Wal Mart's Business Environment When Most People Essay

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Wal Mart's Business Environment

When most people think of Wal Mart, they will often associate it with the various stores around the globe. This has helped the company to establish a major presence inside the retail marketplace. However, the challenges with the economy and competitive pressures have been impacting the business environment of the firm. To fully understand what is taking place there will be a focus on: the company's financial information, what was learned, how this can be used by management, the firm's financial health, the effects of globalization, examining benchmarks, the best practices, operational and products analysis. Together, these different elements will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the firm. ("2012 Annual Report," 2012)

Review Wal Mart's income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow to determine the financial health of the company.

Wal Mart is in a strong financial position in contrast with their top competitors. The company has more revenues, cash, debt and free cash flow. Evidence of this can be seen by looking at the below table which is highlighting their fiscal position in comparison with Costco and Target.

Wal Mart's Pecuniary Position vs. Costco and Target

Company

Revenues

Cash Position

Debt

Operating Cash Flow

Wal Mart

$464.41 billion

$8.64 billion

$57.46 billion

$27.25 billion

Costco

$99.14 billion

$4.58 billion

$1.56 billion

$3.06 billion

Target

$71.86 billion

$1.47 billion

$18.55 billion

$5.81 billion

("2011 Annual Report," 2011) ("2012 Annual Report," 2012) ("Annual Report," 2011)

These figures are showing how Wal Mart is in a much stronger financial position in comparison with Costco and Target.

What have I learned about the Wal Mart by reviewing each statement?

After reviewing each financial statement, it is clear that Wal Mart is many times stronger than Costco and Target. This is because the company has more stores; they are focused on decreasing their operating costs and improving their revenues / cash position. The combination of these factors is helping Wal Mart to maintain and increase its dominance among the discount retailers. Over the course of time, this helps the firm to be able to adapt with changes in the economy and consumer demand. In many ways, one could argue that this allows them to remain competitive and address a host of challenges they are facing. ("2011 Annual Report," 2011) ("2012 Annual Report," 2012) ("Annual Report," 2011)

Is there information in any of these documents that is of a concern? If so, describe what it is and what it concerns.

The biggest concern is that Costco and Target are continuing to open retail locations. This is troubling, as these kinds of challenges will have an adverse impact on the costs and bottom line results of these firms. The reason why is from the economy facing tremendous difficulties with stagnant consumer spending and increasing costs in energy prices. The combination of these factors is creating a situation where these two companies could disappoint investors by engaging in overly aggressive activities. Moreover, they are opening in areas where Wal Mart has at least one of their retail locations or Sam's Club wholesale stores. ("2011 Annual Report," 2011) ("2012 Annual Report," 2012) ("Annual Report," 2011)

Evidence of this can be seen with Costco saying, "In the run-up to this year's holiday season, we also opened six new units in the following communities: Bucks County, Pennsylvania; Frisco, Texas; Pewaukee, Wisconsin; Augusta, Georgia; Yawata Kyoto and Zama, Japan. We have been actively reviewing potential sites and securing new properties during the economic downturn and have many promising locations to be developed over the next few years. And we are evaluating additional countries to help realize our goal of 1,000 warehouses in operation by the next 10 to 12 years." This is showing how Costco is trying to take market share from Wal Mart by going into locations where they are the most dominate. ("Annual Report," 2011)

These areas are problematic, as this could place pressure on Costco and Target to maintain a low price structure in contrast with Wal Mart. Yet, they are unable to follow the same kind of model and will feel squeezed from Wal Mart's aggressive marketing strategies. When this happens, there is the possibility of an increase in the underlying amounts of debt. While at the same time, their revenues from these locations will become stagnant. As a result, both firms should selectively focus on enhancing sales at existing retail locations and revamping their supply chain. If this were to occur, both companies can more effectively address challenges from Wal Mart and their lowest price guarantees. ("2011 Annual Report," 2011) ("2012 Annual Report," 2012) ("Annual Report," 2011)

How can management use this information moving forward?

