Wal-Mart relies on food stamps for profit

The retailer is worried that changes to the SNAP program will continue to hurt sales.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 24, 2014 1:13PM
Shoppers put bags in a car at a Walmart store in Valley Stream, NY, on March 29, 2011 (© Spencer Platt/Getty Images)By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) filed its 10-K late on Friday after the market closed, and the world's largest retailer added some new language to the list of factors that could hurt the company.

There are oodles of things Wal-Mart is fearful of, from Fed interest-rate policy to climate change, but here's the specific language on benefits: "changes in the amount of payments made under the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Plan and other public assistance plans (and) changes in the eligibility requirements of public assistance plans." (Yes, Wal-Mart's lawyers got the name of the program wrong -- it's the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.)

The latter language could reflect both the change in the food-stamp program as well as the ongoing debate over whether Congress should renew extended jobless benefits that lapsed at the end of December.

This isn't the first time Wal-Mart has commented on the business impact of the food-stamp program. On Jan. 31, Wal-Mart said the reduction in food-stamp benefits by as much 5.5 percent in November hurt its profits last quarter and were the reason the company’s comparable-store sales were negative (-0.4 percent) rather than flat at its Wal-mart stores.

Wal-Mart's risk factors also reflect worries about a skills shortage, both to operate their new stores as well as to build them. The latter is an issue that the building industry is more broadly worried about as well.

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Tags: WMT
Mar 24, 2014 2:10PM
It's time to let the new people who are just starting out on public assistance that it is a temporary program.  Five years should be the maximum time it takes to go to school and get an education and then your welfare should end.  If the rules were spelled out when they signed up, then these people wouldn't be passing down a legacy of living off the government to their children.  Adding children to the family should not extend welfare for any reason.  Disability should be the only reason anyone should be on lifelong entitlement, and that should be scrutinized to make sure partially disabled people are working to the extent of their abilities.  No moree cheating SSI to get on disability and then playing or working under the table the rest of your life.  if, for example, you can walk, then you should be trained for a sit down job.  There are lots of people whoa re truly handicapped who work by choice, but our country is turning into a long line of people trying to get a get for doing nothing.  Stop the gravy train for able bodied adults and start treat our truly disabled with respect and care.  Give our veterans and seniors good medical care and early retirement instead of letting all of these scammers cheat the system.  Welfare and food stamps should be a temporary stop-gap helping hand, not a lifetime handout.
Mar 24, 2014 1:38PM
Seems like Wal Mart needs to reevaluate it's business model if profits are tied to a government program.
Mar 24, 2014 2:47PM
So what you are saying is, as a taxpayer, I'm keeping Walmart in business.  Doesn't anyone else find this disgusting?  Walmart's business model relies on the SNAP program?!  Good heavens!
Mar 24, 2014 2:36PM
Walmart can't live without food stamps....and neither can it's workers!
Mar 24, 2014 1:50PM

Meanwhile, the economy is fine.

Just an observation: 

5-7 years ago, I would not have been able to tell you what: 

Section 8 is


FIP is.

Fast forward to present day:  Now I know exactly what they are. 

Mar 24, 2014 2:25PM
their business model has always been that americans are poor, and are getting poorer. and it's worked perfectly for the last 30 or so years! the high and low ends are where the money's at. the middle is gone.
Mar 24, 2014 1:48PM

Hell that's because wal-mart has such low pay grades they depend on the government to pick up there pay differences by using up subsidies hell I'll go even further they train there managers and human resource people to make it happens so of course it will hurt them why do you think there afraid of a minimum pay raise?

Mar 24, 2014 2:00PM
WELL DUH!!! They have learned well from YOUR gov. Take all you can, and give as little as POSSIBLE!
Mar 24, 2014 2:16PM
I had type a long paragraph about how Walmart is essentially subsidized from every angle, but I deleted it and will just say - God Walmart sucks.  We never, ever shop there, with the exception of when they offer an extremely good deal on a product that we know is exactly the same as that offered somewhere else (iPhone this Xmas was a good example).  My wife and I have 4 kids, and even though I make a good living we have to budget, and in spite of that it never, ever occurs to us to do everyday shopping at Walmart, because we hate the company so badly and most of their products are just garbage.  Delivering value?  Maybe sometimes.  Most times, they are just delivering cheap.
Mar 24, 2014 2:31PM
and a significant percentage of walmart store associates need government food assistance to get by.
Mar 24, 2014 2:14PM
Duh because people that don't use food stamps shop at Target...

Sounds like Wal-Mart has figured out welfare isn't going anywhere and is taking full advantage. I would do the same.



Much like landlords with section 8 housing. Guaranteed money.

Mar 24, 2014 2:04PM
Why does MSN keep posting stupid stories like these? Who gives a hoot what Wally World does. They keep selling Made in China and Taiwan crap. Also, don't buy any of their imported fish from China either. They do not follow FDA guide lines as American fisheries do and I'm sure I will never eat their Tilapia that is fed human waste, either. That has been on the news more than once in the past.
Mar 24, 2014 2:05PM
My understanding is that people apply for Food Stamp and they spend it at any store of their choice and there are as many line of food stamp shopper at Safeway, Albertson and others. So in reality they all depend somewhat on food stamp shoppers for some part of their profit. Why write only about Walmart and not include others stores. Have a good day American.
Mar 24, 2014 3:10PM
So basically Walmart is a welfare succubus.
Mar 24, 2014 2:05PM
Did anyone see the article on msn today about robots taking jobs away from people. And some people call me crazy. I say open your eyes! This is just the beginning!
Mar 24, 2014 1:36PM
Mar 24, 2014 2:19PM
Does snap pay for dog food? Alot of snappers have many large dogs and other pets, and they smoke, drink, and gamble too. I've seen them at the Indian casinos. Somebody's got to feed their packs of big goofy hounds.
Mar 24, 2014 2:00PM
Since BHO took office more and more people went on SNAP. The Left is blaming it on "W", I only know the Hope & Change is just hope and no change in over 5 years.
Mar 24, 2014 4:01PM

Food Stamps are one of the most abused and wasteful social program this country has ever developed. A family of four receives more money monthly then my family of five spends a month on food. The amount paid out each month should be cut by at least one third. Purchases by food stamps should be (if not already) restricted to the following: Fresh/frozen non prepared meats & fish, fresh/frozen non prepared vegetables, deli meats/cheeses, canned goods, breads, non sweetened dairy, and non sweetened juices. The following should always be banned, and processes need to be in place where not already, to restrict: Soda, bottled water, power and energy drinks, sweetened juices, coffee, tea, ice cream, candy, energy bars, any pre-prepared meals or sandwiches, snacks/junk food, or any food that is mail ordered or shipped anywhere. If these rules would be followed, and recipients would learn how to shop and properly eat, no one would be hungry and we the taxpayers would save billions.

            Tobacco and alcohol should be banned from purchase by welfare funds. No cash should be allowed to be pulled off of any assistance cards except at banks and should be limited to a very low percentage of funds.

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