Question 1) Determine the Core Competences of Wal-Mart. Substantiate your answer. In order to determine the core competences of Wal-Mart, I will first need to conduct an internal analysis of Wal-Mart before we could identify the core competences of the company. The internal analysis consist of a few components, first we will have to identify the resources available to the company, followed by the capabilities of the company. After which I will put the capabilities through a numbers of models to determine if they “fit the bill” to be considered as a core competency of Wal-Mart.
I will start by first identifying the resources. The resource available to any companies compromises of two component, the first being Tangible resources, which can be seen and quantified, and, Intangible resources, which includes assets that are rooted deeply in the firm’s history and have accumulated over time. Tangible resources available to Wal-Mart are: • Financial Resources – Wal-Mart is financially successful by a number of measures, experiencing varying rates of growth in international markets.
This consistence growth, matched with an economic of scales enables Wal-Mart to have superb credit ratings with the financial and lending institutions, allowing them access to large amount of borrowed funds should the need arises. • Organizational Resources -Wal-Mart has a concrete organisational structure in place, the top 25 senior officers of the company meet via weekly videoconferences “to review the company’s ongoing performance, focus on initiative to drive sales and customers service, and address broader issues”.
This then trickles down to the regional groups, which are then divided into the respective departmental managers who handle a team of staff. • Physical Resources – Wal-Mart buildings can generally be found in the neighbourhood areas, where space is abundance. Its products for sale are shipped, and delivered to them by the suppliers through Wal-Mart’s dedicated logistics system, which are easily available within their locations. • Technological Resources – Wal-Mart was one of the pioneers who helped to push the retailing market to adopt UPC codes and bar-code scanning equipment.
Wal-Mart’s focus on cost reduction has also led to their involvement towards a standards procedure to use RFID-based Electronic Product Codes so as to lower the costs of supply chain management. Apart from its own dedicated logistics system, it also their own private satellite networks for point-of-sales transmission in all their stores. Intangible resources available to Wal-Mart are: • Human Resources – Although Wal-Mart has been known to implement stringent standards of equal employment opportunity practice; the company facing high employee turnover, gender discrimination problem and Union problem, clouded this fact.
Lawsuits were filed against Wal-Mart for unfair labour practices. • Innovation Resources – Wal-Mart is always keen on innovation and creativity. Wal-Mart analyses market potential based on the general environment factors such as economic and political risk, growth, potential and availability of real estate for development. Due to their substantial analysis, they are better equipped to handle every investment and innovation that comes up along the way. Reputational Resources – Sam Walton had a philosophy of “people first”, I believe this sums up the Wal-Mart Mission and Vision, which reflects highly on its reputation not only towards its customers but also its employees and business partners. After identifying the resources of Wal-Mart, I will move on to the capabilities of the company. The capabilities I’ve identified are: • Logistics & Network – Wal-Mart’s sophisticated logistics system, provides Wal-Mart with a exceptional cost advantage by improving its ability to reduce it’s shipping and handling costs.
Wal-Mart had always invested heavily in infrastructure, however the most valuable infrastructure investments is a satellite system that connects all their outlets that was installed in 1983. This subsequently grew into a complex communication network that included all stores, headquarters, and distribution centres, as well suppliers. This high level degree of connectivity enables swift responses to inventory needs, and reduces the amount of inventory required. • Customer Experience – a broad area of expertise is the customer xperience, which includes the degree of customer intimacy, community building, and one-to-one marketing. Wal-Mart has successfully created a “community feel” within its bricks-and-mortar stores, and by virtue of their one-stop centre concept and comprehensive information management systems, it has enable them to garner valuable knowledge of consumer purchasing habits and customise their product to cater to the consumer’s needs. • Employee education & retention – Wal-Mart refers to its employees as “associates,” and encourages managers to think of themselves as “servant leaders. which is in line with the “people first” philosophy promoted by Sam Walton. Wal-Mart also empower employees through free trainings and promotions are usually done from within, moving lower level staff to higher level, which in turns provides them with a long term view within the company as there is a clear career path ahead. • Economic of scales – Due to its large size, the order of huge quantities from its suppliers, combine that with a highly efficient and effective stock control system help make Wal-Mart’s operating costs lower compared that of its competitors.
Wal-Mart’s massive purchasing power allow it the ability to actually force manufacturers to change their production to suit Wal-Mart’s requirements. An aspect of having such an economy of scale is the aggregation effect, commonly seen as with other business such as The Home Depot and Wells Fargo, whereby Wal-Mart stock as many different products as possible. This allows the company to grow its revenue over the fixed cost base. • Cost Efficiency – Wal-Mart has a stringent stand towards controllable expenses.
One example of how stringent is that associates working on a hourly basis can be reprimanded or even to the extent of being terminated for taking unauthorized overtime. Wal-Mart also filters out any inefficiency in the business; one example would be reducing paper used through computerization. I have identified the five capabilities above, before I can deduce that they are able to be classified under the core competences of the company, I will need to put them through a couple of test.
First would be the “Four Criteria of Sustainable Advantages” model, followed by the “Value Chain Analysis”. The first model consist of four components, they are: • Valuable capabilities – which help a firm neutralize threats or exploit opportunities • Rare capabilities – which are not possessed that few, if any, competitors possess • Costly-to-Imitate capabilities – that other firms cannot easily develop • Nonsubstitutable capabilities – that do not have strategic equivalent
By putting the capabilities stated above through the four criteria, I have come out with the findings as shown in Exhibit 1. 0 and 1. 1 below. | |Is the capabilities |Is the capabilities |Is the capabilities |Is the capabilities | | |Valuable? |Rare? |Costly to Imitate? |Nonsubstitutable? |Logistics & Network |Yes |Yes |Yes |Yes | |Customer Experience |Yes |Yes |No |No | |Employee Edu & Rtn |Yes |No |No |No | |Economic of scales |Yes |Yes |Yes |Yes | |Cost Efficiency |Yes |No |No |No | Exhibit 1. 0 |Competitive |Performance | | |Consequences |Implications | |Logistics & Network |Sustainable Competitive Advantage |Above-average returns | |Customer Experience |Temporary Competitive advantage |Average to | | | |above-average returns | |Employee Edu & Rtn |Competitive parity |Average returns | |Economic of scales |Sustainable Competitive Advantage |Above-average returns | |Cost Efficiency |Competitive parity |Average returns | Exhibit 1. 1
As we can observe from the findings above, the capabilities that adds the most “value” to Wal-Mart would be its Logistics & Network and Economic of scales, both of which provides the company sustainable competitive advantage and enable the company to achieve above-average returns. It is also important to note that the Customer Experience plays a part in providing temporary competitive advantage, enabling the company to earn average to above-average returns. I will precede with using the “Value Chain Analysis” to analysis the parts of Wal-Mart operations that create value and those that do not. The value chain analysis separates the activities of a company into two portions, first being Primary Activities that are involved with a product’s physical creation, its sales, distribution to buyer and its after sales service.
Second being Support activities that provide the assistance necessary for the primary activities to take place. Exhibit 1. 2 below shows the detailed components of both Primary and Support Activities. [pic] Exhibit 1. 2 As we can see from the components under primary activities, Wal-Mart has valuable contribution from Service, Outbound and Inbound Logistic, and Operations as mentioned earlier. The only component that lacks some presence is in its Marketing & Sales department, the lack of on going advertising and alternative channels of purchase like online web portal might need to be considered in order for Wal-Mart to add more value to its already robust primary activities for the company.
In the support activities column, Wal-Mart always thrive on choosing excellent location for their outlet, big and spacious locations enables them to house a wide range of products. Their HR Management in terms of employee training is also one of the best in the industry. They have also been known to be highly innovative in terms of technology as their Research & Development department plays an important in Wal-Mart’s operations. Their procurement are well taken care of by their own sophisticated logistic system and satellite network system linking all their store into the same portal. One important portion of the Value Chain is to identify business operations that are not adding value, or causing the company to incur loses, and to implement solutions to overcome them.
In this case, Wal-Mart has chosen to outsource their productions to well known manufactures. By doing so, Wal-Mart has managed to lower the cost of production thanks to their bargaining power due to their economic of scales. Therefore, by outsourcing the production, Wal-Mart has managed to do away with a high capital business operation and in turn add more value to the company, hence enabling them to achieve better profits. In conclusion, based on the findings I’ve achieved by using the “Four Criteria of Sustainable Advantages” model and “Value Chain Analysis”, I have found that three capabilities of Wal-Mart qualify to be considered as core competences of the company.
All three of these capabilities are considered to be both valuable and rare capabilities. So to answer question 1, the core competences of Wal-Mart are, Customer Experience, Logistics & Network and Economic of scales Question 2) Identify and substantiate major factors from Wal-Mart’s external environmental impacting its strategy and significant stakeholder’s expectations. In this portion of the report, I will proceed with the external factor analysis of Wal-Mart. The external factor analysis consist for three portions, first we will take a look at the General Environment factors that are of concern to Wal-Mart to have an overview of the climate surrounding the company.
Secondly I will use the Porter’s five forces analysis to better understand the industry factors that are of concern to the company, and finally I will zoom into the respective companies in the industry using the Competitors Analysis to size up how well or bad do Wal-Mart stand against its rivals. I will start with the General Environment factors that are of concern to Wal-Mart; they are namely Political/Legal, Economic, Sociocultural and Technological. • Political/Legal – As a multinational company or MNC, Wal-Mart will find it tough to handle regulations like antitrust regulations or also known as competition law. Wal-Mart has been alleged on several occasions to adopt accepting short-term drop in revenue through short-term under cutting of pricing in an effort to drive competitors out of business, at the same time to increase market power.
Wal-Mart also has translated its economic power into political favouritism and garnered millions of dollars in direct public subsidies and indirect subsidies through such means as confiscation of private property via eminent domain takeovers. In another angle, if the political situation is unstable then the environment is unfavourable for the business. Similarly higher Government debt, Budget deficit or surplus is also unfavourable. The other factors that are of concern to Wal-Mart are: o Tax Laws and other economic laws o Foreign trade regulations o Import tariffs and quotas o Restrictions on international financial flows o Environmental protection laws o Copyright and patent laws All these have a direct or indirect impact on Wal-Mart.
The more the transparency the better it is for the business. It is important to be aware of foreign trade regulations, attitude towards foreign companies, as Wal-Mart is a multinational company, running foul of the local regulations will cause a huge reputational impact on Wal-Mart as a whole. • Economic – Being a MNC operating in multiple countries, Wal-Mart has to monitor the economic trends like GDP trends, Interest rates, Money supply, Inflation rates, Unemployment levels, Disposable income. The current situation in USA is that there is recession, however in other parts of world, there is growth especially in Asian countries like China and India.
The most valuable lesson taken out from this current economic crisis is that each individual economy is becoming interconnected into a global economy, forming a venerable or valuable network depending on the opportunity or threat that they face. An opportunity facing the industry is that the Asian market is virtually untapped by the retail world, by having an untapped market it gives a huge opportunity for companies to expand. It promises unlimited potential for growth and profits. • Sociocultural – The Sociocultural segment is concerned with a society’s attitudes and cultural values, it is of very much importance to especially to a retail giant like Wal-Mart. Factors like lifestyle changes, age distribution of population, life expectancies, ethic identities, regional difference and so on.
An opportunity facing the industry is that customers want ease of shopping, being savvy, most customer would like to be able find what they want when they want it. This is supported by convenient presentation and the right level of service every time the customer shops. Another trend of concern is of rising ecological concern and thereby using more green products and keeping environment green. • Technological – This segment includes the institutions and activities involved with creating new knowledge and translating that knowledge into new outputs, products, processes and materials. The impact of Internet, essentially virtual online stores, the use of Internet effectively to increase the reach and to reduce the cost.
Portable Information Devices, Electronic networking, smart mobile robots, and increase in the speed of microprocessors will have tremendous impact on business. An opportunity facing the industry is that Internet shopping is growing exponentially. To take advantage of Internet shopping, the industry has to focus around the customer. The above sums up the general environment factors that are of concern to Wal-Mart, today’s business environment is extremely competitive; Hence organizations strive to create a competitive advantage to thrive in the competitive scenario. Michael Porter, considered to be one of the foremost gurus’ of management, developed the famous five-force model, which influences an industry.
The industry environment presents “the threat of new entrants, the bargaining power of customers, the bargaining power of suppliers, the threat of substitute products or services and the jockeying among current contestants. The Porter five analysis model consist of the following: • Rivalry among competing firms – Supermarket or Retailer’s industry is one of the most competitive industries. The big players are expanding rapidly and also there are regional players, which is putting pressure on margins. This component of the Porter five analysis shows that the industry that Wal-Mart is extremely competitive and that in order for Wal-Mart to achieve above-average results, it has to stay on top on the competitors at all times. • Bargaining power of buyers – When we look at the buyer’s power, we look at the influence they have on the prices of the product.
Many companies are offering at lower price due to efficiency in supply chain management and economies of scale, Wal-Mart is known for its low price offers. • Bargaining power of suppliers – From Wal-Mart’s point of view, the bargaining power of suppliers are low, this is due to the fact that Wal-Mart being a large company, has the bargaining power towards its suppliers as the orders made are usually in very large proportions. This fact matched with the good relationships maintained between Wal-Mart and its suppliers make it possible for the company to manufacture at a lower cost as compared to its rivals. • Threat of New entrants – There will be lesser threats, as there is high entry barrier due to Brand Loyalty, efficient supply chain management, and huge capital investment.
There are also regulations regarding import and export, price regulations, taxation, subsidies and other legal matter, which can create entry barrier for the retailers. E. g. In India there is a legal hurdle for entry of foreign retailers. • Threat of substitute products – As Wal-Mart’s main products are pretty wide ranged, the threat of substitute products is fairly high as consumers can switch to alternative products offered by competitor. Due to the lack in specialisation on the part of Wal-Mart, it makes it extremely venerable for new up coming specialised retailers to take away a certain portion of Wal-Mart’s consumer. I will now move on to the Competitor Analysis.
Wal-Mart’s main competitors in the discount retailing industry within the nation are namely the Target Corporation, Costco, Tesco and Carrefour along with many smaller regional chains such as Meijer in the Midwest. Wal-Mart’s change in direction towards daily grocery has cause the company to pit themselves against major grocery chains such as Kroger, Publix, and local grocery chains. In regards to Sam’s Club warehouse business, Wal-Mart’s chief competitor is Costco, which is slightly larger than Sam’s in terms of sales, as well as the smaller BJ’s Wholesale Club chain operating mainly on the East Coast. Tesco plc is a United Kingdom-based international supermarket chain.
It is the largest British retailer, both by global sales and by domestic market share, and the fourth largest retailer in the world behind Wal-Mart of the United States, Carrefour of France, and The Home Depot of the United States. [pic] Exhibit 2. 0 As we can see from Exhibit 2. 0 above, the revenues in terms of $ is the highest as compared to the rest of the industry. Standing at USD$351 billion, it is almost USD$292 billion more then that second higher earner of fiscal year 2007, which is Target. This incredible earnings is due to the economic of scale as compared to the rest in the industry as Wal-Mart has the capacity to afford a greater share of the consumers. These earnings however should not be taken at face value that Wal-Mart is superior as compared to the rest of its competitors just by looking at the amount of revenue earned.
To have a better understanding of the Wal-Mart’s performance as compared to its rivals, I will compare 3 keys financial benchmark against the other competitors; they are namely Quarterly Growth, Profitability and Management Effectiveness. Exhibit 2. 1 below shows the figures of Wal-Mart and its competitors as of may 26, 2007. [pic] Exhibit 2. 1 As you can see above that Amazon. com has achieved an incredible revenue growth in terms of percentage at 32. 30%, while Wal-Mart has only achieve a 9. 60% revenue growth. Amazon also achieved a 117. 60% in terms of earnings growth as compared to 8. 10% of Wal-Mart. What these figures tell us is that Amazon. com has managed to capture a highly untapped market of Wal-Mart, which is the Internet retail industry. Amazon. com is one of the pioneers in this Internet shopping portal and has a huge presence within it.
Next we will take a look at the profitability of Wal-Mart. Net profit margin is mostly used for internal comparison. It is difficult to accurately compare the net profit ratio for different entities. Individual businesses’ operating and financing arrangements vary so much that different entities are bound to have different levels of expenditure, so that comparison of one with another can have little meaning. A low profit margin indicates a low margin of safety: higher risk that a decline in sales will erase profits and result in a net loss. We can observe that the Net profit margin of Wal-Mart is at 3. 23%, which is considered a relatively average figure as compared to the rest of the industry.
The operating margin is a measurement of what proportion of a company’s revenue is left over, before taxes, other indirect costs and paying for variable costs of production. A good operating margin is needed for a company to be able to pay for its fixed costs, such as interest on debt. Wal-Mart has a operating margin of 5. 87% which is considered to be average or slightly above average as compared to the industry. Finally we will move on the gauge the management effectiveness of Wal-Mart. First we will look at the return on assets (ROA) of Wal-Mart. ROA tells you what earnings were generated from invested capital. ROA for public companies can vary substantially and will be highly dependent on the industry.
