Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had the worst sales start to a month in seven years as payroll-tax increases hit shoppers already battling a slow economy, according to internal emails obtained by Bloomberg News.
“In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February MTD sales are a total disaster,” Jerry Murray, Walmart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 email to other executives, referring to month-to-date sales. “The worst start to a month I have seen in my 7 years with the company.”
Walmart and Family Dollar Stores Inc. are bracing for a rise in the payroll tax to take a bigger bite from paychecks of shoppers dealing with elevated unemployment.
The world’s largest retailer’s struggles come after executives expected a strong start to February, according to the minutes of a Feb. 1 officers meeting.
Murray’s comments about February sales follow disappointing results from January, a month that Cameron Geiger, senior vice president, said he was relieved to see end, according to a separate internal email obtained by Bloomberg.
“Have you ever had one of those weeks where your best-prepared plans weren’t good enough to accomplish everything you set out to do?” Geiger asked in a Feb. 1 email to executives.
“Well, we just had one of those weeks here at Walmart U.S. Where are all the customers? And where’s their money?”