Mad anthony offers some interesting thoughts on whether criticism of Walmart's labor polices has caused people to shop elsewhere. His post is based on a Bloomberg article in which a Wall Street analyst told Bloomberg that "consumers may also have turned to other retailers after reading criticism of Wal-Mart's labor issues."
Remember, Wall Street analysts told us how great a buy the NASDAQ was in 2000, so we should be careful about believing what they say.
I tend to agree with mad anthony on this one. Not only do I think that people don't care about the labor practices of companies they purchase from, I also think that most people don't pay attention to the news so don't even realize there's a controversy.
Most companies operate on the principle that they want to pay their employees the lowest amount of money that the market will bear. Walmart is far from unique. Mad anthony writes:
Does Target and Kohls pay all their employees $30 an hour with full benefits? I doubt it. So it seems unlikely that customers are going to pass up Walmart to shop at Target for moral reasons. I think the impact that Wal-Mart felt is a reaction against Wal-Mart's quality and shopping experience, not against their employee benefits.
I personally would never shop at Walmart, it's a pretty awful store and there aren't any in DC anyway.