Wal-Mart brings back gun sales
The move is just the latest sign that executives are returning to the company's roots after recent failed efforts to appear more upscale.
By Jeff Reeves, editor of InvestorPlace.com
Wal-Mart (WMT) may be the world's biggest retailer, but that doesn't mean it has given up on growing. From planned grocery deliveries to inner-city residents to its recent purchase of a social-media company, there always seems to be something new in store.
The latest news, according to The Wall Street Journal, is that Wal-Mart will reload gun sales by cutting back on electronics floor space to make room for rifles, shotguns and ammunition at hundreds of U.S. stores.
But unlike previous failed efforts and some recent quirky initiatives, the return of guns and ammo is a return to Wal-Mart's roots -- something the company may sorely need.
Before you go making gun sales at Wal-Mart a political issue, remember that the bottom line is always the bottom line for the King of Retail. And that bottom line hasn't been very impressive lately. The company's stock is down slightly over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 has tacked on 11%. This is no surprise, given seven straight quarters of same-store-sales declines in the U.S.
Wal-Mart stopped selling guns and ammo at most of its U.S. stores five years ago but is now stocking up on firearms and nearly half of its 3,600 U.S. locations. Spin doctors at the corporation claim this is part of a larger focus on "heritage categories" -- fishing rods and bolts of sewing fabric that were cut out of aisles as the discounter tried to appear more upscale.
Upscale obviously didn't work. A few of years ago, Wal-Mart eliminated thousands of items to de-clutter its stores, but it suffered more customer complaints than anything else. In September, managers made an about-face and began restocking the shelves as Wal-Mart added thousands of new products. And just a few weeks ago, it announced an ad campaign in which Wal-Mart reasserts its low-price roots. That, essentially, leaves the company right back where it started a few years ago.
That isn't a very heartening sign for shareholders. After all, businesses are meant to grow and seize more opportunities, not just put it in neutral.
But in Wal-Mart's case, it may be wise to simplify and return to the mission that made this store a retail powerhouse. Sprawling rural and suburban SuperCenters offering guns and ammo and cheap clothes, food and furnishings made the franchise what it is today. Why tinker with the model if it was so darn profitable?
In Wal-Mart's case, a return to previous business success could be the best move, especially after some new ideas that have fallen flat.
Jeff Reeves is editor of InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the stocks or funds named here. Follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP and become a fan of InvestorPlace on Facebook.
Around here they never stopped selling guns and ammunition, so this is no change for us.
Comment -when you decide to accompany an article with a picture, try to at least make it responsible - every one of the idiots pictured has their fingers on the triggers. (Not to mention that three of the four are handguns, which WalMart doesn't sell, and one is an airsoft non-firearm. About par for the accuracy of a typical MSN piece.)
For most Americans it's indeed no big deal. Most Americans own guns as part of our "right to bear arms" heritage. It's important that we support ALL of our constitutional rights or we lose them, even if the thing sits in the closet and rusts away.
I can't tell you the number of Canadians, Brits, etc. I've known that immediately go out and buy a gun as soon as they are legally able. From what I've seen, admittedly anecdotal, it seems to be foreigners that are obsessed with American gun ownership, perhaps because they are so restricted in their own country.
As to the remarks that WalMart customers are "lower class" citizens. Those citizens are the backbone of our country. It's the liberal, "higher class" people who are destroying our country with their immorality and elitist attitude.
to all you who want to outlaw private gun ownership, you are effectively saying that the only group in the US that should be allowed to own guns are the government; federal, state, local, whatever.
you might want to think about that.
Aside from gun ownership, I'm a very left-leaning guy who lives in the city. I walk for 80% of my daily travel (No, really, I've done the math.)
I'll never join the Democratic Party because the generalizations made by many liberals about gun owners really turn me off. I don't need to be talked down to just because my recreational activities differ from yours. Maybe I'm no big loss to the party, but for all the open-mindedness many left-leaning people espouse, I sure experience a lot of bigotry regarding people with a different lifestyle.
I also simply don't understand the mentality that, if we just passed more laws, or banned guns completely, nothing bad would ever happen as a result of gun violence. People who commit crimes ARE CRIMINALS. They already are willing to break the law. (In many cases, they are doing so simply by possessing a firearm.) I don't understand how someone can honestly believe that one more law is going to magically stop people who have proven themselves to have little or no regard for the law anyway.
Really bad photo. Walmart here in Phoenix has always sold rifles and shotguns but no handguns. Dont know why.
remember when Montgomery Wards sold all guns? Those were the days.
Mexican cartels, "thugs," "terrorists," etc.. aren't going to all of a sudden take up arms via Wally World.
#1 "Guns" DONT Kill People- PEOPLE Kill People!
i.e.. gangsters kill people- crack heads kill people- thiefs kill people- ALL of which DO so with STOLEN or UNDERGROUND Guns- NOT Guns owned by a card holding LEGAL GUN OWNERS
#2 Walmarts smart... They see the many concerns of 2012 and realize the folks (majority of People) shop at there store- and Most of them cant afford a seat in one of the fancy executive modern day noahs arks- ie, underground bunkers Vieo condos etc (google-you tube it its all the talk) With more and more going off the grid and fears of martial Law- Gun sales are rising and Walmart just wants to capitalize! IMO...
Funny, when people want to take away gun rights they point to Canada.
Yet they don't like to mention Mexico. Mexico has very strict gun laws. The average person there cannot posses, buy or sell guns or ammo.
Washington DC has the strictest gun laws in the US - and the murder rate there is HIGHER than the country of Mexico.
Millions of Americans have been told by the left that you should be able to take from those with more than you.
It's no surprise then when a crook kills someone while trying to redistribute income to their own pocket.
The sissies afraid of guns among us are nothing but thick-headed by failing to realize that there are more than 80 million gun owners in the USA & there's zero chance they are going to give up their guns.
Yes, the news media dwells upon every criminal abuse of firearms with indecent joy, but it rarely ever mentions that, as even the Clinton Justice Department acknowledged, firearms are used by ordinary people in the USA upwards of a million & a quarter times each & every year in a self-defense &/or crime prevention situation.
In addition, the one & only dues paying organization in the USA with four million or more paid-up members is the NRA.
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