"The (bribery) story doesn't touch on our work with Wal-Mart," said Jon Coifman, spokesman at The Environmental Defense Fund, an environmental nonprofit that has been working with Wal-Mart on a number of initiatives like reducing excess packaging from suppliers. "Nothing has changed so far."
It's still unclear how Wal-Mart shoppers will react. Robert Passikoff is president of Brand Keys Inc., a New York customer research firm that measures the image of companies using an index that rates them based on location and value, range of merchandise, store reputation and shopping experience.
He says Wal-Mart consistently scores at about 90 on a scale of 1 to 100 on the index even during periods when its reputation is attacked. A rating of below 70 would mean it's in trouble, he says.
Historically, Passikoff says low-income Wal-Mart shoppers don't care where they shop as long as the prices are low. Still, he says well-heeled Americans who often value corporate reputation have shopped elsewhere when Wal-Mart has had image problems.
"That could happen again," he says.
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