It's no secret that healthy foods cost more. Both Whole Foods and Fresh Market cater to the affluent shopper. Walmart is known for exactly the opposite. With recent reports suggesting that the organic and natural food market is expected to grow to $80 billion in the next two years, Walmart deserves credit for exposing its shoppers to healthy eating and for making it affordable.
But the company's critics won't ever see it that way. They will complain about how discounting Wild Oats by 25% will undercut Sprouts and possibly Natural Grocers. Some will bemoan this even though organic food retailers have leveraged the fact that their offerings are scarce, which lets them charge higher prices.
But again, how is this Walmart's fault?
Even though it is one of the largest employers in the country, it is considered by many to be "bad for American business." Amazon, which employs similar business tactics to Walmart, has fought for years to avoid paying taxes. By contrast, Walmart is one the largest taxpayers in the U.S.
It's disappointing that the company's critics can't make this correlation. For now, I continue to like the stock as an investment.
Yes, shares have been lackluster since the start of the year. But with the company's continued operational improvements and a recovering economy, patient investors should expect shares to approach the $85 range by the second half of the year.
At the time of publication, the author held no position in any of the stocks mentioned.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.