Wal-Mart is running out of excuses

It keeps blaming disappointing results on things like delayed tax refunds, even though its rivals are doing better despite the same headwinds.

By Jonathan Berr May 16, 2013 10:35AM
Empty shelves in a New Jersey Wal-Mart (© Najlah Feanny/Corbis)Shares of Wal-Mart (WMT) slumped in early trading Thursday after the world's largest retailer posted earnings that lagged analysts' estimates and issued guidance that fell short of consensus forecasts -- yet again -- because of what CEO Mike Duke described as "considerable headwinds." Its rivals, though, seem to be doing better.

Among Wal-Mart's lackluster data points, first-quarter net income rose 1.1% to $3.78 billion, or $1.14 per share, versus $3.74 billion, or $1.10 per share, a year earlier. Sales increased 1% to $113.4 billion. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected profit of $1.14 per share on revenue of $116.1 billion. U.S. comparable-store sales, a key retail metric measuring revenue at stores open at least a year, fell 1.4%.

The company forecast a profit in the current quarter of $1.22 to $1.27 per share, below the $1.29 analysts had expected.

As it has done before, Wal-Mart attributed its mediocre performance to a delay in the Internal Revenue Service issuing income tax refunds, an increase in the payroll tax and less grocery inflation. However, Wal-Mart's competitors are facing these same problems and are faring better. That's only heightening the pressure on Duke to improve the company's financial performance.

Kohl's (KSS), for one, reported better-than-expected earnings, and its stock is moving in the opposite direction of Wal-Mart's. It expects comparable-store sales to increase as much as 2% in the current quarter after a 1.9% decline in the last quarter. TJX (TJX), the parent company of TJ Maxx, saw its same-store sales rise 8% in the four-week period ending May 4. But it expects its growth rate to slow in the current quarter to a range of 1% to 2%, which disappointed Wall Street.

Wal-Mart does see better times ahead. It says U.S. same-store sales will jump as much as 2% in the current quarter. If the discount retail colossus can't meet those modest expectations, Wall Street will not be pleased.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
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May 18, 2013 8:45AM

you can plainly see they are doing a reset, the mod sheets are hanging right in you face !


May 18, 2013 4:39AM
The distribution center whereI work also donates thousands of pounds  of cat and dog food to local animal shelters every week when the bags get torn during the loading of freight. They didnt' become the worlds largest company being crooked, greedy, or dumb. Lookat the federal government for that. I used to work for the Postal Service, that's a messed up organization.
May 18, 2013 1:49AM
It's George Bush's fault.

(I couldn't resist)
May 18, 2013 1:42AM

it's no wonder that walmart has run out of excuses,congress made a run on them

May 18, 2013 1:27AM
WalMarts is an overpriced, junkyard of High Fructose Corn Syrup sweetened products, overporcessed, high sodium foods, dubious looking "meats", and excessively overpriced produce!  35 cashier stands---4 open.  Employees told me they were 'encouraged' to purchase WalMart pens w/ their OWN money to hand them out to customers!  Hulking Chinese Cheap Crap Wastelands sitting like a blight ALL the way across the U.S.  Wallies CEO's don't care about  this country, or employment------they're a bunch of cutthroat greedmongers like the rest! 
May 18, 2013 1:04AM
Could it be that Walmart treats its employees like they're less than slaves (paying bare minimum that they have to), they hide sexual harassment among their employees, encouraging sexual harassment as well as favoritism among their employees to the point that they even encourage co-workers to try and get others fired to take their place, and treat their customer base like they're less than monkeys?

Sure their prices are reasonable in some things, but prices aren't everything. I had a friend who worked there who told me about all the sexual harassment , the encouragement to get co-workers fired and the encouragement to treat customers like sh*t in order to get them in and out as fast as possible. They quit and found a better paying job.

May 18, 2013 12:44AM

I have hated them since day 1 until...........

They just put in 10 self-check-out stations in and they WORK!

Checking out in record time is kinda cool.  The average wait in line for me went from 15 minutes to ZERO.

I'm all about speed these days.   Whod'a thunk?

