Walmart Sings the Winter Fiscal Blues, The Price Is Not Right and Fast Food Wages Not Right?

Walmart’s frosty earnings…

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane/

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane/

It’s official! Walmart is following the trend of blaming the weather for its lower than expected quarterly revenues. It also pointed to a higher than expected tax rate. But really, mostly the weather because that is the trendy thing to do now when announcing quarterly earnings. And if Walmart is blaming the weather, then you can be darn sure of…well, nothing. The retail giant posted $114.2 billion in revenue and while that was actually an increase over last year at this time, it was still below the $116.3 billion that analysts were expecting. Their net income was down about 5% to $3.58 billion. Wall Street was thinking Walmart would pull in $.05 more per share. Oh well. But Mother Nature couldn’t touch the 27% gains the retail behemoth made on e-commerce. Stay tuned for next quarter when we get to see how Walmart is fiscally faring with their foray into organics.

The land of plenty is starting to cost a-plenty (as if it didn’t already)…

Image courtesy of Kittisak/

Image courtesy of Kittisak/

There are ominous signs – though some would argue those signs are positive – that inflation may be picking up as the economy recovers. The Consumer Price Index has risen by 0.3%. What that means are plenty of things, but mainly that stuff is costing more because more people are working and have more money to buy stuff. It’s a vicious tricky cycle. Big companies don’t want to suffer too much from those price increases so they are industriously – though not to your advantage – sneaking those price increases into their merchandise. But at least the number of people filing for unemployment benefits is only 297,000. Yes that is good news because a) that number is 24,000 less than the previous week and b) that is the lowest figure in SEVEN years. And none of those fancy shmancy economical experts predicted that low of a number.

Fast food running slow?

Image courtesy of rakvatchada torsap/

Image courtesy of rakvatchada torsap/

If you’re jonesing for some fast food today, you might have a hard time satisfying that urge.  Fast food workers are apparently protesting in 150 US cities and also in 30 different countries including Japan, Germany and the UK.  The employees want their wages upped to $15/hour and they want the right to unionize. While President Obama wants a minimum wage increase of $10.10, and many states have already started to raise their minimum wage, others argue that a move like that could backfire and actually adversely affect how many people get hired (and fired). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fast food workers earn about $9 per hour and working full time comes out to $18,880 a year. The Congressional Budget Office says a minimum wage increase could mean anywhere from a “very slight reduction” in jobs lost to one million jobs lost. How’s that for an estimate?


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