Company Info

Consider This: Wal-Mart's Store Closings

#1 on 2015's Fortune 500 list

As AdAge's Jack Neff recently highlighted, Wal-Mart is closing 269 stores across its global footprint. Domestically, the changes come at a time when Wal-Mart is trying to increase its profitability and same-store-sales in light of greater competition from both big box and specialty retailers.

Given the magnitude of Wal-Mart, just about every industry is somehow impacted by its performance. Thinking strategically, here are a few ways you might weave in a talking point about Wal-Mart's move in relation to your next interview:

  • Advertising :: Wal-Mart is closing smaller stores domestically. From a competitive standpoint, competitors to Wal-Mart might conduct targeted advertising in areas where Wal-Mart is closing stores to steal share from shoppers who will need to look for a new place to spend their money. This could mean more ad spending in select DMAs around the time of the Wal-Mart closings.
  • Real Estate :: Any time a retailer closes shop, real estate might sit empty. If you're interviewing with a development firm or a company like Simon Property Group, you could raise the Wal-Mart closings as a reason why you'd help support aggressive business development strategies to ensure the company isn't caught off guard with space that sits open for long.
  • Consumer Packaged Goods :: Less retail space - particularly through the world's largest retailer - means even greater competition for shelf space, revenues, and profits among CPG companies like P&G and Kraft. If you're interviewing at these companies, you could highlight Wal-Mart's store closings as an example of how CPG companies need a balance across retailers and retail channels so that if a major change occurs at a key customer, it doesn't bring down the CPG company, too. One way to achieve this is to think of creative ways for how not to put all of one's eggs in a single retailer's basket - for example, P&G could offer an exclusive Old Spice product at Wal-Mart while still selling the non-exclusive Old Spice line in other stores.

The point is: when changes occur at companies - particularly those at the top of the Fortune 500 list - the implications are broad. Having talking points about how an external change could impact the company you're interviewing with shows that you can think strategically about long-term solutions to help drive growth.