Walmart CEO: Our Customers Are Running Out Of Cash

Walmart CEO Mike Duke says the company is continuing to slash prices, but the chain’s quest to remain the cheapest big-box store may not matter to many of its customers, who are running out of money faster than usual, thanks to higher gas prices and the sluggish economy.

“We’re seeing core consumers under a lot of pressure,” Duke said at an event in New York. “There’s no doubt that rising fuel prices are having an impact.”

Wal-Mart shoppers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, typically shop in bulk at the beginning of the month when their paychecks come in.

Lately, they’re “running out of money” at a faster clip, he said.

“Purchases are really dropping off by the end of the month even more than last year,” Duke said. “This end-of-month [purchases] cycle is growing to be a concern.

Duke says the chain erred by not cutting prices aggressively enough in recent years, and that he wanted the store to be a “one-stop shopping stop” for bargain-hunting consumers — though that may not apply to anyone looking for fresh food, as Duke says rising food costs have pushed the company to hike its grocery prices.

Wal-Mart shoppers running out of money [CNNMoney]