Wal-Mart Era Wanes Amid Big Shifts in Retail - WSJ.com
Even includes a video of WalMart's bacteria-like spread through the US market.
Interesting is the growth of internet retailing, and how that dwarfs WalMart's formerly impressive scale. Maybe you can find thousands of things at WalMart, but you can literally buy ANYTHING on the internet:
[T]he Internet is transforming the retail definition of scale. The once-stunning compilation of 142,000 items found in a Wal-Mart supercenter doesn't seem so vast alongside the millions of products available on the Internet. At the same time, the cost of creating and sustaining a national brand is rising because of media fragmentation. Niche brands, created by Internet word of mouth, are winning shelf space and sapping profits required to fund big brands' advertising. Manufacturers such as Apple Inc. and Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., lacking the retail distribution or presentation they crave, are opening their own stores. One result is that retail giants hold less sway over their customers -- and over their suppliers.
WalMart's beginning to remind me of an old battleship, struggling in a new world of jet fighters.
What does this mean to retailers? For one, thing, the smart ones are focusing on experience, service, atmosphere - Target does this well. These are things the Internet is bad at - and so is WalMart.