After suffering seven straight quarters of losses, today the merchandise giant Wal-Mart will announce that it is â€œgoing back to basics,â€ ending its era of high-end organic foods, going â€œgreen,â€ and the remainder of its appeal to the upscale market. Next month the company will launch an â€œItâ€™s Backâ€ campaign to woo the millions of customers who have fled the store. They will be bringing back â€œheritageâ€ products, like inexpensive jeans and sweatpants. Few may recognize it as such, but this episode should be seen as a cautionary tale about â€œprogressivesâ€ and social engineering experiments on low-income Americans. A Wall Street Journal article is blunt:
That strategy failed, and the Bentonville, Ark., retail giant now is pursuing a back-to-basics strategy to reverse the companyâ€™s fortunes.
The failure, in large part, can be pinned to Leslie Dach: a well-known progressive and former senior aide to Vice President Al Gore. In July 2006, Dach was installed as the public relations chief for Wal-Mart. He drafted a number of other progressives into the company, seeking to change the companyâ€™s way of doing business: its culture, its politics, and most importantly its products.