Higher payroll taxes, delayed tax refunds, higher fuel costs, ongoing malaise in the jobs market – it’s all dragging on the outlook for one of the world’s largest companies, Wal-Mart.
Click here to read more from The Associated Press.
Four years after the Great Recession began, America’s poor and the lower rungs of the middle class are still hanging on by threads.
If anybody knows this, it’s Wal-Mart. The discount retailer can literally track the ebbs and flows of its sales by the very seconds people get paid.
“The Wal-Mart customer is a bit of a microcosm of the U.S. economy,” a top Wal-Mart executive once explained. (Click here to see the 2010 column I wrote about this Wal-Mart executive’s unique perspective on the economy in The Sunday Wall Street Journal.)
“You need not go further than one of our stores on midnight at the end of the month,” he said. “It’s real interesting to watch. About 11 p.m., customers start to come in and shop, fill their grocery basket with basic items, baby formula, milk, bread, eggs, and continue to shop and mill about the store until midnight, when…government electronic benefits cards get activated and then the checkout starts.”
On the plus side, the poorer America becomes, the more it needs Wal-Mart. On the minus, if America gets too poor, Wal-Mart can’t keep growing.