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  • Dollar store watch: Wal-Mart small-store plan is a big headache [View news story]
    Where has everyone been? WMT has been dabbling in the smaller neighborhood & express format for several years in limited markets. I suspect that WMT has been making trial runs at implementing the logistics for this environment since the small format dictates virtually no stock room or freight handling space or manpower. It is significantly different than its normal big box operation. Small format stores are staffed completely different also.

    I've attended the National Association of Convenience Stores show a few times as an exhibitor and WMT showcased their store set up at the show I attended back in 2010. I knew that they already had a few stores at that time. Their exhibit was very impressive.

    This expansion is what will propel WMT well forward. It is one of the three primary growth markets left to them. And it is the most under served by its significant competitors. Therefore it is the largest opportunity for rapid controllable growth. Any suggestion that WMT is going into an acquisition mode is ignoring the fact that WMT doesn't do things that way. The only benefit to acquiring a dollar store would be real estate. And like Rose said, it's cheaper for WMT simply out business them and then acquire additional real estate if they need it.

    I have enjoyed the recent "OMG Walmart is tanking" price retraction. Made a nice buying opportunity for me to extend my already long WMT position.
    Feb 28 10:12 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Late spike in online sales leaves retailers, UPS floundering [View news story]
    OK forecasting gurus.

    Christmas comes every year. It comes on the same day every year. And for hundreds of years, every non leap year calendar has had 365 days placing 366 days on the leap year calendar. Did some political or financial wizard remove six days from 2013? Or how do you compress the calendar? Did our great and knowing Washington Oz's enact some law to prohibit shopping at any other time of the year?

    There weren't 6 fewer shopping days this Christmas season. The number of days on the calendar between Thanksgiving and Christmas only controls the number of shopping days in the minds of the hype mongers.

    So, are we going to get all giddie as we approach mid November 2014 because we will have two more calendar days between Thanksgiving and Christmas? Maybe we should hold off until 2017 when we again hit that magical 32 day number. Then we can have fireworks and champagne and really celebrate.

    Soft sales this year had very little to do with the calendar. Take off your rose colored glasses and you will see the real reason. There is far to much uncertainty in the condition of our economy. My wife and I reduced our Christmas spending by about 60% this year. Our income hasn't gone down. But we have held back for the past three years so we could tuck a little more away. By choice, we live our life on a cash basis and don't want to get caught in a tight spot. I don't have much trust in Washington - frankly, I don't have much trust in the number crunchers on Wall Street either. Too many hype and fear mongers in both locations.

    As we leave 2013 just remember, there are still 365 days on the calendar in 2014 and 2015 and 366 in 2016. And Christmas will always fall on the 25th of December each and every year.
    Dec 26 10:05 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Keep Buying Wal-Mart [View article]
    So right Tomlos & FishWisher. Hand in the pocket. Union membership is down so the professional union staff is scrambling to protect their healthy paycheck that comes directly from the union members pockets.
    My fiercest objection to unions is they prohibit personal advancement. Why should an employee strive to excel at their job and be as absolutely productive as they can be and work at improving their level of productivity if there is no reward? I would never be permitted to be rewarded as an individual unless the deadbeat next to me doing the absolute minimum gets the same reward or if they have more seniority than I do they must get more regardless of output.
    With a union, what's the incentive to do my best?
    Nov 27 11:19 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Early read on Black Friday winners and losers [View news story]
    Maybe I didn't come across to clear in my comment -- the consumer is demanding these super sales events.

    Look at JC Penny - they brought in Ron Johnson and his position is few if any special sales events and no coupons. Just price goods low every day all the time. Consumers voted by taking their shopping dollars elsewhere. Now Ron Johnson is gone and JCP is scrambling to recover and survive.

