Wal-Mart's Scott: "We Were Getting Nowhere"

It was high time to meet with critics, the CEO says, because it could no longer ignore them. But don't look for any major wage raises soon

In the last three years, critics have attacked Wal-Mart Stores (WMT ) on a variety of fronts. The world's largest retailer has been accused of creating a permanent underclass by paying rock-bottom wages and being stingy on benefits. Its labor image hasn't been helped, either, by lawsuits over employees working off the clock and alleging discrimination against women workers. Its stores, meanwhile, have been criticized for doing environmental damage and creating congestion and sprawl. In California, communities have actually tried to block Wal-Mart stores.

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