Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) & The Rest of The Retail Giants: What Do The Analysts Think?

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The retail industry as a whole has seen some positive momentum in 2013, with consumer sentiment rising to a new post-recessionary high. Generally speaking, analysts predict that the sector will be more or less stable for the remainder of this year, and key growth drivers will reset on retailers’ ability to grow core operations while retaining existing consumers. Competition is already heating up in this segment, with companies like Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), The TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TJX) and others stepping onto the proverbial “gas pedal” to increase their global footprint.

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, has decided to implement a new program focused on training and development of its workforce, including its suppliers, after a major fire broke out at a factory in Bangladesh, killing 112 people.

Photo Credit: CMH-90

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) also emphasized the need for documenting the policies followed by its suppliers; as well, the company recently cut its employee-working hour standards.

The move has resulted in reduced operating costs and improved margins, as most pundits expected, but it’s worth noting that with one of the most sophisticated supply chain systems on the planet, efficiency is something Wal-Mart does very, very well.

In addition to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), The TJX Companies is another major player operating in the same segment. TJX, with one of the highest ROI figures (34.7%) in the industry, is ahead of major peers Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M) and Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS). J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP), as most of those who follow this space would expect, is a laggard in this metric, with a negative return on investment of -12.42%.

Let’s take a look at these retailers in greater detail, while also determining what analysts think about them, in the form of price targets (via the Wall Street Journal). Image credit (above): Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT).

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