Walmart Closing Hundreds of Stores. Surprised? Here's Why You Shouldn't Be...
As much fun as we all enjoy making at Walmart's expense (have you Googled "people of walmart"? Don't do it on a full stomach), this is indeed sad news for the 10,000 or so employees who will lose their jobs. It's also sad for those residents who lived near those Walmarts who will have to wear pants as they shop. It's a tragedy all around. #ShoppingWithPants
Yes that was a cheap shot at the shoppers of Walmart. Doesn't make it less true.
Conspicuously absent from reports of these Walmarts closing is its recent feel-good campaign to raise minimum wages (which we wrote about in August: Walmart Pressued into Raising Minimum Wage. Guess what Happened Next?). Instead, reports give us this:
More than 95 percent of the stores set to be closed in the U.S. are within 10 miles of another Walmart. The Bentonville, Arkansas, company said it is working to ensure that workers are placed in nearby locations.
The store closures will start at the end of the month.
The announcement comes three months after Walmart Stores Inc. CEO Doug McMillon told investors that the world's largest retailer would review its fleet of stores with the goal of becoming more nimble in the face of increased competition from all fronts, including from online rival Amazon.com.
Walmarts within ten miles of each other? Okay, I guess that sort of makes sense for smaller towns. But it's not unheard of to have a Walmart in one town, then you trot down the road to the next one if they don't have your brand of lip-liner. But okay, Walmart isn't Starbucks. I get it.
Secondly, yes, Amazon.com is kicking butt in the retail world. Because, as stated earlier, one doesn't need to always wear pants when one shops digitally. Which has never stopped a determined Walmart shopper. #FreeTheThighs
As comfortable as Walmart shoppers obviously are in their own skin, Amazon.com shoppers can shop from their couches. Or their futons. Bean bag chairs--for you college graduates with gender studies degrees who cannot find a job. I feel you. Hey, it's possible your Walmart is closing too, so they're totally not going to call you back on that job application. Not a good day for you.
Of course Walmart employees don't have degrees in gender studies. They're too smart for that.
Aside from the location problems, aside from the lack of Prime membership which allows you to stream movies, music, and use free two day shipping (ahem), do we also think that Walmart's raising its minimum wage might have had something to do with it? Maybe just a little? A tiny bit?
Because back in August it did. Back in August, as reported in our August post, Walmart gave three reasons for massive layoffs: theft, weaker dollar, higher wages.
But all these store closings to take place by the end of the month? It's all Amazon's fault. Damn Jeff Bezos and his Kindles. Take your two day shipping and shove it. But make sure it's bubble-wrapped first. I like to pop them.
What Walmart can teach everyone is quite simple: Make sound business decisions, which include being competitive not just with technology, but price models. Not just for your smiley faced rollbacks, but your Walmart greeters. If you want to raise wages for the feels and the political points, then sure, you'll get the feels and the political points. But if you're goal is to make money in an increasingly competitive retail market, sort your priorities. For as often as people cite how wonderful it is when companies raise the minimum wage, those same people shop where they can get the best deal. For themselves. Because they're greedy bastards who want to keep more of their money. Just like the business they pressured into raising their minimum wage. See also McDonalds.
See how that works? When it comes down to it, everyone is a private capitalist looking for the best deal. Heck, even avowed socialist Bernie Sanders is a cheap tipper...because he wanted to keep his money.