Over the last decade we have repeatedly heard and come to exactly understand what is meant by the saying “freedom doesn’t come free.”
Thousands of Americans have lost their lives fighting to protect our country. Thousands more have risked their lives and sacrificed a great deal for our nation.
As the bitter and deadly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan come to an end, veterans are facing a new fight. Scores are fighting for a job.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor, the unemployment rate for post 9-11 veterans is an elevated 9.7%. The unemployment rate for post 9-11 female vets is even higher at a whopping 19.9%.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is stepping in and steeping up to help military vets looking for a job.
The biggest private employer in the world and the largest global retailer recently announced it will hire any returning U.S. military veteran who wants a job. The Bentonville, Arkansas based company will offer employment to as many as 100,000 veterans over the next five years.
Veterans return home with a bevy of traits that make them attractive employees including discipline, adaptability, endurance, quick reaction time, and the capability of swiftly learning new skills. But Wal-Mart’s hiring move is not based on impressive resumes or character; it is more about the spirit of America, respect and reward.
And in an era where many people are bent are buying American made products or from a true American retailer, buying from an American hero is even more gratifying.
While that may be reason enough for some to invest in Wal-Mart, there are plenty more good reasons.
With some 8,500 in 15 countries under 55 different names, Wal-Mart has a commanding position all around the world.
Wal-Mart continues to expand both stateside and abroad. Superstores are popping up in and around some big cities like Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles. Overseas growth areas include Mexico and China. Management responds immediately to growing trends, changing tastes and new offerings. Stores have become true one stop shopping centers, offering everything from clothes to electronics to health and beauty products to groceries.
Wal-Mart’s stock does not carry the same cachet like competitor Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) , but that is part of its attraction to many investors. Sometimes, boring isn’t bad. Amazon, once a strictly online store, is branching out with a bevy of bricks-and -mortar warehouses in attempts to get customers their orders as quickly as possible. The expansion is currently weighing on the company’s bottom line.
Speaking of warehouses, Sam’s Club adds a nice chunk to Wal-Mart’s revenue (around 12%). This successful chain of warehouse clubs or “membership stores” where most customers buy in bulk, has garnered a loyal following among small businesses. All Sam’s Club stores are open early hours exclusively for their niche business members. Some locations also sell gasoline. There are roughly 600 Sam’s Clubs peppered across the U.S. and 100 internationally.
Rival Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) operates 622 warehouses throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, the UK, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Australia. The company is currently tempering domestic expansion plans concerned about over expansion and cannibalization of existing store locations. While widely prosperous, this chain does not enjoy the same small business constancy as Sam’s.