    Price loss leaders have been around 50 or 60 years. The loss just has to be factored in to the business plan so in the end, investors like us realize the revenue and profit increase in the retailer that we demand.
    Nov 26 02:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Retailers build discounts into initial prices [View news story]
    This is marketing 101. How is it some kind of "revelation"?
    Figure what is the sell price that gives the retailer the margin they need, then sell at the highest price above it that the market will bear. Retailers are simply giving consumers what they demand - some sort of hyper sales event. Just ask Ron Johnson... Consumer's proved they wanted special sales events not true everyday low prices. And if you won't give the consumer what they want they will shop elsewhere.
    Nov 26 01:48 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Keep Buying Wal-Mart [View article]
    CT
    Should we also boycott the very large regional chain Meijer's on Thursday & Friday? They have several hundred stores spread across all of the Great Lakes and Midwest states and down into Kentucky with tens of thousands of employees. They will be open Thursday and Friday also. Their pay-scale closely matches WMTs, and a great many of their employees aren't full time and I know that many receive public assistance. They also sell many, many goods produced in the same overseas factories as all of the big box retailers. And Fred Meijer's children are very well to do. They live a tremendously comfortable life.

    My wife is a very happy hourly WMT sales floor employee (19+ years) so I have access to some real-time street level insight. And we have many family friends employed by Meijer's as well Kohl's, Target, Best Buy, all hourly employees.

    If your drum beat is about a better minimum wage, why do you just zero in on WMT? What about all the shops in your local big mall? Total up all the employees in the malls across the country and I'm pretty sure you will find the number totals more than WMT employs in the US. Are you saying they don't deserve a better wage because they don't work for a big box retailer?

    What about the shamefully low wage we have always paid our active duty military? I been there done that gig so I know I was on food stamps when I was in. I guess they aren't worthy of a better wage either.

    If the issue is a better wage level (and I believe it should be), then make that the issue. Not bashing a business that chooses to fight against being unionized or wants to increase its revenue and profits by utilizing its buying power to gain market share by selling at a lower price than the other stores locally.

    By the way, locally, the Meijer's stores are unionized...maybe that's why people don't pound on them like they do WMT. Just saying...
    Nov 25 02:37 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Early read on Black Friday winners and losers [View news story]
    Something that seems to have been overlooked in the media frenzy about retailers being open Thanksgiving Day this year - everyone is acting like this year is the first time this has happened.

    Several large retailers have been open on Thanksgiving Day over the past few years. As related to me by my wife's (long time WMT employee) store manager, WMT started making sure people were in the store before the big bang of the super special sales began. They did this after a contracted crowd and event control consultant to them the best way to prevent "crowd rush" injuries and fights was to eliminate the "door buster" rush through the store entrance.

    My wife has worked (at WMT) on Thanksgiving Day for the past four years. Usually a late 2nd shift. Prior to that, it wasn't uncommon for her to be in at 3:30AM or 4:00AM Friday morning in preparation for the door busting.

    And if you want to know who really drives the retailers to have these big sales -- go to your local big box retailer and watch the shoppers. Just be sure to stand back and out of the way. They circle the special deals like wolves and pounce when the clock strikes. They bite and claw each other to get the $3.95 DVD they want. A real eye opener to the nature of the bargain hungry shopper...
    Nov 25 09:58 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • D.C. Mayor kills minimum wage hike bill [View news story]
    Yes - court resolution would have taken a long time (a whole different problem we have). Getting the desired results quickly without the foundation of the egregious activity being corrected simply kicks the can down the road. Now another city will take up the cause and try it again. If this law had been signed, WalMart would still not be building in DC and the economic impact on the city would still be making its statement. After the court action overturned the law, WalMart could have entered the DC market proving it's positive impact on the local economy.
    There is a long road before Unions change their way of thinking. However, organized labor (rank & file) just might recognize reality when they experience it first hand enough times.
    And sorry AJ, but I have a hard time making the stretch of equating Obahmacare to this law.
    Sep 13 12:07 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • D.C. Mayor kills minimum wage hike bill [View news story]
    I am glad to see someone in DC had a little reality check and realized the negative impact this bill was going to have.

    This situation involves two separate issues and there is no way the two can be addressed as one.

