Wal-Mart CEO Explains, Defends Early Thanksgiving Day Opening

Wal-Mart CEO Explains, Defends Early Thanksgiving Day Opening

Some people suggest that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) disrupted the Thanksgiving dinners of families in the United States for opening its stores at 6:00 in the evening, two hours earlier than a year ago.

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CNN interviewed one of the top executives of the retail giant regarding the issue that the retail giant should not be open on Thanksgiving Day. Bill Simon, chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) U.S. explained that the company’s stores had been open during Thanksgiving since the mid-1980s.

Wal-Mart caters to the needs of its clients

He emphasized that the retail giant is similar to service industries like hotels and airlines, and its stores are open when customers want to go shopping. He said that has been the practice of the company for quite some time.

When asked if shopping is the kind of family tradition Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) want to perpetuate, Simon replied that their responsibility is to anticipate what customers want. He said, “Having families out, children in the building … gives it a different feel. And it’s one that’s in line with who we are at Wal-Mart. It feels a lot better in the evening than it did when it was early in the morning [on Black Friday].”

Simon added that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) did not plan to change the schedule of the opening of its stores this year, but according to him the market moved.

Furthermore, Simon said, “I have a hard time imagining it could be 4:00. Let’s hope that it doesn’t move. We’ve seen about as early as it can go. It’s hard to imagine that it can move much more.” According to Simon, he worked throughout most of the night, and he tried to stay up by drinking coffee and Monster energy drink.

Employees who worked Thanksgiving given ample incentive

With regard to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) employees who are working during Thanksgiving instead of spending time with their families, Simon emphasized that they were given holiday pay, hot meals, and deep discounts in-store for their own holiday shopping.

He explained that most company associates spent Thanksgiving with their family early, and then went to work. He said associates worked side by side with the leadership team of the company.

With regard to complaints that the retail giant is not paying its workers enough, Simon emphasized, “Just to set the record straight, we pay in the top half of the retail. Our industry offers the opportunity at any life stage from 16 all the way to 76 if they would like to, and then they work hard and build a career.”

According to Simon, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) provides entry level jobs and there are lot of opportunities to grow into management. He added that more than 50% of the current employees of the company are receiving above minimum wage.

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