Walmart cites cuts to food stamps and public assistance as 'risk factors' in annual report

Cuts to public assistance programs could hurt Walmart's bottom line.
By JC Sevcik  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:10 PM
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Walmart, a company controversial for recommending its employees supplement their low wages with government benefits like food stamps, has just released its annual report for the end of its fiscal year to the securities and exchange commission.

It’s normal for an annual report to include a section for investors outlining factors that may affect profitability in the coming year, but Walmart’s latest annual report, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission after their fiscal year ended Jan. 31, reifies just how much the retail giant relies on taxpayer funds.

In its cautionary statement, the world’s largest general merchandise retailer says, “Our business operations are subject to numerous risks, factors and uncertainties, domestically and internationally, which are outside our control ... These factors include ... changes in the amount of payments made under the Supplement[al] Nutrition Assistance Plan and other public assistance plans, changes in the eligibility requirements of public assistance plans...”

The International Business Times reports that this is the first time Walmart has acknowledged public assistance in its annual report as a notable factor in its revenue and profits.

It makes sense that Walmart, with a primarily low-income customer base, would acknowledge that reducing the spending power of those consumers may spell lower profits, and the company seems to think the coming year poses a higher risk to benefits than years past.

[International Business Times] [Walmart 2013 Annual Report]

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