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# Last week, an investigative journalist published an expose in the news

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Last week, an investigative journalist published an expose in the news  [#permalink]

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02 Sep 2015, 13:54
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83% (01:37) correct 17% (01:36) wrong based on 221 sessions

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Last week, an investigative journalist published an expose in the newspaper, demonstrating that many of the shoes sold in a certain department store were made overseas in sweatshops that are alleged to use child labor. This week, the department store experienced a drop in shoe sales, after twelve weeks of robust sales of shoes. The management team of the department store maintains that the unfavorable article in the newspaper last week had nothing to do with their drop in shoe sales this week.

Which of the following, if true, most strongly supports the management team's position?

A) This department store regularly advertises in this particular newspaper, often offering coupons for a variety of products they sell.
B) Stores typically only acknowledge the adverse effect of news on their business if they experience a sudden decline in sales.
C) This was not the first time this journalist published an expose of some of the products sold in this department store.
D) According to customer surveys, the majority of customers who shop regularly at this department store have said that they always buy their shoes there.
E) Other department stores that sell only shoes manufactured in the United States have also reported a decline in shoe sales this week.

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Last week, an investigative journalist published an expose in the news  [#permalink]

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02 Sep 2015, 16:27
3
Harley1980 wrote:
Last week, an investigative journalist published an expose in the newspaper, demonstrating that many of the shoes sold in a certain department store were made overseas in sweatshops that are alleged to use child labor. This week, the department store experienced a drop in shoe sales, after twelve weeks of robust sales of shoes. The management team of the department store maintains that the unfavorable article in the newspaper last week had nothing to do with their drop in shoe sales this week.

Which of the following, if true, most strongly supports the management team's position?

A) This department store regularly advertises in this particular newspaper, often offering coupons for a variety of products they sell.
B) Stores typically only acknowledge the adverse effect of news on their business if they experience a sudden decline in sales.
C) This was not the first time this journalist published an expose of some of the products sold in this department store.
D) According to customer surveys, the majority of customers who shop regularly at this department store have said that they always buy their shoes there.
E) Other department stores that sell only shoes manufactured in the United States have also reported a decline in shoe sales this week.

Dear Harley1980,
I'm happy to respond. This is another question that I wrote.

We might call this a paradox question. There's a scandal, then a sales decline, and then paradoxically, the management team says that the scandal & article had nothing to do with the drop in sales. Hmmm.

Of course, one possibility would be that the management team is doing typically PR denying the facts, essentially lying for marketing purposes, as often happens, but we are asked to support the management team's position. In other words, the management team, in making that statement, knew what they were saying and were telling us the unvarnished truth. We have to figure out what statement would give credibility to the authenticity of the management team's statement.

A) This department store regularly advertises in this particular newspaper, often offering coupons for a variety of products they sell.
Hmm. Not clear how this would give credibility to the management team's statement. If the majority of customers of the store read that paper and see those ads, then these same folks would have seen the unfavorable article, which would seem to suggest a connection in the article and the decline in sales, which the management team appears to deny. This statement looks as if it would weaken the management team's position.

B) Stores typically only acknowledge the adverse effect of news on their business if they experience a sudden decline in sales.
This is more the PR lying explanation, discussed above. This might explain why the management team said what they said, but it most certain wouldn't justify what they said. This is not a strengthener.

C) This was not the first time this journalist published an expose of some of the products sold in this department store.
Also not a strengthener. If the journalist has a history of exposing scandals in this store, then it would seem that he is "building a case" against the store, which only makes the evidence against the score more damning.

D) According to customer surveys, the majority of customers who shop regularly at this department store have said that they always buy their shoes there.
Hmm. Having life-long customers is a very good thing in general for any business, but while this is positive in general, it doesn't explain the recent decline or what causes the recent decline. This doesn't help us.

E) Other department stores that sell only shoes manufactured in the United States have also reported a decline in shoe sales this week.
This is interesting!! This week, not only this one store, but a large number of stores, including ones that "sell only shoes manufactured in the United States," have experienced a decline in sales. We don't know what caused this general widespread decline in shoe sales, but whatever it was, it had to be something affecting a large number of stores. Whatever this unnamed cause was, it was not something specific to the store discussed in the prompt. Apparently, the management team understands this, so they know that their decline was part of this nationwide pattern, not due to something in a local newspaper. This statement provides a completely plausible reason why the management team was perfectly correct in what they said. This is our answer.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Mike McGarry
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Re: Last week, an investigative journalist published an expose in the news  [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2018, 23:43

Official Explanation

Apparently, the management team of the department store believes the shoe sales declined for some other reason, some reason other than the unfavorable article in the newspaper. We something that supplies or suggests this different reason.

(E) is the credited answer. The fact that other shoe store nationwide reported a decline in sales indicates a trend or causal factor much bigger, much more widespread than this newspaper article. We don't know what this cause might be, but the fact that there's a general trend strongly suggests that the decline in shoe sales this department store is experiencing is not unique.

(A) would weaken the department store's position, because it would suggest --- if people see the ads in the same paper that published the unfavorable article, then people would make the connection and view those ads unfavorably, which could only hurt sales.

(B) if anything, this suggests that the management team is not acknowledging the truth ---- i.e. they are lying. Saying that they are lying does not constitute support of their position.

(C) is another possible weakener. If the investigative journalist has any credibility, say from a history of successful exposés, than that would only lend weight to the argument that his most recent article is responsible for the decline in shoe sales. This definitely does not strengthen the management team's position.

(D) If there is a base of devoted customers, that's great for the department store, but it doesn't explain this week's decline in sales at all, and we are left wondering: did even this faithful customer base abandon the store this week? It does not provide an alternate explanation for the decline in sales, which is what the management team's position needs for support.
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Re: Last week, an investigative journalist published an expose in the news   [#permalink] 14 Aug 2018, 23:43
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