This is why when using ROA as a comparative measure; it is best to compare it against a company’s previous ROA numbers or the ROA of a similar company. As we can see from the chart above that Wal-Mart’s ROA is 8. 81%, if we were to compare it against Amazon’s ROA of 10. 37%, we can observe that Amazon has done a better job in terms of make the most out of their invested capital. This prompts Wal-Mart to look into its own operations to find ways to allow the company to be more effective and efficient in terms of capital usage. The next we will be looking at return on equity (ROE), It measures a firm’s efficiency at generating profits from every unit of shareholders’ equity, as well as shows how well a company uses investment funds to generate earnings growth.
However not all high-ROE companies make good investments, some industries have high ROE because they require no assets, such as Amazon. com (73. 8% ROE) that is essentially a web based shopping portal. Other industries require large infrastructure builds before they generate a penny of profit; one good example would be Wal-Mart (21. 80% ROE), which requires ample space for their large outlets. You cannot conclude that Amazon. com is better investments than Wal-Mart just because of their ROE. Generally, capital-intensive businesses have high barriers to entry, which limit competition, which serve as an advantage to Wal-Mart. However high-ROE firms with small asset bases like Amazon. com have lower barriers to entry this in turns causes firms like Amazon. om to face more business risk because competitors can replicate their success without having to first obtain an large investment capital. In conclusion, based on the findings we’ve done using the General Environment Factors, Porter five forces model and Competitor Analysis, I can deduce that going forward we foresee an increase in competition within the retailing industry but the degree of competition will be different from what we are seeing now. It will be largely based on large players with economies of scale; this is due to the fact that the retailing industry will move towards consolidation in future. The larger players in the industry will survive with their high bargaining power with their supplier and strong franchisee.
Going forward, the barriers to entry will increase; companies with huge capacity will be able to influence heavily on the smaller companies with their aggressive pricing which will create a hindrance for the smaller players. This gives us a fair idea about the industry in which a company operates and the various external forces that influence it. However, it must be noted that any industry is not static in nature. It’s dynamic and over a period of time the model, which have used to analyse the industry may itself evolve. Question 3) Giver the strategic inputs identified in q1 and q2, evaluate the strategic fit between Wal-Mart’s internal and external environments.
Strategic fit is defined as the extent to which the activities of a single organization or of organizations working in partnership complement each other in such a way as to contribute to competitive advantage. Based on my findings in question 1 using the internal environment analysis, I have found that there are three key points that adds value to Wal-Mart’s competitive advantage. They are namely Customer Experience, Logistics & Network and Economic of scales. These competences are in a way benefits from a good strategic fit with the external environments, I will proceed to explain why I made this statement. In question 2, using the Porter five forces analysis, one of the forces or risk faced by Wal-Mart would be the high level of rivalry among competitors.
Due to the over whelming numbers of competitors within the same industry, Wal-Mart is able to stand out due to its excellent customer experience that it can offer. Greeters welcome consumers once they have entered a Wal-Mart outlet, and friendly staff is ready to help with any of their enquiries. This unique capability of Wal-Mart can be used to the most advantage as consumer, even though they have a choice of going to another store to purchase the same item, will most likely choose Wal-Mart due to the excellent service that they receive when they shop at Wal-Mart. This matched with Wal-Mart’s economic of scales; enable them to afford the large investment needed to build large store outlets that can store a wide range of products.
The one stop centre concept of Wal-Mart sets them apart from the smaller competitors as consumers do not have to go to different specialised stores to get satisfy their needs, they can just do it all at Wal-Mart. One of the company’s key innovations is its dedicated satellite network system that links the entire outlet into one network. This increases efficiency and effective of Wal-Mart as a whole in today’s increasing competitive environment. In the general environment factor analysis, I have identified that Wal-Mart lacks presence under Technological segment even though they are known to be innovative in terms of their own research & development.
This shows that even though Wal-Mart has made a significant investment to increase its own efficiency, they can make use of their expertise in terms of satellite network to work on their Internet presence. This will greatly increase their exposure, not only within the nation but as well as internationally. Therefore to conclude, I have found that the strategic fit for Wal-Mart is fairly good except that they should shift their focus of innovation towards using the Internet as a channel to further promote their products. Question 4) By employing the company’s core competencies, recommend one (1) course of action to mitigate the major external risks and another course of action to stimulate and sustain growth.
