Wal-Mart Catches A Winter Chill

Wal-Mart Catches A Winter Chill

Wal-Mart caused quite a stir recently when company sources fretted over the lowest February month-to-date sales figures in 7 years (as reported by Renee Dudley in Bloomberg). The plunge followed a disappointing January. Many market analysts look at the retail giant as a bellwether for the national economy, of which it forms a considerable part.

The retail environment is proving to be stubbornly tough as President Barack Obama begins his second term. The temporary cut in Social Security taxes expired in January, and the restoration of the normal rate means that workers are paying an additional 2% of their pay in FICA levies. In addition, income tax refunds will arrive later this year, as both the IRS and the tax preparation industry reprogram their computers in the wake of the “fiscal cliff” deal enacted on New Year’s Day.

The larger macroeconomic picture is not exactly rosy, either:

Simon (Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon) cited negative economic growth, declining consumer confidence and rising unemployment as challenges facing the company. The U.S. economy shrank at a 0.1 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, and the unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage point to 7.9 percent in January. The Conference Board’s measure of consumer confidence declined last month to the lowes

t since November 2011.

For those inclined to see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty, there is the notion that Wal-Mart’s problems are more linked to its size, target market of less affluent Americans and management decisions. Brad Plumer of The Washington Post’s “WonkBlog” notes that arch-rival Target’s sales are actually up in January, suggesting that the malaise is confined to the less affluent segments of the consumer market.

Maybe. But less affluent consumers form the fastest growing demographic of the Obama economy, and the observation provides cold comfort to a public now being bombarded with news about the coming sequestration battles.

Photo credit: Maryland Pride via Wikipedia

 

Get Free Email Updates!

Signup Now to Receive Updates and Alerts!

We will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

@streetwise_IT

Retired from American Airlines after a 34 year career. Finance professional with strong background in corporate treasury management and personal income taxes. Graduate of Georgetown University (BS Foreign Service) and The University of Texas at Arlington (MBA). Contributor to TMR since 2007. Host of "Italian Tomatoes" show on Blog Talk Radio. I am a center-right Republican with a passion for business, history and current affairs. Go to Blog Talk Radio to listen to my latest show Beyond Foxy News

More in

1031

PayPal now lets you send and receive money through URLs

Candice LanierSep 1, 2015
cruz-trump1

Trump/Cruz – A Win For the Constitution

Frank McHaleSep 1, 2015
9947734_orig

All Aboard to 2016

Frank McHaleAug 31, 2015
bear Smokey3-s

Podcast: Is That A Bear Over There?

Streetwise_ITAug 31, 2015
1030

The Defense Department & Silicon Valley Joining Forces to Make Cutting Edge Tech

Candice LanierAug 31, 2015
952

Killed in Airstrike: Top ISIS Hacker On Pentagon Hit List Who Threatened Attacks on US Military

Candice LanierAug 27, 2015

The Minority Report is a network of websites devoted to Conservative & Libertarian politics in the United States. In 2014 the network had over 20 million page views!

On this site you'll find posts & links to some of the best and most comprehensive center-right news and opinion on the net...

February 2013
M T W T F S S
« Jan   Mar »
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728  

Archives

Copyright © 2014 The Minority Report Network