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Private sector leads disaster prep

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SCOTT JAGOW: We're not even two weeks into the hurricane season and already Florida's Gulf Coast is bracing for at least a tropical storm. Twenty thousand people are being told to get out of the way of Alberto. Last year, Wal-Mart was praised for responding to the hurricanes faster than the government. And the retailer is at it again. Dan Grech reports from WLRN in Miami.


DAN GRECH: Wal-Mart's business model is tailor-made for hurricanes. It has the country's largest trucking fleet and its best warehousing system. That's helped it perfect just-in-time delivery.

Those core skills were on display last year after Hurricane Katrina. So expectations are high this go round. Retail consultant Howard Davidowitz.

HOWARD DAVIDOWITZ: When things have to be delivered, nobody does it better.

This season the government is trying to learn from private sector efficiency. Large retailers have posts at the state's emergency operations center.

DAVIDOWITZ: Wal-Mart is a can-do institution. The federal government is opposite can-do. The federal government is cover your behind, do nothing and go to a meeting.

Hurricane preparedness is also good business for retailers. Shopping tends to spike after big storms.

From Miami, I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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