Walmart Reports First Ever Drop In Revenue — Does Greed Finally Have A Limit?

Walmart has become the perfect symbol of the corporate greed strangling much of the planet. From putting tens of thousands of mom and pop stores out of business, union-busting, gender wage discrimination and utilizing slave labor in developing nations, Walmart has used its power to make the lives of millions of people miserable. And that’s BEFORE you include leeching billions in taxpayer money by forcing their workers to live off of government assistance. All so a handful of billionaires can get even richer.

But it looks like unrestrained greed can only get you so far:

For the first time ever – or at least since the company went public some 45 years ago – Walmart’s revenues shrank from the year before, according to its annual financial filing released Wednesday.

Walmart is clearly having trouble adapting its gigantic stores to the Internet age. To be sure, it is a retail juggernaut that brings in half a trillion dollars (that’s right, trillion) in sales every year. And with more than 11,500 stores in 28 countries,there’s no way it will disappear anytime soon.

Though Walmart shares were a safe haven in the rocky start of 2016, investors are pricing in more weakness. The stock has fallen behind retail competitors and the broader market.

In February, Walmart lowered its annual net sales growth forecast to “relatively flat,” from earlier guidance that called for an increase of as much as 4 percent (the company has pointed out that previous guidance didn’t account for currency changes, which have stung the global retailer).

Ironically, part of this drop in revenue is due to Walmart focusing less on cutting operating expenses (like those pesky “salaries” that workers are always complaining about) and actual increased the pay for 1.2 million workers earlier this year.

While a Republican might point to this and scream, “AHA! PROOF that paying the peons, I mean “valuable employees,” more is BAD for business!”, less insane people would point out that a workforce of 1.2 million people that have more money will almost certainly spend some of that money at a store that carries most of the stuff they need. Like, for instance, Walmart?

These hypothetical less crazy people might also point out that paying 1.2 million people more money would boost the economy and that a healthier economy means more people have more money to spend at places like, for instance again, Walmart. Because let’s be honest, Walmart is not paying more out of the goodness of its cold, calculating corporate heart.

It’s too much to hope that the embodiment of everything wrong with unrestrained capitalism will go out of business and, frankly, that would be an unemployment disaster, but we can hope for a steady decline and THEN a collapse. I would also be happy if Walmart’s board simply had an epiphany that crushing the middle class is not a viable long term strategy. Sure, paying a living wage would mean the shareholders would make less money but if the alternative is eventually going out of business because there’s not enough demand, it would be more than worth the short term sting.

Either way, let’s hope this dip in revenue is the start of something good for America and the world.

Featured image via AI archives