It’s all good

Kevin Loscotoff

Photo Illustration by Carey Wilson

The News & Review published a story Nov. 17 called “Up against the Wal-Mart,” about the local screening of the film Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. The next day we were contacted via e-mail by Kevin Loscotoff, regional manager of public affairs for Wal-Mart in San Francisco. Loscotoff made the argument that the documentary, which is highly critical of the big-box retailer, is full of misinformation and twisted statistics. He said he wanted to engage in an open discussion on the matter so we e-mailed him some questions.

What is the best thing Wal-Mart brings to a community?

Wal-Mart saves working families more than $2,300 a year—stretching their paychecks further. While this may not seem like a lot of money to some people, this is a tremendous amount of money for hard-working families, senior citizens and others on fixed incomes. Wal-Mart believes in giving back to the communities they serve. For example, our local Chico store raised and contributed over $100,000 to local organizations over the last two years including contributions to causes for local law enforcement, fire, health, literacy and environmental programs, and other early childhood education and domestic violence prevention programs.

Did you start at Wal-Mart as a stock clerk or cashier and work your way up?

While I did not begin my career with Wal-Mart [Loscotoffis a 2001 U.C. Davis grad and water polo star], over 76 percent of store management nationally began their careers as hourly associates, and even more notable is the fact that all of our Chico store’s management began in hourly positions.

Can a city/town have too many Wal-Marts?

Our existing store in Chico has served customers in Chico and its surrounding communities for more than 10 years. Due to its popularity, our store has exceeded its volume by more than double its original intended use. This is why Wal-Mart is looking to build two Supercenters in Chico by expanding our existing store and building another on the north end of town. We are confident that Butte County’s population of more than 200,000 people can support two Wal-Mart Supercenters, and other competing retail and grocery stores.

Was your response to our story part of the new stepped-up publicity campaign recently launched by Wal-Mart?

We have a responsibility to our customers and associates who live and work in the Chico area to respond to misstatements or misconceptions related to Wal-Mart’s business practices.

What do you say to people who claim old Sam Walton wouldn’t have liked the things Wal-Mart is doing today?

If you are referring to comments made by competitors and some union critics, I would say that among many honors this company has received Wal-Mart was named to the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list for 2005, ranked among the top 100 companies providing the most opportunities for Hispanics in 2004 and 2005 by the Hispanic Magazine, and listed No. 1 on the Fortune Magazine’s “Most Admired Company in America” listing in both 2003 and 2004. As an employer we were not surprised that over 11,000 people applied for 400 positions at a recently opened Store in Oakland, Calif. and are proud that communities recognize the quality jobs that we offer.

Can you e-mail us a photo of yourself? (JPEG)