With consumer spending plummeting, all major American retailers are cutting staff, discounting merchandise and closing stores to survive. Except Wal Mart, which, ironically enough, appears to be benefitting even more from the bleak economic environment. NYT hits the nail on the head, "As Americans cope with the worst economy in a generation, heading to Wal-Mart is an automatic reflex for many of them."
Even as retailers are experiencing double digit declines in sales, the Bentonville giant, with its "lowest prices in the market place" policy, has reported sales gorwth even higher than of last year.
McDonald's also reported increase in sales by 8.2% in October, 2008. This is another indicator that consumers prefer flock to value when the bad times arrive.