Potential Wal-Mart Downside From Slightly Higher Capex

| About: Wal-Mart Stores, (WMT)

Wal-Mart’s (NYSE:WMT) stock is sensitive to the company’s capital expenditures. Higher than expected capex could result in a potential downside to Wal-Mart’s stock if the additional spend does not translate to profit growth for the company. Store expansions and renovations are significant component of capex for retailers like Wal-Mart, Costco (NASDAQ:COST), Target (NYSE:TGT) and BJ’s Wholesale (NYSE:BJ). We currently have a Trefis price estimate of $65 for Wal-Mart’s stock, about 26% above the current market price of around $53.

Wal-Mart’s CapEx As % of Gross Profits has decreased from around 18% in 2006 to around 11% in 2009 [1]. This is because Wal-Mart already has massive coverage in the U.S. market, which is nearly saturated.

We expect CapEx As % of Gross Profits to slightly increase as Wal-Mart focuses on international expansion by increasing its retail square footage. Wal-Mart’s plan to add about 50 million square feet of international retail space during course of the years 2010 and 2011, represents an accelerated international growth over 2009 [2].

The average of Trefis member forecasts indicate that CapEx As % of Gross Profits will rise from around 12% in 2010 to 13.4% in 2013, and come back to to 12% in 2016, compared to the baseline Trefis estimate of a decrease from 12% in 2010 to 11.4% by the end of the Trefis forecast period. The member estimates of slightly higher capex spend imply a downside of 3% to the Trefis price estimate for Wal-Mart’s stock.

You can drag the forecast trend-line above to express your own view, and see the sensitivity of Wal-Mart’s stock to CapEx as % a of Gross Profit.

Our complete analysis for Wal-Mart’s stock is here.

[1] Calculated based on reported Wal-Mart capital expenditures and gross profits
[2] Reuters: Walmart Updates Growth Plans

Disclosure: No positions