Wal-Mart, which has deployed its financial might to squeeze extra gallons of gas out of its trucks and shave pennies off the price of laundry detergent, did something unexpected this week: it muscled its way into a divisive social debate. In an announcement circulated and recirculated among incredulous gay-rights advocates, Wal-Mart posted a statement on its Twitter feed that asked the governor of Arkansas, its home state, to reject legislation that critics say could allow discrimination against lesbians and gay men.
Wal-Mart was ordered by a federal judge in Arkansas to face a pension fund's claims the retailer defrauded shareholders by concealing corruption tied to bribes allegedly paid by officials of its Mexican unit. U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey in Fayetteville rejected Wal-Mart's bid to throw out the Michigan-based fund's lawsuit accusing it of making misleading statements to regulators about claims it paid bribes to facilitate Mexican real estate deals. Wal-Mart said it's spent $439 million since 2012 in connection with investigations into allegations that employees paid bribes in Mexico, China, India and Brazil.
Wal-Mart Canada has confirmed it laid off hundreds of employees across the country earlier this month in a move to rework its management structure. The Arkansas-based retailer said it eliminated 750 jobs — which it says represented less than 1 percent of staff — after testing a new management structure in select stores. As part of the changes, Wal-Mart Canada says 1,300 associates were promoted to more senior roles and about 200 store managers were added.