Has Wal-Mart (WMT) Lied To Us?

Most large corporations amplify the distrust that the common man has for them by making misstatements from time to time. It is Wal-Mart’s (WMT) turn in the gauntlet of public opinion.

The world’s largest retailer seems to be making claims that shoppers who hit its stores will save $2,500 a year. It may have taken a room full of math professors to come to that number, and Wal-Mart thinks it is right.

“The figure represents the company’s calculation of its overall impact on an American household, not the average savings for Wal-Mart shoppers, and this has led an influential watchdog group to recommend that the campaign be fixed or halted,” according to The New York Times. So, do families who shop at Wal-Mart save more than families who do not? Unclear.

It is less expensive to shop at Wal-Mart than at Tiffany (TIF) and the selection is better. But, it may not be less expensive than Target (TGT). The calculus may be a little misleading, but that really has not been proved.

Wal-Mart is implying that if everyone came to its stores they would be better off in terms of their household budgets. Most people who work for watch-dog groups can probably afford to shop at CostCo (COST), so how would they know?

Stuff at Wal-Mart is cheap whether people want to shop there or not. Trying to negate or confirm the dollar amount is like chasing your tail. Seekers of the truth should have better things to do.

Douglas A. McIntyre