New Wal-Mart U.S. CEO faces a long list of pressing problems

|By:, SA News Editor

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.