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Wal-Mart Launches Pre-Emptive P.R.

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark., Wal-Mart has taken another aggressive, offensive step in its ongoing public relations campaign with American citizens. In a full-page ad published in more than 100 newspapers across the country, Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott declared: “Wal-Mart is good for consumers, good for communities and good for the U.S. economy.”

In the advertisment, the company pointed to the following:

• This year, Wal-Mart Stores plans to create more than 100,000 new jobs in the United States.

• The chain’s average wage for full-time hourly store associates—such as cashiers, stockers and sales associates—is almost twice the federal minimum wage.

• Seventy-four percent of Wal-Mart’s hourly associates in the United States work full-time, higher than the 20% to 40% typically found in the retail industry.

The company has been a frequent target of criticism related to its impact on high-paying American jobs and health-care infrastructure in communities where it operates.

The company also launched a non-commercial Web site, www.walmartfacts.com, to help its associates, consumers, reporters and others learn the facts about the company.

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Big 5 Sporting Goods Posts 4Q Increase

BY CSA STAFF

El Segundo, Calif., Big 5 Sporting Goods reported that net sales for the fourth quarter increased 13.4% to $217.6 million from $191.8 million for the corresponding period a year ago. Same-store sales for the quarter rose 2.6%.

Full-year net sales increased 9.8% to $778.9 million from $709.7 million in fiscal 2003, and same-store sales increased 3.5%.

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More Trouble at OfficeMax

BY CSA STAFF

Itasca, Ill., OfficeMax, the third-largest office-products retailer, lost CFO Brian Anderson, who resigned after holding the top financial post at the chain for just two months. The company offered no elaboration on his departure, but said former CFO Ted Crumley will return to the company and fill the post on an interim basis during a search for a long-term replacement.

The company also will delay the company’s earnings release for the fourth quarter while it completes an internal investigation of possible accounting irregularities. The company cut its forecast for fiscal 2004 performance about three weeks ago.

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