Walmart's Customers Too Broke To Shop

Walmart’s Customers Too Broke To Shop

Walmart is facing a “perfect storm” that’s hurting its sales growth, according to Moody’s.

The company’s core customers are struggling with flat income levels, and savings from lower fuel prices aren’t translating into more retail spending, Moody’s vice president, Charles O’Shea, wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday.

The business is also under pressure from deflation in key product categories, such as food, and the effects of the strong dollar abroad.

“Walmart is facing an almost perfect storm when it comes to top-line growth,” O’Shea wrote. “Until the health of the lower-to-middle-income consumer improves, Walmart will continue to face macroeconomic headwinds in the US.”

Walmart said last month that it’s expecting virtually no sales growth in the coming fiscal year. The company had previously projected growth of 3% to 4% for the year, but lowered its guidance last month citing the impact of the strengthening US dollar. The company’s share price has lost about 16% of its value over the last 12 months.

Despite its slowing revenue growth, Walmart continues to invest heavily in employee wages and e-commerce in an effort to stay competitive with Amazon.

Walmart's customers are too broke to shop

(Joe Raedle/Getty)

But the store’s online sales growth has started to contract. Online revenue growth slowed to 12% for fiscal year 2016, following 22% growth for the previous year.

That has some investors concerned about Walmart’s long-term prospects.

But O’Shea says that Walmart’s e-commerce performance is still impressive.

“All in all, a $14-15 billion global online business is more than respectable, especially when it augments a brick-and-mortar business that generates around $470 billion in annual sales,” O’Shea wrote.

He said that the stock market “can be unfriendly,” and investors are ignoring the long-term benefits of Walmart’s e-commerce investments.

“We continue with our thesis that brick-and-mortar retailers that resist the move to at least have representative online businesses will find themselves in a precarious competitive position over the longer term,” O’Shea wrote.

To reduce losses, Walmart is closing 269 underperforming stores globally, including 154 in the US. Analysts are expecting even more store closings down the road.

“Future thinning of the herd will occur at some point as more of the business moves online,” O’Shea wrote.

SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

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Established in 2010, The Made in America Movement is the leading independently owned, non-partisan organization promoting businesses in the USA, reaching over 520,000 American consumers.
4 replies
  1. mel reed
    mel reed says:

    More evidence that the problem we face is a demand side problem. Cutting corporate taxes or taxes across the board wont help get this economy moving .Putting more money in the hands of the kind of folks who do their shopping at Walmart will however.

    • Bruce
      Bruce says:

      Mel couldn’t agree more. However the problem is campaign donations to politicians which cause politicians to call for tax cuts for biz and rich to stimulate economy. They are only parotting what their donors want and not what the facts show is needed to improve the economy. Difficult to get politicians to act different then what donors want them to do.

  2. Karen
    Karen says:

    Yes, I agree Mel Reed. Raise the minimum wage and COLA for older SS recipients who shop discount stores out of need. Increase demand by increasing dis,nposable income.

  3. Aware CDN
    Aware CDN says:

    “Until the health of the lower-to-middle-income consumer improves, Walmart will continue to face macroeconomic headwinds in the US.”… note to Walmart (and pretty much any other retailer that caters to this demographic): Don’t hold your breath. You’re in for a long and bumpy ride, as in the health of the LTMI consumer isn’t going to bounce back any time soon, if ever. You can thank outsourcing and offshoring for the demise of America’s manufacturing industry and decent paying jobs.


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