Expand fast enough and it’s an explosion

Or, at least, it is enough to cause an implosion.

Via The Huffington Post | Full News Feed, “Wal-Mart Adding 1,500 US Stores…“:

“Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to open more than 1,500 stores in the United States in the coming years, on top of nearly 3,200 it already operates, the world’s largest retailer said Tuesday.”

When I see numbers like that I can’t help but think about all the chains and franchises that have disappeared because they expanded too fast in order to appear to be making money, but fell under the pressure of costs. Natural Wonders was an example of this, where they had to open new stores in order for the overall appearance of profitability and growth, but with so many stores and recurring costs … there’s a point at which the house of cards collapses.

To this day, I still miss Flaky Jakes restaurants. I loved that place, but it’s gone too because it expanded into death.

So, how many Wal-marts is too many? For small businesses in communities that would be: one is too many. However, is 4,700 too many for Wal-mart itself to manage and maintain?

For every Wal-mart added, there’s a reduction in community sustainability through loss of diversity in employment, need for community health support for workers, and the loss of infrastructure for community goods to be traded, to mention a few things.

I see in this explosive expansion a danger sign for their sustainability even ignoring all the other issues about Wal-mart.