Wal-Mart may be its own worst enemy
It's blaming a weak outlook on consumers cutting back. But then why are so many of its retailing rivals doing just fine?
When the U.S. economy started to tank, the Bentonville, Ark., company's low prices attracted cash-strapped consumers. But now, as the economy continues to rebound, consumers may be less worried about prices and more attuned to other aspects of their shopping experience such as customer service, which has never been a forte of Wal-Mart.
According to Wal-Mart, many people continue to struggle because of the rise in the payroll tax and delays in getting tax refunds from the IRS.
Wal-Mart's gloomy outlook confirms the sentiment echoed in internal memos recently leaked to Bloomberg News about the chain's poor performance in February. The company's forecast for first-quarter earnings was below Wall Street expectations, but the shares are trading up so far today. Raising its dividend by 18%, to $1.88 annually, is offsetting some worries about Wal-Mart's gloomy forecast.
Wal-Mart expects comparable sales to be flat in the current quarter as uncertainty about the economy continues to weigh on it. The Associated Press reported today that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose in the most recent week. Consumer confidence also declined in January.
These macroeconomic forces affect all retailers, but many are doing better than Wal-Mart.
Its chief rival Target (TGT) recently reported a better-than-expected 3.1% gain in January sales in stores opened at last a year. Comparable sales at TJX (TJX) rose 3% during the same time, exceeding the expectations of the parent company of TJ Maxx, Marshall's and Home Goods. Macy's (M), an up-market department store chain, recently reported that January same-store sales rose a better-than-expected 11.7%. (Wal-Mart doesn't report monthly sales.)
If Wal-Mart continues to struggle, investors may find it hard to believe that the fault lies entirely with penny-pinching consumers.
Jonathan Berr is long Target. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
I was fired from Walmart after working for them for 3 years and although I am upset over that still
it does not stop me from shopping there. I still concider them to have the best bargains and lowest prices of all the other retailers. I do think that they could raise the wages of the employees and give them at least 40 hours a week. But if we stop shopping there because of the way they treat their employees the only ones that suffer are those employees because that is what causes their hours and wages to be low in the first place. Please concider the options of the good people that work there. There are many good employees there that work very hard to make the customers happy.
Do not judge them by the few bad ones!!
I'm not a big fan of Wal-Mart, but there are those on the night shift who've worked there for years that make good wages and have good benefits. Key Word.......NIGHT SHIFT. There are not too many businesses who really care about their workers. If they could replace you with a machine....they would. Things are getting bad everywhere. So, if you have a choice...then decide what you really want or continue to be a sucker.
As for the economy rebounding......the economy has never really rebounded since 1970s, if it has, it was only at the expense of a large growing deficit thanks to all those corrupt businesses, politicians, banks, insurance companies, ponzi schemers, realtors, financial advisors, high ranking government employees, welfare scum etc...
It's all crap...you just have to use your brain and learn how to swim through it.
The name of their company should be ChinaMart. This company is destroying America! I hope they continue to fail, I wouldn’t step foot in one of their stores.
I shop where I can find the cheapest prices...I give a mad **** about their employees just like you do not give a **** about where I work...All you people acting like you will pay a higher price for your items are a bunch of lying fools so stop with your stupid **** crusades you think you are on....if I was wrong do you think there would be a Wal-Mart in every city in America?. Like it or not they are probably the most successful retail business in the world because they pass value to their customers....I lost a union grocery job when WallMart came into my town....I went to college and got my skills up where i can demand a higher wage, not like the fools i worked with who sat on their **** or had a family they could not afford so they had to work and could not go to college to build their skills up....Oh and my sister probably saved over $100.00 a month shopping at WallMart.....Here is a novel idea...you do not like where u work...THEN QUIT!! i do not see Wall Mart MAKING ANYONE work there and have any of you ****s thought about how much $$ WallMart is saving their customers?? Leaving that family with more $$ in their pockets?? Stupid Americans fighting outsourcing and cheap labor...we should embrace this and replace these low-skilled jobs with skilled labor here in the country...instead we sitting here trying to fight it and our Govt has failed to educate the people to obtian and create the newly needed high skilled labor jobs in our country...
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