A change of direction | Arkansas Blog

A change of direction

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Wall Street Journal:

For years, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. asked Wall Street to come to its headquarters town of Bentonville, Ark., for its annual presentation to analysts and investors. Next week, Wal-Mart will go to Wall Street -- or close to it.

The giant retailer will host its annual analyst meeting on Monday and Tuesday in parts of northern New Jersey and Manhattan, featuring some of the bells and whistles usually associated with its raucous shareholders meeting in Fayetteville, Ark. The event marks the first time Wal-Mart has hosted its annual confab for analysts outside its home state, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams said.

The venue change likely will result in wider attendance of the meeting than in years past. And Wal-Mart could use it: The retailer's stock has declined 10.3% since early 2004 despite a 24% increase in its net income from its 2004 to 2006 fiscal years. Ms. Williams declined to disclose the expected attendance at the meeting. She said hosting the meeting in and around New York "gives us additional program and store-tour options" than would keeping it in Arkansas.

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