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• The Chicago Tribune reports that Wal-Mart will begin offering reusable cloth shopping bags this weekend, selling them for $1 apiece and saying that this is just the latest reflection of the company’s long-term commitment to the environment and sustainability.

• Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott said this week that despite some calls for economic protectionism – especially those being sounded during the presidential primary debates – his company would continue to source products from places like China because they offer the lowest prices, and that is the model on which the company is built.

“If we put products out there and we have to sell them for more because our competitors are sourcing more efficiently and more effectively for the same quality of product, our model doesn't work. We cannot be at a price disadvantage," Scott said at an Arkansas retailing conference. “Lest anybody forget, 20 percent of Wal-Mart's customers don't have a checking account and they do not have the economic luxury of making a broader social statement.”

• There are reports that Wal-Mart may be considering a move into Malaysia, where it would compete with global retailing names such as Tesco and Carrefour. Germany’s Metro also reportedly is considering opening a Malaysian outpost.
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