Walmart warns Obamacare costs could hurt sales
By Shelly Banjo | The Wall Street Journal – November 18, 2013
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) has a long list of reasons why its customers aren't spending as much as hoped: the expiration of the payroll tax cut in January, the November rollback of food-stamp benefits and continued uncertainty in Washington.
Now, the world's largest retailer is hinting at a new one: the looming individual mandate to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
The company attributed a third consecutive drop in U.S. comparable-store sales to a laundry list of macroeconomic headwinds when it reported earnings last week. Wal-Mart, which forecast continued gloominess through year-end, told analysts it would watch to see if the federal health-care law would take yet another chunk out of customers' pocketbooks.