Even Wal-Mart gets the blues

Cutbacks in discretionary spending take their toll, even at the "low-price leader"


Andrew Leonard
January 8, 2009 7:26PM (UTC)

While other retail chains stumbled as the current recession dug in, Wal-Mart continued to report strong sales numbers. Its performance made sense -- when times get tight, price does make a difference, and love Wal-Mart or hate it, you can't deny that the company features low prices.

But no longer: The lead story on both the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times' Web sites on Thursday morning tell us that Wal-Mart is also beginning to hurt. According to the Financial Times, Wal-Mart reported "that fourth quarter sales were below expectations and that it would downgrade its earnings forecast."

Advertisement:

What does that really mean? You can get a deliciously visceral sense of just what kind of role Wal-Mart has played in the U.S. economy over the last quarter-century from a nifty data-visualization gizmo produced by FlowingData that documents the spread of new Wal-Mart stores across the country, year-by-year. (Thanks to Felix Salmon for the link.)

(I originally embedded the data-visualization doohicky in this post, but deleted it after reports that browsers were crashing. You can find it )


Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

MORE FROM Andrew LeonardFOLLOW koxinga21LIKE Andrew Leonard

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Globalization Great Recession How The World Works U.s. Economy Wal-mart

BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••






Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •