Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) Announces 269 Store Closures As Part of Restructuring Plan

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Today as the Dow is off close to 3%, shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) are doing a little bit better. Although the stock is still down, the market may be giving the company a bit of a break after they announced today the closure of 269 underperforming stores across the globe. Included in these 269 store are 154 United States Locations.

“Closing stores is never an easy decision, but it is necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future,” Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said in a release.

Besides shuttering stores, this move will also affect over 16,000 of Wal-Mart’s (NYSE:WMT) employees in one way or another. While it sounds like this figure is substantial, the fact that the company operates over 10,500 stores across the globe, means that these closures represent approximately 2.5% of their total business. The stock decreased 1.79% or $1.13 during the last trading session, hitting $61.93. About 15.17 million shares traded hands or 29.11% up from the average. WMT has declined 13.55% since June 11, 2015 and is downtrending. It has underperformed the S&P500 by 4.68%.

From a total of 22 analysts covering Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) stock, 5 rate it a “Buy”, 1 a “Sell”, and 16 a “Hold”. This means that 23% of the ratings are positive. The highest target price is $84 while the lowest target price is $55. The mean of all analyst targets is $67.55 which is 9.07% above today’s ($61.93) stock price. Wal-Mart Stores Inc was the topic of 37 analyst reports since August 14, 2015 according to the firm StockzIntelligence Inc. JP Morgan upgraded shares on January 8 to a “Overweight” rating. S&P Research downgraded shares to a”Hold” rating and a $62 target share price in their report from an October 15. Northcoast upgraded WMT stock in a recent report from November 13 to a “Buy” rating. Credit Suisse downgraded the rating on October 15. Credit Suisse has a “Neutral” rating and a $62 price target on shares. Finally, Wells Fargo upgraded the stock to a “Outperform” rating in a report they issued on an October 26.

The institutional sentiment increased to 1 in Q2 2015. It’s up 0.01, from 0.99 in 2015Q2. The ratio is positive, as 106 funds sold all their Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. shares they owned while 518 reduced their positions. 86 funds bought stakes while 537 increased their total positions. Institutions now own 869.10 million shares which is 10.24% less than the previous share count of 968.23 million in 2015Q2.

Cook & Bynum Capital Management Llc holds 20.48% of its total portfolio in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., equating to 529,529 shares. Cullinan Associates Inc owns 3.35 million shares representing 19.87% of their total US portfolio. Moreover, Rwwm Inc. has 15.74% of their total portfolio invested in the company, equating to 488,323 shares. The New York-based Gabalex Capital Management Llc has a total of 12.62% of their portfolio invested in the stock. General Re New England Asset Management Inc, a Connecticut-based fund reported 7.36 million shares owned.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is engaged in the operation of retail, wholesale and other units in various formats around the world. The company has a market cap of $201.81 billion. The Firm offers an assortment of merchandise and services at everyday low prices . It has 13.28 P/E ratio. The Company’s activities are conducted in three divisions: Walmart U.S., Walmart International and Sam’s Club.

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