in a time of high unemployment.
Walmart announced today that its chief executive in China was resigning for personal reasons. Ed Chan's resignation, however, comes about a week after China arrested Walmart employees and forced the retail giant to close 13 stores over allegations it was selling regular pork but labeling it as organic.
In virtually every county, there is a Walmart open every hour of every day and every one of those Walmarts is being visited by 37,000 people a week — that's 220 people an hour, in every Walmart every hour of the day. Here a Walmart worker pulls carts at a store in Pittsburg, Calif. on June 20.
"We're seeing cost increases starting to come through at a pretty rapid rate," Bill Simon says, and retailers are going to have to pass some of them along. Among the pressure points, obviously: Higher fuel prices, which then push up transportation costs.