Wal-Mart’s Minimum Wage Hike: What’s the Affect on Earnings?

Investors took notice this week when Wal-Mart, the U.S.’s largest private employer, announced a wage increase for a half-million of its hourly workers. Beginning in April, those employees will make at least $9/hour, company officials said. So what could this mean for current and future shareholders and what are the factors that could predict a positive or negative impact on future Wal-Mart earnings?

Retail Sales Trends are Clear as Mud

Is this a good or bad sign for retail sales?

It is difficult to look at the retail sales data this week and figure out the state of the economy and/or the direction it is heading in. On the one hand, the National Retail Federation reported a higher number of shoppers compared to last year, but the average shopper kept to a tighter budget. The result was a decrease of 2.9 percent in sales from the comparable Thanksgiving weekend period from last year.