May 18, 2013 12:22AM
Cheap, shoddy crap for merchandise and worse than horrible customer service.  That's the business model I'd follow...yeah right.
May 18, 2013 12:21AM
I love Target! It may cost a bit more, but the stores are clean, bright and stocked. And I always receive great service.
May 18, 2013 12:12AM
Wal-Mart has no one to blame but themselves they have quit carrying many items from the past and you have to go to other stores to get them. When you mention it to the management the company says the one making it got bought out and it is not available. I have asked for 1 gal Lipton tea instead of the bottles and finally gave up, the answer was they would keep some in the back for me and I could request it when I came in, who wants to add an hours to the shopping for that. Our Wal-Mart has 32 checkouts and I never see make than 10 manned. The other stores may be a bit more but at least they have it. I tried to buy a shirt from Wal-Mart 17 1/2 with 32-33 sleeves all they had was 48,50,52 etc and no one could tell what the conversion was. It is not the lower employees and staff but the management that could care less, Mr. Sam never intended that . If management would listened rather then blow people off they might not have this trouble and this has been going on for years. It does not help to contact anyone in Bentonville AR either, I think they route all the e-mails or letters to the trash bin before reading.
May 17, 2013 11:48PM
The Walton family are the greediest people in the world. I will not give them one dollar of my money. I also am doing to same with the second greediest family in the world the pollad family that owns the Minnesota  twins. I will not go see a game or shop at walmart. Two familys that put greed in front of everything even there mothers.
May 17, 2013 11:28PM

 Ok when Wal-Mart started out the products where made In the USA!  Now its made in China!  They have 20 check out lines and only run 4 or 5!  You go to buy something that you need an associate for and you have to wait 30 to 40 minutes just to get started on the sales process which takes another 30 to 40 minutes!  You have to locate what you want without much help from the staff!  Not all of them are stupid, but they out number the smart ones!  They did away with lay-a-way except for Christmas!  and replaced it with a credit card which means you pay more for the same cheap product!  They do not stock a variety they cater to the local majority!  If you see it today better buy it because chances are they only ordered two and one is already sold!  If you come back tomorrow the other maybe gone, and these are the few items that people want!  Sam is probably pissed about how his store was turned into a joke!

May 17, 2013 11:23PM
Wal mart need to hire professional individuals .  Lots of managers have been  promoted by sleeping with other member of management.  We had a manager named Victoria    in fresno ca, that got promoted to management by sleeping with the store mgr.  and later with the district manager.  This is the way you get promoted in California.
May 17, 2013 10:55PM
I feel for Walmart employees even more. Customers can choose to shop elsewhere because of the company's lack of customer service, empty shelves, overall lack of humanity and all the reasons mentioned by others.  Employees used to work for a company of integrity that cared deeply for their employees and took care of them. In pursuit  of the bottom line employees have been embarrassed  and placed in a bad position with customers who are accustomed to a completely different, customer friendly Walmart.  Employee hours, pay and benefits have suffered because of  the company's greed. So that "suicidal look" that someone else mentioned comes from loyal employees being dumped on.
May 17, 2013 10:38PM
Hi every body, I understand the frustration and a big change "you can believe in".
Greed ,and big $$$$ profits for no service and $*** products.
I am originally from one of The past Soviet Union satellite countries ,been under Kremlin line of life and socialist propaganda.Wall mart loking very similar and close today  to THE GOVERNMENT  stores we used to have and no any other store to choose from. The Communist past is coming here on American soil .
Do not shoppe there ,do not buy China goods,and the market will do the miracle by themselves!!!
One day we may experience here in US the tragedy of human beings treaded by government. Who knows?

May 17, 2013 10:23PM
they cant expect people to shop every day...?...
May 17, 2013 9:10PM

Every time I drive up to the parking lot I say "I hate coming to this zoo".  Hard to get in and out, hard to get checked out,  shelves out of stock, just an overall aggravation. Our town hasn't built alternatives yet, but I think Wal-Mart has kept them out so far.  I do believe that is fixing to change with the economy starting to pick up.

May 17, 2013 7:39PM
What I hate most about Wal-Mart is they have stockers stocking shelves during the busiest time.  they get in the way of me purchasing. What happened to stocking overnight when there is less customers?  I guess they do not want to pay the employees a shift differential.
May 17, 2013 7:30PM
Our Target store is neat, clean, and well-stocked. They have enough employees to assist shoppers and staff checkouts. And the pricing is basically the same as Wal-Mart - but what would it matter if Wal-Mart was cheaper, but never in stock?
May 17, 2013 7:19PM

Wal-Mart missed another profit target? Oh, boo-hoo!


Maybe they would do better if they didn't sell the cheapest crap made in sweat shop factories.

After Sam Walton and his predatory tactics killed off the Main Street Mom & Pop stores, his spawn running the company has continued to built bad karma. Wal-Mart deserves this!


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