Wal-Mart strikes back at critics

Retail giant takes out full-page advertisements in more than 100 U.S. newspapers

In a full-page ad published in more than 100 newspapers across the United States, Wal-Mart chief executive officer H. Lee Scott said it was time for the public to hear the "unfiltered truth" about Wal-Mart, and time for the company to stand up on behalf of a workforce that includes 1.2 million Americans.

"There are a lot of 'urban legends' going around these days about Wal-Mart, but facts are facts," Scott said. "Wal-Mart is good for consumers, good for communities and good for the U.S. economy."

Wal-Mart has been slammed by critics who say its hiring practices, labour practices and business practices are unfair. The advertisement touts the number of jobs it plans to create in 2005, its employee benefit packages and the diversity of its workforce.

In what Scott said was an "unusual approach" for Wal-Mart, the company placed ads in newspapers including USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. The ad is a direct letter from Scott.

"For too long, others have had free rein to say things about our company that just aren't true," Scott said. "Our associates are tired of it and we've decided it's time to draw our own line in the sand.

"We understand that, as one of the most visible corporations in the world, we will be a target for criticism. When it is valid, we try to learn from it and become a better company," Scott said. "But we have made a commitment to our associates, customers and suppliers that when false allegations are made about Wal-Mart, we will actively correct the record. That's what this day is all about."

Wal-Mart also launched a website, www.walmartfacts.com, to help its associates, consumers, reporters and others learn the facts about the company.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM'S CLUBS in the United States.
Internationally, the company operates in Puerto Rico, Canada, China, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, United Kingdom, Argentina and South Korea.

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