Walmart: First Holiday Sales Slump in a Decade.

Walmart is announcing its first November sales slump in a decade, “In a season of what has been pretty healthy numbers from retailers, Wal-Mart has been lackluster, to say the least,” said Adrianne Shapira, an analyst at Goldman Sachs. “Houston, there is a problem.”

Lame jokes from Goldman Sachs aside: What the hell is wrong with Walmart?

The Times lists several possibilities, including the fact that in a world where Walmart’s average customer is “5-foot-2 and wears a size 14” Walmart expanded its “urban” clothing line—featuring tapered, tight-fitting skinny jeans. Bad idea.

And then there’s the whole layaway thing:

“By ending layaway plans, which allowed low-income shoppers to make purchases in installments, the chain freed up the store space and employees.But it also upset shoppers like Michele Kahindi, a 30-year-old mother of three who lives in Portland, Ore.

Eliminating the program “hinders a mom’s ability to hide stuff from the kids,” she said. “I don’t get it. Now Kmart is going to get my layaway business.”

Meanwhile, Target is growing by leaps and bounds… stealing Walmart’s customers and not giving them back. —MEGHANN MARCO(Thanks, jp!)

Wal-Mart Trips as It Changes a Bit Too Fast
[New York Times]