The “Oracle of Omaha”, Warren Buffet, has dropped Walmart from his portfolio like a ton of bricks, pronouncing ominously that a retailer in decline is difficult to turn around.
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway investment vehicle sold off $900-million of Walmart stock in the last quarter, or about 90% of what he had left after years of slowly reducing his holding in the biggest big-box of all.
Pundits the globe over are seeing Warren Buffett’s rejection of Walmart as symptomatic of a broader malaise in traditional retail, embattled as it is by rocketing online sales.
“It is a big, big force,” he pronounces in doom-laden tones, “and it has already disrupted plenty of people and it will disrupt more.”
He avers that many businesses have worked out neither how to cash in nor how to counter it, a view which no doubt informed his Walmart decision.
Brick and mortar retailers had better figure out, and fast, how to compete with the online version or the carnage will continue.