- Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) hasn't been short of excuses for its dismal performance of late: in Q1 it was the weather, before that it was a reduction in customers' food stamp benefits, and before that it was the challenging global economy - when it reports Q2 earnings in three weeks, the excuse will be the guy who's no longer around, as former U.S. head Bill Simon was given the boot this week.
- Analysts say WMT is getting hammered by cheaper and more convenient options such as online (think AMZN) and dollar stores (FDO, DG); some say the most crucial action for new man Greg Foran is to pivot away from the supercenter focus and continue growing the small-store footprint, but that could risk customers' need to visit larger stores and make additional, higher-price impulse purchases.
- Foran's most pressing need may be just getting stuff on the shelves: WMT has cut its U.S. staff by ~20K since 2008 while adding 650-plus stores, resulting in merchandise piling up in aisles and in the back of stores because there aren't enough workers to restock the shelves.
- As if Foran doesn't have enough on his plate, he will take over the reins of Wal-Mart U.S. on Aug. 9, during the back-to-school rush and not far ahead of the winter holidays.
at CNBC.com (Nov 18, 2014)