Fortune article NEW YORK — As the market’s largest retailer, Walmart has the largest stockholder and has a larger share of retail sales than any other major retailer.
But as Walmart’s stock price is rising amid a wave of corporate buyouts, it is also experiencing a wave that is likely to be felt by other retailers, analysts said.
Walmart has had a tumultuous few years.
In December 2015, Walmart reported that it was facing a $3 billion restructuring and restructuring costs that it said would require it to reduce its workforce by more than 1,000 people.
That same month, the company said it would be closing 1,800 stores across the U.S. and Canada and slashing nearly half of its workforce.
After a string of acquisitions in 2017, Walmart’s share of U.K. retail sales rose from 1 percent to 5.6 percent of total U.N. sales in 2018.
“We are at a crossroads,” said Mark Besser, a managing director at consultancy Bessers Equity Partners.
“It’s a very interesting time in retail, but it is one that we can only predict.”
Besser said Walmart’s ability to generate strong cash flow and grow its business while facing tough competition could be one of the reasons it is so bullish on its stock price.
It’s not a situation you see in the stock market, he said.
“You have an industry that is trying to figure out what’s the right mix of growth and disruption.
The combination of those two factors is going to be critical in a few years.”
The company’s sales growth, however, has been lackluster, with sales down 7.3 percent in 2018 and 4.9 percent in 2019.
While Walmart has been able to make acquisitions, such as buying American Eagle Outfitters for $7.5 billion and Target for $6.5bn in 2018, it has struggled to generate revenue.
Its stock price, which is up more than 10 percent since the start of the year, is up about 3.3 times this year.
At the same time, Walmart is facing some major changes at its headquarters.
CEO Doug McMillon is leaving the company to become CEO of the company’s parent company, Walmart Global Holdings Inc. Walmart is not yet a public company and McMillon will be able to remain in his position until the end of the fiscal year, the end-of-the-year filing said.
But, McMillon’s departure could spell the end for some of the changes that have taken place at Walmart.
McMillon will take over as the company seeks to move from being a retail retailer to a company that serves customers.
Under McMillon, the retailer has diversified its business by focusing on groceries and other essentials, while also developing and marketing services and technology.
Since he took over as CEO, Walmart, which was once known as American Eagle, has made some moves in that direction, including buying a Canadian company that specializes in delivering grocery deliveries to consumers.
Still, Walmart continues to face challenges, including higher prices for its products and higher consumer expectations of low-cost products.
The retail giant is looking to diversify and grow into other areas, including food, apparel and health care, said Paul Mariani, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.
He said Walmart could look to make some acquisitions and sell off assets.
On Tuesday, the retail giant reported that its quarterly revenue fell 2.2 percent from the previous year.
The company’s shares, which closed Tuesday at $55.30, were up about 4.2% in the past year.
Walmart shares rose more than 9 percent in after-hours trading.
Shares of Walmart have risen more than 200% since the beginning of the decade.
Despite the ups and downs, Walmart stock has outperformed the broader market, which has been largely flat since the recession of the late 1990s.