Management can use this information to help determine locations where Wal Mart may not be as dominate in specific areas. Furthermore, both firms could engage in activities that will reduce their costs for energy, logistics and operating margins. In the future, this will allow these firms to become more competitive moving forward. ("2011 Annual Report," 2011) ("2012 Annual Report," 2012) ("Annual Report," 2011)

At the same time, Target and Costco can focus on those products that Wal Mart may not be carrying inside their stores. This is because the company has been adjusting with increasing amounts of competition by altering the product lines and reducing the number of items they are carrying. If Target and Costco can use a similar strategy, they will reduce their costs and increase their profits (by concentrating on those product / services that customers are demanding). ("2011 Annual Report," 2011) ("2012 Annual Report," 2012) ("Annual Report," 2011)

Summarize Wal Mart's financial health. How does it compare to other companies in the industry?

Wal Mart is a strong company from a financial standpoint. This is because the firm is actively involved in keeping their energy costs lows, competing against other organizations and continually expanding their total number of stores. This has allowed the company to quickly adapt with new changes and increase their bottom line results. ("2012 Annual Report," 2012)

Moreover, the company is focused on aggressively expanding their dominance in the area of e-commerce. These factors are helping the firm to increase its overall bottom line numbers while controlling costs. Evidence of this can be seen with Wal Mart saying, "We leveraged operating expenses in fiscal 2012 and 2011. In fiscal 2012, our operating expenses increased 4.8% compared to fiscal 2011, while net sales increased 5.9% in fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011. Operating expenses grew at a slower rate than net sales due to our continued focus on expense management. Our Global ecommerce initiatives contributed to the majority of the increase in operating expenses, as we continue to invest in our e-commerce platforms." These factors are helping Wal Mart to have a competitive advantage over Costco and Target. ("2012 Annual Report," 2012)

As a result, this is allowing Wal Mart to dominate the marketplace. A good example of this can be seen by contrasting sales for the last three years at these firms.

Total Sales for Wal Mart, Costco and Target from 2009 to 2011

Company

2009

2010

2011

Wal Mart

$405.13 billion

$418.95 billion

$443.85 billion

Costco

$69.88 billion

$76.25 billion

$87.04 billion

Target

$63.35 billion

$65.78 billion

$68.46 billion

("2011 Annual Report," 2011) ("2012 Annual Report," 2012) ("Annual Report," 2011)

These figures are showing how Wal Mart's strategy has allowed them to increase their total sales and dominance inside the sector.

Moreover, the firm has lower amounts of debt in comparison with the overall revenues that are being generated. The below table is illustrating how Wal Mart is in a stronger financial position in comparison with Costco and Target.

Wal Mart's Revenues / Debt in Contrast with Costco and Target

Company

Revenues

Debt

Wal Mart

$464.41 billion

$57.46 billion

Costco

$99.14 billion

$1.56 billion

Target

$71.86 billion

$18.55 billion

("2011 Annual Report," 2011) ("2012 Annual Report," 2012) ("Annual Report," 2011)

These figures are showing how Wal Mart has more revenues and higher amounts of debt on a percentage basis. Yet, these numbers are so large that the company has been able to continue with its rapid expansion. This is giving executives the leverage to enhance existing stores, build new locations and to reach out to customers online.

Include a summary of Wal Mart's technologies advantages, or lack thereof, in comparison to at least two other companies in the same industry

Technology is one of the biggest advantages that Wal Mart has going for it. This is because the company will use these solutions to reach out to customers, improve inventory controls and to manage costs. What is happening is technology is an integral part of the firm's strategy. In many cases, this involves using e-commerce to reach out to cliental in addressing their needs. This is utilized in conjunction with helping to support the options they are providing to everyone. ("2011 Annual Report," 2011) ("2012 Annual Report," 2012) ("Annual Report," 2011)

At the same time, technology is utilized to determine when a store is running out of particular items.…[continue]

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