Those three retail rivals, between them, are just 60% of Wal-Mart's size. With nearly $470 billion in sales last year, the needle is just hard to move for Wal-Mart.
Consider. Between 2011 and 2012 Wal-Mart sales grew about $23 billion. Sounds great, but it's barely 5%, the same growth rate as Target. Kroger sales grew just $6 billion, but that's 6% growth. Costco's $10 billion sales gain was still 11% growth.Then there is the cost of maintaining that size, and engineering that growth:
- Wal-Mart is facing increasing resistance when it tries to shoehorn new "supercenters" into crowded cities. There are two such protests going on a few miles from my Atlanta home, with a lawsuit filed in Decatur, Creative Loafing reports, and a neighborhood group fighting a proposed store in intown Atlanta, according to East Atlanta Patch. (I am secretary to the group covering an adjacent neighborhood.)
- Wal-Mart said this week it will halt plans to build three new stores in Washington D.C. over a "living wage" bill passed by the city council there, The Washington Post reports.
- Wal-Mart's wages are under general attack by congressional Democrats, who claim they amount to a $1 million a year subsidy by taxpayers of each store.
- When a clothing factory burned down in Bangladesh, it was Wal-Mart that became the chief target, the Huffington Post reported.
- Wal-Mart's efforts to penetrate the Mexican market resulted in a huge bribery scandal. Forbes estimated its cost at $4.5 billion.