Wal-Mart and Wisconsin Consumer Agency Reach Accord

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection have resolved an administrative issue relating to the state's Unfair Sales Act.

The department had filed a complaint against Wal-Mart after several of its retail competitors argued that the company had sold some items below cost in 1998 and 1999.

However, under the act, retail firms may price items below cost for a variety of reasons as long as there is no anti-competitive intent or effect.

"At all times, our pricing was fair, but aggressively pro-consumer," said Dave Jackson, Wal-Mart senior vice president and manager of the division that includes Wisconsin. "We believe in everyday low prices and fair competition."

Jackson said Wal-Mart had taken steps to improve its record-keeping and has agreed to a penalty process if the company is found in the future to have violated the act.

To reinforce its commitment to consumers and its belief in fair competition, Jackson said Wal-Mart would make a contribution of $15,000 to Wisconsin's Lifesmart Program, a consumer education program for high school students under the auspices of the National Consumer League.

The company operates 74 Wal-Mart stores and SAM'S CLUBS in Wisconsin, and employs nearly 21,000 associates in the state.
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