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Why Wal-Mart Really Needs Food Stamps

Why Wal-Mart Really Needs Food Stamps
Photograph by Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Wal-Mart is facing some tough times. The world’s largest retailer on Thursday announced its third straight quarter of falling same-store sales, an important measure of any chain’s well-being.

There are lots of reasons why fewer shoppers went to Walmart, dragging the metric down 0.3 percent this time, and those who turned up spent less. Some customers seem to be taking their business to dollar stores in search of even lower everyday prices. Some are frustrated because Walmart doesn’t always have enough workers to keep its shelves well stocked. Others are feeling the effects of payroll tax increases. Consumers are also hesitant to buy what they don’t necessarily need because they’re still anxious about the economy and their jobs. And then there was the government shutdown.