The company’s core competencies we found in question 1 are namely Customer Experience, Logistics & Network and Economic of scales. Some of the major external risks identified earlier were: Increase in government regulations, Strong regional competition, Technological changes and emergence of virtual stores such as Amazon. com, Foreign trade hindrances and Cultural differences especially in foreign country. Based on these findings, I will recommend one course of action that no not mitigate major external risk but also helps to stimulate and sustain growth. This course of action would be for Wal-Mart to concentrate on working on its online model. Wal-Mart already has an existing online portal named Walmart. com, however it has not been successful since its creation.
While the Internet may be used to achieve objectives, Wal-Mart has overlooked several key issues, the value of the Internet as it relates to Wal-Mart’s traditional business, and the ability of the Internet to leverage on Wal-Mart’s core strengths. Wal-Mart’s core business has always been bringing lower pricing retailer shopping advantages nationwide. However at the conception of the online portal, one of the main concerns was how to make the transition of its consumer base towards Internet shopping as smooth as possible. There was also the concern that many of its customers may not use the Internet while those who are Internet savvy may not be Wal-Mart customers.
One of the main concerns for online shoppers is the ease of use and speed at which they are able to locate the products that they need. Although Wal-Mart carry a wide range of products, Walmart. com failed due to the fact that it was poorly designed and difficult to navigate. As such, Wal-Mart should learn from its past mistakes and make full use of its core competences to be able to enjoy the abilities of the Internet. As mentioned in question 3, Wal-Mart should leverage on their expertise in terms of technology to build a dynamic and well-designed web portal so as to attract the online shoppers of today. That matched with their dedicated logistics system will enable them to be able to process the orders efficiency and effectively.
Their economic of scales can also play a part in terms of achieving a higher market presence in terms of Internet marketing as they have the means to invest in promoting Walmart. com to a larger crowd. Having a strong Internet presence also means exposure to an international market, one good example is Amazon. com, which has consumer accessing to its online portal from all over the world. This in turns lower the political and legal restrictions faced by companies planning to venture overseas as the Internet portal reaches practically around the globe. Wal-Mart can stand to enjoy international sales just by operating in its home country, using its online presence to reach out to the rest of the world.
To conclude, putting more emphasis on its online retail portal will not only enable Wal-Mart to mitigate several of the major external forces but also opens up a whole new market for Wal-Mart which in turns stimulates and sustains growth. Resources • GloboTrends wiki for Global Business / Value Chain, Accessed on 15 Aug 09, Available from: http://globotrends. pbworks. com/Value-Chain • Wal Mart Case Analysis, Posting Code 118163, Feb 2007, Accessed on 8 Aug 2009, Available from: http://BrainMass. com • Philip Kotler, Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning, and Control, Prentice-Hall, 200 • AOL Personal Finance, Accessed on 9 Aug 09, Available from: http://financials. thomsonfn. com/financials/KeyRatios. aspx? partner=Mzg0UVU5TUxURT1QJFkEQUALSTO&template=1&ticker=WMT • Costco, Accessed on 9 Aug 09, Available from: http://www. costco. om • FORTUNE Global 500 2007: Wal-Mart Stores, Cnn. com, Accessed on 15 Aug 09, Available from: http://money. cnn. com/magazines/fortune/global500/2007/snapshots/2255. html • Wheelen, T. L. , Hunger J. D. , Strategic Management and Business Policy. Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, N. J • Return On Assets (ROA), Wikipedia, Accessed on 15 Aug 09, Available from: http://www. investopedia. com/terms/r/returnonassets. asp • Profit Margin, Wikipedia, Accessed on 15 Aug 09, Available from: http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Profit_margin • Operatiing Margin, Wikipedia, Accessed on 15 Aug 09, Available from: http://en. wikipedia. rg/wiki/Operating_margin • Return on Equity, Investopedia, Accessed on 15 Aug 09, Available from: http://www. investopedia. com/terms/r/returnonequity. asp • Return on Equity, Wikipedia, Accessed on 15 Aug 09, Available from: http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Return_on_equity • Strategic Fit: Definition, Bnet. com, Accessed on 15 Aug 09, Available from: http://dictionary. bnet. com/definition/strategic+fit. html • Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Accessed on 15 Aug 09, Available from: http://walmartstores. com/ • Ireland / Hoskisson / Hitt, The Management of Strategy Concept & Cases, South-Western, Div of Thomson Learning; 8th Edition