Shelly Banjo reporting in Wal-Mart's first-ever sales drop marks the end of an era for Bloomberg News, writes:
For the first time ever---or at least since the company went public some 45 years ago---Wal-Mart's revenues shrank from the year before, according to its annual financial filing released Wednesday. Wal-Mart is clearly having trouble adapting its gigantic stores to the Internet age. To be sure, it is a retail juggernaut that brings in half a trillion dollars (yes, that's right, trillion) in sales every year. And with more than 11,500 stores in 28 countries, there's no way it will disappear anytime soon. Still, Wal-Mart might have just hit its growth limit.
Banjo goes on to write that several factors:
Wednesday's filing attributes part of the 2015 sales drop to currency impacts and a decrease in fuel sales due to lower gas prices. Sales have also suffered from ongoing store closures, including the shuttering of its entire fleet of smaller, "Express" stores. But Wal-Mart also acknowledged it has shifted the way it runs the company, dropping a long-time focus on growing net sales and cutting operating expenses as a percentage of sales. Its aim now is on making "strategic investments" to support the "long-term health of the company." While that's happening, Wal-Mart warned, it may not be able to deliver the kind of steady net sales and profit growth investors have grown accustomed to seeing.
Brace for the avalanche of shoes to come. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.Walmart, Wal-Mart

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