The Walmart “Yes, It’s That Bad” Report

The Lempert Report
April 05, 2021

Scott Mushkin, CEO of New Canaan, Conn.-based research firm R5 Capital has published a report that frankly is not going to make a lot of people happy in Bentonville.

The new R5 report, on Walmart is titled Yes, It's That Bad. The report includes a series of photos Mushkin took at three Walmart supercenters in Pennsylvania on March 25. The images show empty meat cases, piles of unattended cardboard boxes from the back of the store crowding aisles, and an array of mostly empty center-store shelves. He decided to visit more than 50 stores across the country starting in January of this year. His report comes on the heels of Walmart’s Annual Investors Meeting at which CEO Doug McMillion was quoted as saying that

"Our first priority is to continue to earn [customers'] business when it's time [for] the stock-up trip, to be the best and first place they shop. To be fair, we are still in the midst of the pandemic and no retailer I know is operating at 100%. Mushkin pointed out some good news in the report as well: updated store facades—fresh paint, updated signage, well-stocked produce displays just inside store entrances. But he also points out that in the stores he visited he found unattended cardboard boxes from the back of the store crowding aisles and a collection of mostly empty center-store shelves. Walmart has led the industry for many years in many ways and as a result of their leadership and investments has I would argue made the nation’s supermarkets more efficient and profitable. Yes, I am a fan of McMillion and Walmart and frankly hope and urge Mushkin to visit the same stores post-pandemic and issue another report with those findings.