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]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Falconfire says:

    the only store shopping I did this year was in Target. My mom I think went to Walmart, but it was just for a Wii which they sold out of.

  2. daberkman says:

    Walmart needs to expand. Perhaps Khmer Rouge jeans and a stalinist cap to go with the nazi t-shirt line?

  3. ElizabethD says:

    WalMarts clothes suck. Their store designs are cheesy and unappealing.

    KMart has done some clever branding (Martha Stewart line, etc.).

    Target is the original retail genius with its attractive, inexpensive house brands (clothing) and inviting, hip store design — without overdoing it — so that both upscale shoppers and budget-conscious peeps feel comfortable and happy going there.

  4. WindowSeat says:

    There’s plenty of reasons to not shop at Walmart and the only thing I do buy there is birdseed (I go through about 200 lbs. a month), but it all boils down to one thing for me; Walmarts are dirty and cramped and Targets are clean and easy to navigate.

  5. Metschick says:

    Walmarts are dirty and cramped and Targets are clean and easy to navigate.

    Yup, that’s the biggest reason I go to Target and not Walmart, even though Target is farther away. I hate feeling cramped up while I’m shopping, it takes away the fun of browsing around.

  6. Trai_Dep says:

    I live in Los Angeles, so all the girls I know are 0s or 1s, a couple fatties at 2s or 3s… 14s? Wow, ladies, that’s why gods made the index finger and cocaine!

    The GUYS on the other hand, bunch of gut-bellied slobs. What’s with that? Why do girls put up with that?!

    Okay sarcasm off. Ya think Wal-Mart would realize that coasts are different than midwest and adjust merchandizing accordingly. Really dumb.

  7. FLConsumer says:

    Don’t forget the part where Wal-Mart may only have 2-4 (out of 36) cash registers open at any time. Target almost always has 5+ going.

    Also, the average Wal-Mart customer is a size 14?!? Doubtful, the whales bumping into everyone in the motorized carts are far more than that, with those waddling behind regular carts are still > size 14.

  8. adamondi says:

    Whenever I go to Wal-Mart, browsing is the absolute last thing on my mind. I treat it like a Navy Seal mission. Plan the op in advance, get in, accomplish the objective, and get the heck out. And make sure not to leave anyone behind. We treat all other shoppers and potential hostiles.

    Target is a completely different experience. I almost always end up spending more time and money in Target than I had intended to when I arrived. I don’t even feel the constant urge to incapacitate other shoppers like I do at Wal-Mart.

  9. adamondi says:

    “and potential hostiles” should read “AS potential hostiles.”

  10. Yah, Target is evil. You go in their planning to get one or two things, next thing you know, you have just dropped over $100.

    True story: I went in just for a shower curtain, then came across all this inexpensive stuff that I forgot I needed, or thought was a good deal.

    Love ya though, Target.

  11. billhelm says:

    Very interesting. I live in Minnesota, which is dominated by Target (HQ is here), and I don’t know many people that regularly shop at Wal-Mart. Though they have been opening a lot of stores.

  12. Frank Grimes says:

    I work for a shipping company and I was doing some reporting and looking at some containers coming into Houston. I though it was odd that there was 16 containers full of exercise equipment coming into one location, who the hell is this all for? Off course Wal-Mart (by volume our number one customer). They may be slipping but we have NEVER moved more of their containers in a given year with big growth projected for next year. By 2010 we’ll also be moving 70K container a year for Ikea…retail loves Asia and so do we.

  13. etinterrapax says:

    I wonder if there’s been a significant change in how people perceive stores based on appearance. Dirty, I can’t quibble with, but Wal-Mart’s philosophy of having a ton of cheap merchandise on the sales floor worked until fairly recently. Until the rise of Pottery Barn and its clutter-free aesthetic? I’ll just bet. I know that the sheer size and scale and number of people in a Wal-Mart are turnoffs to me. It amuses me that they perceive this to be their advantage. I prefer stores the way stores do not: quiet, clean, and with about five shoppers per 100K square feet.

    Target has long had a “next in line” policy, also, wherein if you are not the next person in line, they will open more registers. I found this out when I worked at Wal-Mart, which had a three-in-line policy. I don’t think they still do. Their practice of pulling cashiers from the sales floor hurts floor sales. When I worked in a department, I had two choices: go to the front when called and risk angering the customer I was helping, or not go and risk angering the CSM. Who needs that much stress at $6.50 an hour?