Wal-Mart avoids costly clashes over new developments by using building proposals as test balloons, according to Columbia professor Paul Ingram. The company then quietly shelves or rethinks the majority of proposed stores that draw early protests, helping to avoid protracted fights and reduce the retailer's exposure to damaging publicity. "Negotiating is part of management," Ingram says. "Here is a strategy that accepts concessions as way to manage costs."
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