23
Feb
11

Is Walmart Getting Desperate?

It doesn’t take a financial wizard to notice with 7 consecutive quarters of declining same store sales that something negative is brewing at Walmart. If you have visited a Walmart store recently, it becomes obvious that they have reduced the number of items they carry, sometimes leaving much more floor and shelve space than before. It wasn’t long ago that you could visit a Walmart and see the shelves packed with those everyday goods that everyone buys for the household and now there seems to be not enough of those products at every location. In the old days, Walmart’s everyday prices for products were lower than anywhere else, now only the sale items might be but with the rest of the non-sale items, the prices have been raised dramatically. Is it to make up for the fewer customers shopping at the stores or the increasing costs for them? Either or, this is far from Walmart’s old strategy to be the one stop shopping store for overall savings for the customer. The store hours seem to have been reduced at many Walmart locations.

I remember at one time, the line ups at the checkout were insane and now notice at Walmart even with fewer cash registers open, the line ups are shorter. If you notice around you’ll see a few of those people whose carts are filled to the brim with compulsive items and wonder what if it weren’t for those people, how would Walmart fare? With their domestic operations declining in growth, Walmart has focused on expanding beyond US borders with new supercenters in Canada and the rest of the world to make up for the sales shortage. Is Walmart finally hitting it’s plateau in how much it can grow? Is stiff competition from dollar stores and other competitors causing it to change from it’s original business model? Is the end of the big box store coming soon to a theatre near you? Has Walmart overgrown and following the footsteps of the likes of Blockbuster Video, Circuit City, Kmart, Sears, Borders and Krispy Kreme? How will the steep inflation being encountered in countries like China (where Walmart imports the most from) affect their ability to remain profitable and competitive? Only time will tell but this story is looking all too familiar.

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