If Walmart's (WMT) investor day today didn't blow you away, well then I suggest checking your pulse and then popping open a can of Red Bull. Keep repeating if necessary.
Bottom line is that Walmart's various executives nailed their on-stage performances in that they inspired hope. What did they inspire you ask? Some honest to God hope that Sam Walton's baby could not only compete with Amazon (AMZN) in the near term, but darn near rock its foundation over the next 10 years.
That's a very different discussion than what has been going on with Walmart over the past year. While winning many fans on Wall Street of late, Walmart has been viewed as only competing with Amazon due to new leadership and strategies, not knocking it off of any throne. Now, the discussion has shifted and Walmart must be looked at as a good longer-term play on the fundamental shift to digital shopping.
Here is what caught my attention from the day's long presentation.
Rockstar. A true example of the difference that one executive could have on the larger organization. Lore is dead-set on crushing on Amazon. Think full on embarrassment of Jeff Bezos (who he used to work for). With Lore at the helm, you have to think Walmart will deliver on its new promise of 40% e-commerce sales growth (if not exceed it). Moreover, you have to believe Lore will be cooking up the type of digital-first innovations that gets Walmart out in front of Amazon.
Thank You for the Slower Pace of Store Openings
It's good that for another year in a row, Walmart has dialed back its plans for new supercenter openings in the U.S. Instead, Walmart will focus its capital on e-commerce, smaller stores and new ways of getting people their stuff. As a shareholder, this is about all you can ask for in a retailer right now.
Stores Are an Advantage, Finally
The market hasn't caught up into this yet when it comes to retailers, but having physical stores should be viewed as an asset for many names in the space -- not an albatross. Walmart is finding ways to maximize the return potential of its stores in a digital world, from new mobile returns to delivering stuff from the stores to your living room. These are the types of initiatives Amazon can't launch because it doesn't have supercenters -- not going to ship 50-inch TVs from a Whole Foods. Amazon needs stores. But until it goes out and buys Dollar Tree (DLTR) , the competitive advantage goes to Walmart.
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