In this file:


·         Warren Buffett just dumped Walmart, does it signal the death of retail as we know it?

"Retailing is like shooting at a moving target," Warren Buffett said in 2005, questioning whether it' possible to save a retailer once the rot sets in.


·         Walmart Combines Buying Operations

·         Walmart expands free shipping

·         Walmart: 'It doesn't matter who occupies the White House'



Warren Buffett just dumped Walmart, does it signal the death of retail as we know it?

"Retailing is like shooting at a moving target," Warren Buffett said in 2005, questioning whether it' possible to save a retailer once the rot sets in.


The Timaru Herald (New Zealand)



Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway just sold off US$900 million (NZ$1.25 billion) of Walmart stock, choosing to invest billions in airline stocks instead.


The sale, which leaves Buffett with nearly no shares in Walmart, comes as America's largest traditional retailer has been rushing to catch up to Amazon and other online competitors.


Amazon's market value is now US$356b, compared with Walmart's US$298b. Buffett last year acknowledged that traditional brick-and-mortar retailers were struggling in the face of competition from the e-commerce giant.


"It is a big, big force and it has already disrupted plenty of people and it will disrupt more," Buffett said at his annual shareholders' meeting in 2016, according to Bloomberg. Buffett's been paring his stake in Walmart since then. He first bought shares in the retailer back in 2005.


 He also noted that Amazon's competitors, "including us in a few areas, have not figured the way to either participate in it, or to counter it".


Since the end of 2014, Walmart shares have fallen 21 per cent compared with a 119 per cent jump in Amazon.


Former Walmart CEO Mike Duke admitted in 2012 that his biggest regret as CEO was not investing more in e-commerce to better compete with Amazon.


"I wish we had moved faster. We've proven ourselves to be successful in many areas, and I simply wonder why we didn't move more quickly. This is especially true for e-commerce," Duke said at the time.


"Right now we're making tremendous progress, and the business is moving, but we should have moved faster to expand this area."


While Walmart has since invested billions in e-commerce, it still holds a tiny share of the market compared with Amazon.


Walmart's online sales were US$13.7b in 2015, compared to Amazon's US$107b. Walmart is still ahead in overall sales with US$482b, four times bigger than Amazon's revenue.


Buffett's retail instincts have proven correct before when he correctly predicted the downfall of Sears and Kmart in 2005...


more, including links



Walmart Combines Buying Operations

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. NYSE: WMT


By Rakim Reid, Eastern Daily News

February 15, 2017


Walmart will mesh its buying operations to combat Amazon.


Right now, the retailer’s physical store and online buying teams operate separately. The physical store retailer wants to make the buying process easier for all involved. Plus, it desires to facilitate better coordination between its teams.


Furthermore, Walmart wants to get the lowest price for its online store, too.


This info comes from vendors that work with Walmart.


CEO Doug McMillon and new e-commerce head Marc Lore want to compete head-to-head with Amazon. Really, they want to become more competitive in U.S. e-commerce.


Walmart tell suppliers of the change at the end of this week.


Walmart’s buying team will increase the number of products available online. One way they will do this will be to make the same items available online and in a physical store.


“The way it operated until now was extremely inefficient for us and them,” a large consumer goods supplier told Reuters. “For example, they would buy 5 million cases a year for stores and 500 cases (for) online and then make us go through a different buyer for online. It was a nuisance.”


The physical store giant expanded its online assortment recently.


The inventory went from 8 million items last year to over 20 million now. Amazon, however, has 300 million items online. Nevertheless, Walmart continues to go toe-to-toe with Amazon.


Most recently, it was within the shipping space. Walmart started a program to compete with Amazon’s free two-day shipping. The company offers free two day shipping to all customers for orders over $35.


Pundits believe the company should go further. That is, Walmart should offer free shipping with no spending limits...





Walmart expands free shipping


By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, The Associated Press

via The Pueblo Chieftain (CO) - Jan 31, 2017


NEW YORK -- Walmart has opened free two-day shipping to all customers with a minimum $35 in purchases, dropping a paid membership program. The retailer previously reserved free two-day shipping for its ShippingPass membership, which cost $49 a year.


The retailer on Tuesday also said it would reduce shipping time to two days on 2 million of its most popular items including essentials like diapers and pet food as well hot toys and Electronics. Walmart's average shipping time has been three to five days.


The $35 spending needed for free shipping is down from $50.


Walmart's ShippingPass had allowed members to buy more than a million items for free shipping at Last year, it trimmed its shipping time frame to two days from three, and it cut the annual fee by a dollar to $49. Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart said the service worked well, but that it concluded shoppers shouldn't have to pay a membership fee for free shipping.


The strategy shift is one of the first big moves by's CEO Mark Lore, who joined the company when Walmart bought online retailer last year. And it's an illustration of how Walmart is trying to figure out a way to compete with Amazon and its dominant Prime plan...





Walmart: 'It doesn't matter who occupies the White House'


Madeleine Cuff, Senior Reporter, BusinessGreen

via GreenBiz - February 15, 2017


On Nov.4, just a few days before the U.S. presidential election, the science-based targets movement officially went mainstream.


It was the date the world's largest retailer, Walmart, announced an emissions reduction plan approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI) to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 18 percent by 2025, compared to 2015 levels, and source 50 percent renewable energy by the same date.


Walmart was just the 26th company to get the seal of approval from the SBTI, and the first retailer to secure the accolade. It was seen as a major coup for the SBTI to land the world's largest retailer less than two years after the scheme's launch, but why was Walmart so keen to jump on board?


It was the "increased emphasis" in the corporate world on science-based targets, including from its own suppliers, that convinced Walmart to take the leap, Fred Bedore, senior director of business strategy and sustainability at Walmart, told BusinessGreen.


"Many leading suppliers of ours and other businesses large and small have really seen the value of working to improve the resilience and address these issues of emissions further back in the supply chain, because they understand that it makes good business sense," he explained. "And seeing the framework that was developed around science-based targets and the number of stakeholders of ours that we have worked with historically that were involved, we took a hard look at it and decided ultimately it was right for us to set one."


Walmart is no stranger to sustainability goals. In 2005, then-CEO Lee Scott announced an aspirational goal of sourcing 100 percent renewable energy, as well as plans to double its fleet efficiency in the U.S. by 2015 and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent. It met the two latter goals in 2015 and 2013 respectively, and as of December 2015 sources 25 percent of its energy from renewables.


Five years later, in 2010, it pledged to cut 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its global supply chain by 2015, a target it met ahead of the deadline.


But science-based targets are a different kettle of fish to voluntary goals...


more, including links