Wal-Mart bolsters media relations to buck image woes

NEW YORK: Wal-Mart is expanding its media relations team in order to better communicate its message, said Mona Williams, VP of communications.

NEW YORK: Wal-Mart is expanding its media relations team in order to better communicate its message, said Mona Williams, VP of communications.

"There's an acknowledgement throughout the company of the importance of using the media to tell our story," Williams added. "We're now putting more resources behind doing that." The news followed comments made by H. Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart, who in addressing a Goldman Sachs retail conference last week said, "We have not gotten our story out to the extent that we need to." Wal-Mart has faced labor issues over employment of illegal workers, charges of discriminatory practices, and local opposition over new-store openings. Scott said the perception, for example, that the majority of Wal-Mart staffers are part-time is false. "Almost 80% of our jobs are full-time," he noted. Reputation is at the forefront of Wal-Mart's strategy, Scott said. "We must eliminate this constant barrage of negatives." Wal-Mart has not retained any additional external PR support. The company continues to work with Fleishman-Hillard.

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