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Walmart Spring 2009 Essay

2449 words - 10 pages

When Sam Walton opened the first Wal-Mart in Rogers, Arkansas in 1962, he never expected his discount store to ever become the nation’s No. 1 retailer. In May of 1971, after being officially incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Wal-Mart began selling shares as a publicly-held company and its stock experienced its first 100% split, at a market price of $47.
By 1990, Wal-Mart had become the nation’s No. 1 retailer and by the end of the decade, the largest private employer in the world, with 1.14 million associates. Soon after, H. Lee Scott Jr. was appointed as the third CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. In 2005, Scott introduced the company’s new commitment to bring environmental sustainability ...view middle of the document...

Although Wal-Mart is known for selling national brands at unbeatable prices, its new store brand products will most likely prove to be more profitable for the company (Cheng, Retailers Try New Tricks Amid Global Downturn, 2009). In fact, 59% of consumers are now looking beyond traditional supermarkets to do their main grocery shopping. Compared to a year ago, one in every three say they are purchasing more store brand products, and 38% attribute this change to the improvement of the quality of store brands (GfK Custom Research North America, 2009). This is good news for Wal-Mart even after the recession because its new customers are very likely to return.
One might ask why other discount retailers are not doing as well as Wal-Mart then. Recent news reveals that Wal-Mart’s major competitor, Target reported that quarterly income was down 41%, a loss that is due to unpaid credit-card (Anderson, 2009). Furthermore, Target is becoming more aggressive in its efforts to make a comeback and even outperform the rival whose shadow it’s been under for so long and hopes to change consumers' perception that its products are pricier than those at Wal-Mart (Cheng, Wal-Mart Posts February Sales, Hikes Dividend , 2009). This suggests a positive reputation for Wal-Mart and the reason behind its distinctive success during the poor state of the economy. According to Britt Beemer, CEO of America's Research Group, "Retail is a game of momentum, and whoever has the momentum wins. ... Consumers are only spending what they have to spend, and Wal-Mart is the store they believe is going to give them the best value" (The Charlotte Observer, 2008).
Wal-Mart released better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings, but one would not understand this without knowing the situation. Due to the stronger dollar in its international business and millions in recent labor lawsuit settlements, profit fell 7.4% to $3.79 billion, or $0.96 per share. Without these indictments, however, Wal-Mart would have beat Wall Street estimates and earned $1.03 per share. Nevertheless, total sales rose 1.7%, same-store sales rose 2.8%, and impressively U.S. sales rose 6% (Wal-Mart Earnings Beat Expectations, 2009). For fiscal year 2009, net sales increased 7.2% over the previous year, and profit increased 3%. Astonishingly, Mike Duke declared that "Wal-Mart recorded the strongest sales result in its history in the fourth quarter, with $108 billion in sales. … We finished the year with a strong balance sheet, record free cash flow of $11.6 billion and great inventory management. Our company created approximately 63,000 jobs worldwide this year, including more than 33,000 in the United States. In addition, Wal-Mart remains well-positioned to continue to serve its customers in a challenging environment because of its strong price leadership (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2009)"
February saw same-store sales jump again, this time surpassing double the average expected by analysts – 5.1%. US sales also beat...

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