NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Walmart (WMT) has a tendency to make splashy announcements when it has a major new initiative. At its annual shareholder event each year that is full of pomp and circumstance, Walmart execs will share interesting facts and figures on slick-looking PowerPoint slides. The strange thing, as it pertains to all of this in-your-face activity, is that the company rarely updates investors on the progress of these major new initiatives! It's as if investors are left gauging progress on pet projects by studying three quarters of sales and margin trends but, by then, they are underwater in their position following the latest disappointing earnings outlook (commonplace for Walmart since early 2013...).
Here is the buried treasure I have discovered on Walmart, developments that have been lost in the sauce but, theoretically, are still receiving attention by the executive team and less senior workers.
OCTOBER 2012: INVESTOR DAY
Development: Walmart commits to investing $6 billion in lower prices through 2017 ($2 billion through 2014), mostly in food and consumables.
What has happened since: U.S. same-store sales were negative in each month of 2013, indicating that: (1) Walmart has not lowered prices enough in the real-time price discovery market that is online and Amazon (AMZN) led; and (2) the announcement by Walmart has caused Target (TGT), Best Buy (BBY), JC Penney (JCP), and others to become more competitive on price. As a result, Walmart hasn't gained its desired market share. If Walmart was gaining market share on a consistent basis, the bottom line is that same-store sales wouldn't be negative for four straight quarters.