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What Wal-Mart Blames for the disappointing 4Q Earnings Report?

 (Image source: businessweek.com)

  1. Reduction of government benefits (Food Stamps)
  2. Higher health care costs
  3. Heavy promotions and discounts (negative impact on margins)
  4. Weak consumer spending
It seems like whenever Walmart has disappointing earnings, a reduction of food stamp benefits is always blamed. Food Stamp benefits are highly correlated with Walmart earnings. Most Walmart stores are in the southern region. The southern region receives a huge proportion of food stamp benefits.