SINCE TAKING OVER as chief executive of Wal-Mart Stores' U.S. divisions a year ago, Bill Simon has made it clear where he stands in the debate between selling national brands or private brands. “We prefer to sell national brands,” Simon said last fall at an investor conference. “They show our value better. When the price of Oreos in my store is less than the price of Oreos in a competitor's store, there's no doubt who the price leader is and where the basket ...

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