Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wal-Mart Needs New Reporting Model

Wal-Mart (WMT) reported Q2 results and hit the top of their guidance. They patted themselves on the back and claimed strong headwinds and the fact that consumers have shrinking pocket books. They continue with the standard retail model of same store sales comparison, foreign vs. domestic comparisons and then excluding the volatile fuel component.

Is this an adequate way to analyze Wal-Mart. The big issues are consumer pocket books, pricing and foreign exchange rates. The reporting should evolve to an econometric model where you compare results in relation to local economic activity.

For example if employment grows say in the state of Minnesota how well did the stores in Minnesota do. If GDP in India grows surprising well how is the new wholesale unit in India doing.

When you play this large a game reporting models developed decades ago no longer provide clarity.