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Walmart's Image Takes a Dive Despite Effort to Alter Narrative

  • Retailer’s corporate reputation has fallen for past two years
  • Former store-turned-detention center hasn’t yet hurt image
A cashier scans items for a customer at a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. location in Burbank, California, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, marks the traditional start to the U.S. holiday shopping season.
Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Walmart has boosted wages, set ambitious sustainability goals and is pledging to promote more women into senior leadership -- but Americans are still souring on the iconic brand.

While the retailer’s sales have improved thanks to less-cluttered aisles and a push into e-commerce, its image is lagging. After a recent peak in 2016, when the company said it would invest billions in stores and online to win back customers, public perception has declined for two straight years, according to the Reputation Institute, a research and advisory firm.