Why Walmart’s retail empire is falling apart, as sales fall off and more than 300 stores shut down
On a recent day, as hundreds of people lined up to buy goods at Walmart’s warehouse in Bentonville, Arkansas, a Walmart spokesperson explained why the company had shuttered more than 350 stores across the U.S. last year, citing “global competition, low demand, and the impact of a changing climate.”
The company announced last week that it was closing or relocating more than 100 stores in the U., Canada, and Australia.
And in the United Kingdom, the retailer announced last month that it had shut down nearly 1,500 stores, as the economy suffered from a severe recession.
Walmart has been a key driver of the U and U.K. economies.
The retail giant’s stores were instrumental in boosting the U’s economy in the early 1990s.
As more and more people shopped at Walmart, the company was able to tap into the wealth of its customers, and in turn, helped create the jobs it has long promised to provide.
However, as more and all of its stores were shuttered, the U, U.k., and Australia also suffered from the effects of the global economic downturn, according to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank.
The U.s. economy grew more slowly in the years following the financial crisis of 2008, while the UK. and Australia saw a slower growth rate.
Walmart’s CEO, Doug McMillon, said last week at a press conference that the company planned to invest $2.6 billion to expand its retail footprint and bring in more employees.
But it appears that many of the retailer’s stores have been closing in the face of declining sales and lower profits, according a report published by the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
The report says that the number of U. S. stores closed in 2017 dropped from 1,000 to 800, while that number in Australia decreased from 600 to 50.
“The closure of many Walmart stores in 2018 has been due in part to a decline in consumer demand for products such as apparel, toys, and other consumer goods,” the report said.
According to the report, a majority of Walmart stores closed last year.
Walmart was also the largest U.N. contributor in the 2020 Rio+20 climate change conference, spending nearly $10 billion in total, the majority of which went to climate change research.
“Waste, corruption, and predatory pricing have been endemic to Walmart’s business model,” the study stated.
According the report by the economic policy institute, Walmart’s sales dropped in 2017 from $6.2 billion to $5.8 billion.
But the company has also made significant changes to its corporate culture and strategy in recent years.
Walmart employees were able to unionize in 2017, and it has recently hired hundreds of thousands of new workers to improve efficiency, according the report.
“We are focused on building Walmart into a sustainable business,” the CEO said last year during his State of the Walmart address.
The retailer has also instituted a new corporate culture that emphasizes “innovation, transparency, and collaboration,” according to the company.
The company is also working to “increase customer engagement” and provide more benefits to employees, such as health care, according McMillon.
The corporation recently unveiled its new CEO, Michael Duke, and his plan to improve the company’s image.
“Walmart is a leader in our industry, and we are thrilled to welcome Michael Duke to the board,” said company CEO Doug McMillion in a statement.
“He has a long history of success in the retail sector, and will continue to make bold decisions that align with our mission to build a better future.”
The corporation announced plans in May for a “global, strategic transformation,” and has pledged to spend $1.5 billion to hire 1,800 new workers by 2020.
The Walmart CEO also pledged to “create more than 1,100 new full- and part-time positions for the U of A, AU, and Australian governments.”
The retail chain’s CEO said he plans to expand the company to 100 million square feet, and that the goal is to reach 50 million square foot stores by 2021.
Walmart is also looking to expand distribution to more countries, and is investing in online retail and video distribution, according Duke.