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Bad News for Wal-Mart's Future?

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New report shows that even Wal-Mart's own employees are pessimistic about the company's future.

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This article was written by Claire Gordon and originally appeared on AOL Jobs.

Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) tried to put a positive spin on its disappointing earnings report Thursday, which showed declining US sales. But a survey released Friday contains another bad sign for America's wealthiest company and largest employer: Just 38% of employees think Wal-Mart's business outlook is good.

The report from Glassdoor.com, the employment review website, looked at people's expectations for their employers for the coming six months. Wal-Mart didn't perform significantly below average, but it got a lower score than other major US brands. Forty-three percent of Target (NYSE:TGT) workers gave their employer a positive outlook, and a solid majority of Home Depot (NYSE:HD) and Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM) workers (61% and 62%, respectively) said their companies were on the upswing.

Tech Companies at the Top and the Bottom

The top five performers were all software or Internet companies: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), SAP (NYSE:SAP), and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). But most of the worst performers were also in the tech space. Just 35% of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) employees gave their company a positive outlook, as did 32% of workers at Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), 31% at Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), and 22% at Dell (NASDAQ:DELL).

Why Wal-Mart Workers Are So Pessimistic

On Glassdoor.com, Wal-Mart employees repeat the same complaints: poor communication from upper management, low pay, no merit-based raises, and favoritism that pummels morale. Many lower-level workers strike the same note as this sales associate from Dillon, SC: "Not a job to make a career out of." They also frequently cite staff shortages, an issue that Bloomberg News reported on earlier this year. Customers wrote in complaining about poorly stocked shelves and missing inventory. Some said that they were driving farther to avoid their local Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart, the Brand Under Siege

In the past year, Wal-Mart's image has been tarnished by worker protests, bribery allegations and speculation over the conditions at its foreign-suppliers' factories. According to brand-consulting firm BAV Consulting, Wal-Mart's brand perception among college-educated adults plummeted 50% between 2011 and 2012, reported the Wall Street Journal. To address some of these kinks in its image, Wal-Mart launched a new multimillion-dollar advertising campaign last month titled "The Real Wal-Mart," emphasizing its commitment to veterans, job creation and charitable work. Labor organizers didn't skip a beat, publishing their own website soon after with a less favorable portrayal of the mega-chain. It's title: "... Really Wal-Mart?"

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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