Wal-Mart CEO Stresses Policies on Fair Treatment of Workers

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Lee Scott, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., used the company's annual meeting Friday to address accusations that it treats employees unfairly, saying managers who don't follow company policy need to find work elsewhere, according to an Associated Press report.

Scott said for the world's largest retailer to keep growing, it must be an attractive place for people to work. He encouraged all 1.4 million Wal-Mart employees to use the company's open-door policy.

Wal-Mart faces lawsuits alleging employees were forced to work unpaid overtime and that women do not have the same chances for promotion as men.

Scott said the company insists on fairness, equal access to pay and promotion and has to make sure all workers are paid for the hours they work.

He said the company will "make sure any manager who doesn't understand the prior points no longer has a career at Wal-Mart Stores Inc."

At the meeting, Wal-Mart reported that for the year ended Jan. 31, it earned $8.04 billion, or $1.81 per share, up from $6.67 billion, or $1.49 a share, a year earlier.

Sales for the year were up 12.3 percent to $244.52 billion from $217.80 billion a year earlier.

Tom Schoewe, chief financial officer, said Wal-Mart can continue growing by increasing sales in existing stores, expanding those locations, building new stores, and buying other businesses.

This year, the company is adding 48 million square feet of retail space as part of an $11 billion investment in growth, according to the report.

In other Wal-Mart news, the company has said this week it will begin using special covers for four women's magazines: Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Redbook, and Marie Claire. The decision comes one month after Wal-Mart announced it would discontinue selling three sexually charged men's magazines.

A company spokesman says the hope is that the planned approach will strike a "reasonable balance" between customers who purchase those magazines and those who are "not comfortable with seeing these covers at the checkout lanes."
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