Wal-Mart Era Reaching Its End

Brands and consumers looking beyond the big box
By Kate Schwartz,  Newser User
Posted Oct 3, 2007 8:27 PM CDT

(Newser) – Wal-Mart may be king, but its throne is shrinking: A judge awarded $62.3 million to underpaid workers today, yet another blow to the mega-seller. Big-name brands like PepsiCo are opting for companies like Whole Foods, as rivals lure American buyers and the Internet dwarfs Wal-Mart's 142,000-item stock, reports the Wall Street Journal.

With its US revenue 4.5 times that of Target, Wal-Mart remains a force in retail. But its supercenter-style store may be a weakness as buyers demand freshness and choice, a tough change for a company that relies on uniformity and scale. "For the first time in a long time, quality has a chance to gain on price," says a consultant.