Another “nightmare” for Walmart?

WinCo, the Idaho-headquartered, employee-owned supermarket chain, has fewer than 100 stores in just seven Western states and is just a fraction of Walmart’s size. But according to one prominent industry analyst, the company is poised for major growth and may ultimately prove to be “Walmart’s worst nightmare.”

What is it about WinCo that should be making the Walmart brass nervous? TIME magazine sums it up neatly:

“Generally speaking, shoppers tolerate Walmart’s empty shelves and subpar customer service because the prices are so good. The fact that another retailer — even a small regional one — is able to compete and sometimes beat Walmart on prices, while also operating well-organized stores staffed by workers who enjoy their jobs, like their employer and genuinely want the company to be successful? Well, that’s got to alarm the world’s biggest retailer, if not keep executives up at night.”

WinCo is expanding into new states, including Walmart stronghold Texas, starting next year. Will Mike Duke figure out the company’s in-stock and labor troubles before then so Walmart doesn’t fall behind the new competition? Or will his successor be facing challenges from scrappy rivals on top of operational problems, strikes, supply chain concerns, and the FCPA investigations?

What do you think?