8 months ago, the fiscal cliff was all the rage. It was going to be a total disaster unless some deal was made in Congress to prevent government spending falling and tax rates going up, leading to a 3 or 4% contraction in GDP.
Three months ago it was all, well, nothing much will happen as it was obvious that the politicos weren’t actually going to be able to manage anything.
The retailer’s shares slid after Jerry Murray, vice president of finance and logistics, also told colleagues that it was “the worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company”.
Wal-Mart, which owns Asda, had been expecting a boost to February sales from the Super Bowl and other factors including milder weather across the Atlantic.
January appears to have been little better, according to another email seen by Bloomberg.
On February 1, Cameron Geiger, senior vice president at Wal-Mart’s “US replenishment” division, said: “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?
“Well, we just had one of those weeks here at Walmart US. Where are all the customers? And where’s their money?”
The emails shed light on the anxiety in the US retail sector as shoppers shoulder increases in payroll, or income, tax at an already difficult time for the economy.
Apparently reality hasn’t quite decided which of those two paths to follow quite yet.