Walmart discloses in its annual report how a reduction in food stamps offered by the government will negatively affect its business.
Walmart shoppers are particularly sensitive to fluctuations in the price of gas, to small tax increases or to anything that adds another $20 burden to a household in any given week. Budgets are tight and getting tighter all the time, in spite of a slowly recovering economy.
Walmart is hardly the only retailer to be affected by a reduction in SNAP benefits, or to say so in financial documents. The dollar store segment is also vulnerable. Roughly $4 billion in SNAP benefits were vaporized, money that was once spent at U.S. stores, not just at Walmart. This was bad news for shoppers and retailers, across multiple channels.
As one grocery executive said in an online retail forum regarding the issue, “This cut hurts all of our sales, not just Walmart, let me make that clear. The struggle is universal for retailers, and sales are down around 8-10% since the first of the year.”
I’m not a fan of criticizing other reporters or publications, but these headlines are designed to get clicks, to be shared, to fan the flames of outrage. In this case, it’s a false and very misplaced outrage.
Walmart didn’t just reveal how poor its customers really are, it revealed just how poor so many U.S. shoppers are.