    1st - The issue of a $15.00/hr minimum wage. This is a social re-engineering discussion. The ramifications are wide spread...and frightening. I don't think the true discussion has even started. This law was an attempt to place the full burden of the so called "living wage" solely on the shoulders of a very narrowly focused segment of the employment marketplace. And I absolutely believe this was an attempt to bolster relationships with organized labor.

    2nd - This law was blatantly directed at one very narrow segment of the employment base - the largest retailer(s) most specifically WalMart. The discrimination could not have been any more focused. And like FinanceMinister I would have liked to see the law signed in order for it to be torn to shreds in the courts and shown for what it was.
    Sep 12 02:06 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wal-Mart EPS in-line, misses on revenues [View news story]
    Come on market is right! Performance is as close to WMTs own forcasts as anyone can get. Missed outsiders guesstimate by a penny and so the market punishes WMT for the outside analysts mistake.
    That's ok. Like you folks, I'm buying at the new discounted price! Such a deal!
    Aug 15 02:05 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wal-Mart (WMT +0.9%) says it will give up plans to expand into Washington, D.C. after the city council passed a bill to hike the minimum wage to $12.50 per hour. The controversial measure contains a provision exempting companies with unions from paying the higher minimum wage. [View news story]
    This amounts to nothing more than legislative discrimination at its finest.
    The DC council flexed its muscle and strutted around spouting it’s smack pointing its finger at one particular business entity – WalMart. WMT tried to reason with the council and when that failed they simply walked away. I can’t blame them.

    What about all of the McDonalds, Burger Kings, Taco Bells, and Denny’s? How about Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid? Pretty sure these and dozens of other DC chain businesses all gross over the 1 billion threshold and I bet their profit margins are healthy. But none of these are required to pay $12/hr wages. What about their employees? Aren’t they entitled to those same wages for the same reasons that the DC council believes WMT’s employees are? What about all of the petroleum dealers – record profits each and every quarter for years and years. Please show me an employee at the corner gas station that is making $12.

    Time for the DC council to start watching the Target and Costco stores. They will be falling under this same wage umbrella. How are these employers going to respond? How quickly will they close stores?

    With WMT pulling out, the Skyland development project will come to a grinding halt. So will the Gateway project. And as I read, a 3rd project will be spiked and it looks as though some other stores already under construction are also in jeapordy. It isn’t just the 300 to 400 jobs per store that will be lost because of this foolishness. Several hundred more jobs in each of those projects will also be lost for each store WMT doesn’t open. The project developers are on record stating these projects cannot exist without Walmart as the retail anchor. And the impact will be immediate. How many construction jobs will now be idled while the developers regroup? How many jobs will not be created because these projects won’t open? At the best, the creation of those jobs will be delayed by as much as a year or more.

    This legislation does nothing but kill jobs. It does nothing to help the unemployed and underemployed. It will, however do a great job of adding to the burden on the taxpayers (you and me) as those prospective employed individuals continue on UE and welfare assistance rolls.

    By the way, How many shelf stockers at the DC Giant Food and Safeway stores are making the $12/hr wage? Those are the union represented WMT competitors exempted from this legislation. Locally where I live, Meijer is a major regional chain and locally unionized. 200 stores averaging 200K sq.ft. Privately held. I know many that work for them at the store level. Their wages and hours are real close to the wages and hours at the WMT store where my wife has worked as an hourly sales floor employee. Hmmm.
    Jul 11 12:30 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wal-Mart (WMT) has been talking to both Wells Fargo (WFC) about Bank of America  (BAC) about managing its $15.6B 401k program, run for the last 15 years by BofA, Reuters reports. BrightScope estimates Wal-Mart has 1.2M+ people participating in its retirement plan, and that the average account balance stands at $15K. Reuters notes Wal-Mart is seen as a marquee client in the retirement plan space in spite of a small average account size, and that plan administration deals "rarely come up for grabs." [View news story]
    Wife has been an hourly employee for WMT for 18 years and loves it. She works on the sales floor - not a store or asst or zone manager. And is paid very nicely. And I can tell you it is far above minimum although that is where she started. As for WMT being the only retailer paying wages at this level or cutting hours - here where we live starting wage at every major retailer is within 20c for equal positions. They are all reducing hours and they are all hiring very few "full time" workers (other than management).
    As for construction wages - WMT doesn't hire the construction workers. They contract with a contractor who hires and pays the construction labor. WMT contracts for a specific cost - how the contractor makes it's profit is up to the contractor.
    I agree that throughout our economy, there are serious issues with the vulgar and immoral executive compensation packages that are in place with little or no performance accountability - including the performance of those you manage. But WMT is only one of thousands engaged in this practice.
    My small manufacturing company has the same types of accounts as several others in this area. And I absolutely refuse to pay the "going rate". I negotiate for the lowest cost I can for every contract. My company exists for a single purpose - make as much profit for us as we can legally and morally. I care for and provide for my employees and I value them but they know we expect maximum effort and commitment each and every day from each and every employee. If you don't bring and add that to the game our relationship will be very short lived. And frankly, my wife's biggest frustration at WMT is co-workers that don't do their job or only do it half-assed or it takes two of them to do a job that she does by herself in half the time and with better quality.
    Jun 21 10:01 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Wal-Mart (WMT) has been talking to both Wells Fargo (WFC) about Bank of America  (BAC) about managing its $15.6B 401k program, run for the last 15 years by BofA, Reuters reports. BrightScope estimates Wal-Mart has 1.2M+ people participating in its retirement plan, and that the average account balance stands at $15K. Reuters notes Wal-Mart is seen as a marquee client in the retirement plan space in spite of a small average account size, and that plan administration deals "rarely come up for grabs." [View news story]
    Witty - It is not uncommon for some of the cost of administering a retirement plan to be embedded in the fund transactions within the plan's investment options. So lower plan administration fees results in higher returns for the employee as well as lower plan costs for the employer. And this isn't a WMT thing.

    A couple of other points you might want consider...
    WFC has been seeking out other large scale plans to manage because they want to expand their business in that market. In order to get it, I'm sure they are quoting with a very sharp pencil.

    Next, it is generally accepted as a good practice to periodically review the plan costs by putting the plan administration out for bid you can.and make sure you are paying the best admin cost

    Reuters published the article this report re-posted. Pretty basic and informative and not too long. Might be good thing to read the foundation before declaring, "Piss on WMT" to the whole internet.
    Jun 20 08:01 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wal-Mart (WMT) says it won't sign an accord with European retailers over factory safety in Bangladesh, but will implement its own policies aimed at preventing the type of tragic factory collapse which killed more than a thousand workers last month. The company says it will conduct detailed safety inspections of all 279 factories it uses in Bangladesh and publish the results on its website. WMT +0.2% premarket. [View news story]
    EU businesses aren't any better at policing themselves.

    Remember, it is the EU that directed Cyprus banks to seize privately owned assets on deposit in order to "resolve" the financial crisis there that began in the private sector.
    Businesses here in America have their own issues with safety compliance. If they didn't, there would be no need to spend billions of taxpayer money for the operation of federal and state OSHA agencies.

    WMTs method of enforcing its contracts (that include safety compliance) is certain and swift. One day you are a supplier to the largest retailer in the world, and the next day you aren't - because you violated the provisions of the contract. WMTs intended method of self policing is to publish its findings to the world. Knowing full well there is an army of WMT detractors/haters that will pick those results apart looking for any fault.

    As a manufacturer, I require those that want to be my suppliers to meet my conditions. Not the conditions of some other manufacturer. I may have like or similar conditions, but they are mine. Conditions can be safety, quality, price, delivery, and compliance with laws and statutes and standards of conduction business. If as a supplier you choose not to meet those conditions, you do in fact lose my business. In some cases before I have even located someone to take your place. And by the way, don't expect me to pay for your costs to comply with the provisions of our contract. That's the cost of being in business and should be factored into your price to me.
    May 15 09:42 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wal-Mart Providing Banking To The Unbanked [View article]
    Well said Guinness...
    May 14 09:18 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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