The Obama Depression: Even Wal-Mart Prices Are Still Too High For Shoppers

When Americans are so strapped for cash that they can’t afford to shop at WalMart, where is the recovery?

You may recall the the CEO of Wal-Mart America who recently said “shoppers are running out of money, and there is no sign of a recovery.”

Now, according to Bloomberg:

“Visits to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT)’s U.S. locations open at least a year dropped 2.6 percent from February through June, according to an internal memo, while rivals are attracting customers.

Those Wal-Mart stores had 82.8 million fewer visits through the first five months of the company’s fiscal year than a year earlier, says the memo, which was obtained by Bloomberg News. Wal-Mart doesn’t disclose those traffic numbers, and David Tovar, a spokesman, declined to comment on the memo.

Wal-Mart’s plan to recapture customers by returning thousands of products to U.S. store shelves has failed to reverse a decline in foot traffic at the world’s largest retailer, said Jeff Stinson, an analyst at Cleveland Research Co. That’s primarily because Wal-Mart’s core low-income customers are shopping less and going to other retailers more often, according to two recent shopper surveys.

“The biggest issue remains weak store traffic,” Stinson wrote in a July 14 report. “We believe sales have slowed in the second quarter and are running below plan primarily due to further traffic declines.” The Cleveland-based analyst rates the shares “neutral.”

Wal-Mart, led by Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke, is restoring an average of 8,500 products to its stores to lure back shoppers still pinched by persistent unemployment and gas prices that have risen 36 percent in the past year. Sales in U.S. Wal-Mart stores open at least 12 months have declined for eight straight quarters.



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