“Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) was once the shining example of how to run a growing U.S. retail chain efficiently and profitably. Sam Walton built stores in cities and towns neglected by big-box stores, and once the company built the scale needed, it was able to squeeze suppliers to provide better prices and different products than its competitors. Combine that with a superior inventory management and distribution system, and you have a market-crushing company that beat Kmart, Target (NYSE: TGT ) , and others to dominate discount stores.
This strategy worked for more than four decades, but nothing works forever, and cracks have recently formed in Wal-Mart’s foundation. Cost-conscious consumers have gone online, and consumers who have the ability and the cash to shop at brick-and-mortar stores are looking for more than just low prices. Target has taken design to the masses in everything from clothing to kitchenware, targeting a higher end of the market than Wal-Mart and gaining shares in the process. That focus has resulted in not only higher margins than Wal-Mart but also stronger growth in the U.S.
Target isn’t the only one slowly eating away at Wal-Mart’s retail lead.
Costco (NASDAQ: COST) is outperforming Sam’s Club by most measures, despite a bigger footprint.
Then there’s Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) , which is taking share from everyone and is the new elephant in the room.
[Costco & Amazon are two Puget Sound-based powerhouses!],” quoting Travis Hoium, in The Motley Fool.
In the last decade, the City of Yelm has put so much effort into attracting multinational, corporate retail chains here and rely on sales from Wal-Mart, in particular, to point to Yelm’s “healthy economy.”
In doing so, small, locally owned businesses have been abandoned here, the very bedrock of this town, i.e. Yelm True Value Hardware’s recent closing and a whole host of others.
Now, Yelm’s venerable Gordon’s Garden Center is for sale, too!