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Signum Research

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Signum Research

Signum Research es una empresa independiente de análisis financiero y bursátil conformada por analistas y expertos de amplia experiencia en el medio y por un consejo de asesores integrado por personalidades de alto reconocimiento en los mercados financieros. Signum Research cuenta con la más avanzada tecnología y sistemas que le permiten realizar sus cálculos y modelos analíticos de manera eficiente, en tiempo real, y publicarlos oportunamente en su portal de análisis financiero.<br /> Nos hemos establecido como meta el producir el mejor análisis bursátil independiente: un análisis oportuno, sencillo, confiable, asequible e interesante, de manera que los mercados financieros puedan ser intelectualmente accesibles a una mayor parte de la población. Nuestro objetivo final es, a través de nuestro análisis, encontrar la señal detrás del ruido cotidiano en los mercados, una señal que fundamente sólidamente nuestras recomendaciones de inversión.<br /> En Signum Research sabemos que los mercados financieros son una importante herramienta de desarrollo, Signum Research busca contribuir en la difusión de una cultura financiera y de inversión que permita a quien carezca de experiencia –pero que tenga el interés- participar del progreso que brindan los mercados financieros.<br /> Signum Research se ha asociado con The Competitive Intelligence Unit, una empresa de consultoría estratégica especializada en áreas de análisis de oportunidades de negocio, telecomunicaciones, regulación y economía para desarrollar y publicar análisis sectoriales y en materia de regulación.

Signum Perspectives

Wal-Mart de México, S.A.B. de C.V.

Walmex recently held Walmex Day and, as in prior years, visits to its stores as well as presentations for the investment community were arranged.

Walmex’s business strategy continues to center on cost and expense reduction in order to be able to offer “everyday low prices” and boost market share through higher sales and productivity.

As of the end of 2018, such measures had contributed to lowering operating expenses by 8 basis points and maintenance and store remodeling expenses by 13 bp, translating into greater efficiencies. At the same time, new store and eCommerce-related expenses decreased by 7 bp. All in all, these efficiencies boosted Walmex’s 2018 EBITDA margin by 30bp to 10% from 9.7%. Furthermore, due to higher energy prices, 95% of stores are currently being run on clean energy, which has translated into even more savings.

Walmex’s in-store eCommerce kiosks have also evolved, with modules currently found on the sales floor so as to better serve customers and make them more comfortable to use. There are currently 5 such modules, which are part of a pilot plan that will be tested all this year. The kiosks bring the company closer to the client, thus enabling it to offer more direct solutions.

Walmex has also been innovative in the area of product deliveries; store entrances have scan-and-go technology whereby orders can be placed within 10 seconds on average.

Regarding expense reduction initiatives, a special app has been created to make the recruitment process more efficient while lowering personnel turnover.

Walmex has also been introducing innovations in the customer profile area in order to underpin direct sales. Whereas eCommerce facilitates knowledge of customer purchasing patterns because certain information is required, customers visiting the stores currently represent the company’s biggest challenge. So when customers use to same card to make online purchases, Walmex’s digital tools link the information to obtain more data about consumer preferences. A big issue, and one that is also very costly, is handling cash at stores. A concept called Cashi, which is a payment app that can be used to pay for products as well as services, was created to deal with this.

Another innovation is the self check-out, which has been introduced at 30% of stores, is widely accepted, and fits in with Walmart’s strategy of creating a smooth shopping experience.

While visiting the stores, we were able to see examples of productivity initiatives, such as electronic labels; besides showing the price, products have a QR code that can be scanned and the product requested later using the Cashi app, which also receives any related promotions.

Walmart’s focus on productivity seeks to free up time for employees to focus on serving and know-ing customers. Less dependence on employees lowers shrinkage and ultimately boosts the gross margin.


Total sales continue to grow at profitable rates driven by higher same-store sales. As a result, Walmart has surpassed ANTAD sales by 1,050 bp in the last four years and this has expanded its market share.

At the same time, eCommerce’s share of total sales growth has increased by 40 bp.

Customer traffic has increased at all formats, which has translated into higher profitability. Walmart’s stores are just 10 minutes away from 85% of the population and offering low prices will remain the cornerstone of its business strategy.

The focus is on growing the number of customers, offering a multi-channel shopping experience and achieving a high level of productivity.

Walmex will seek to double sales through customer traffic growth and will invest in the multi-channel retail supply chain to underpin growth.

Walmart will also use the profitability generated by its customer-based focus to streamline its business operation.

The company has invested heavily in employee training with a view to improving sales floor attention and ensuring better use of technology apps that drive omni-channel sales.

Furthermore, Walmart continues to push areas that generate relatively more customer traffic, including the pharmacy division, where same-store sales rose by more than 4% in 2018.

In line with its focus on boosting customer traffic, Walmart has introduced major technological innovations designed to further improve the buying experience.

This year, the company will place a special emphasis on perishables, which is an area in which it stands out from the competition.


Walmex expects to continue to top sector growth, a trend that should continue this year, as samestore sales registered in the first two months of the year surpassed ANTAD’s.

This year’s growth will be underpinned by same-store sales growth, reinforcing the customer traffic generation strategy; at the same time, the omnichannel operation and new store openings should speed up and become more efficient.

This year, new stores should contribute between 1.8% and 2.0% of total sales growth compared to 2.3% in 2018.

This year’s forecast is lower because the anti-trust authorities blocked the acquisition of a store chain in Costa Rica, which reduced this year’s openings pipeline.

2019 CAPEX is seen at P$20 bn, 12% more than in 2018. 35% will be invested in improving existing stores, 31% in new stores, 20% in logistics, 13% in eCommerce and technology, and 1% in perishables.

This year, Walmart will pay a dividend of P$1.75 consisting of an ordinary dividend of P$0.84 and an extraordinary dividend of P$0.91, which implies a dividend yield of 3.5%.

Regarding Central America, last year the company faced many challenges with struggling economies, especially Nicaragua. While this situation is expected to continue in the short term, Walmex is using a higher growth strategy to address it.

Walmart expects to double the size of the business in the coming years and will seek to further formalize the retail sector in the five countries it operates by improving its value proposal.

Sales growth should occur alongside a higher Ebitda margin that is in line with previous years.

Final Remarks

Strike rumors have recently caused some concern. Of the 1,944 workers with a collective bargaining contract, 170 are affiliated to the CROC (the union calling the strike) and 28 have said they do not intend to strike. Around half of the others work at large store formats and the other half at Bodegas, so to date there is no real threat of a strike occurring.

Based on worker surveys, a strike is unlikely and would have no material impact on the company’s operations.

We believe Walmex has what it needs to continue achieving very profitable growth that tops the sector.

While consumption should not be as robust as last year, sales growth should remain solid and Walmex should remain a price leader and achieve even higher customer traffic.

We maintain our BUY rating on the stock with a 2019 year-end target price of P$56.0 per share.

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