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Thumbnail image for walmart-1.jpgIt can be hard to get a handle on Wal-Mart with its 2.1 million workers, 37.2 square miles worth of retail space and $447 billion in revenues.

As the retailer has settled into utter domination and fended off accusations that it unfairly overwhelms main street stores and doesn't treat workers properly, it's been tricky for the company to talk about itself. Wal-Mart has a story to sell to Wall Street, but also has to keep peace with employees and customers.

One small but telling piece of this effort is the cover of its annual report, the evolution of which illustrates the company's move from regional upstart bragging about its growth to global behemoth trying to connect with everybody and only partially succeeding.

Fashion's best brand managers are, at their core and in the nicest possible way, control freaks.
In deal parlance, the very public letter Coty chairman Bart Becht sent to Avon chief Andrea Jung earlier this week is called a "bear hug." That's because taking a $10 billion takeover offer directly to shareholders is a particularly uncomfortable way for Coty to express its affection.

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