Friday headline roundup

Less amazing than Amazon: The world’s biggest retailer is stumbling. Its genial new boss needs to prove he can push through hard changes. (The Economist, 2/1/14)

Whether Mr McMillon is the right man to do all this is not clear. He knows Walmart well and has the confidence of the Walton family, which holds a majority of the shares. He is a consummate company man. The question is whether he loves it enough to force it to change.


Decades of Greed: Behind the Scenes With An Angry Walmart Manager (Gawker, 2/6/14)

Do you know how hard it is to go to someone that make $8.85 an hour and tell him, sorry but I have to cut you down to 25.5 hours. These people can barely pay their rent as it is and with no notice we cut their hours. The root problem besides greed is that Walmart’s culture changed drastically with Sam Walton’s death and the departure of David Glass as our CEO and Tom Coughlin.


One Problem Holding Walmart Back from Financial Greatness, in Four Vines (Belus Capital, 2/3/14)

There you have it friends, a “corporate earnings warning” decoded. Wal-Mart just issued a corporate earnings warning, one that should have been seen since the silly commentary on how Black Friday ended up.  Believe me when I say there are all sorts of reasons for this profit shortfall from the Bentonville Bruiser.  However, a key issue I continue to observe and chronicle on the company is this: over-ordering of seasonal, non-discretionary merchandise. Could be Christmas or Thanksgiving swag, or as shown in the Vines below Valentine’s Day gear.  Whatever, the fact is that Wal-Mart’s arrogance that its low prices will tempt a mom dealing with SNAP benefit cuts to splurge on a giant, stuffed Valentine Day’s bear continues to cause unplanned markdowns that are preventing Wal-Mart from sharing better stories with investors.


Why Did Obama Go to Costco? Our Wage Calculator Explains (Mother Jones, 1/29/14)

Our calculator shows why Obama chose the home of the giant pickle jar and behemoth TP package: Even at the relatively low wages paid by big-box retailers, slightly better pay can mean the difference between inescapable poverty and a modest living.


What do you think?