Wal-Mart is keeping a close watch on current and potential forthcoming profits according to Randy Hargrove, a company spokesperson.
The Affordable Care Act, which takes effect in January, is a law requiring all persons to have health insurance. Those who are not insured or who do not receive healthcare coverage through Medicaid will face harsh monetary penalties.
Retailers are worried consumers who are concerned about upcoming changes in their budgets due to the ACA may spend less this holiday season. Gallup released figures in early November that show consumers are likely to spend approximately $80 less this year than in 2012. ShopperTrak has indicated the 2013 holiday season to be one of the worst retail holiday seasons since 2009.
Carol Schumacher, Wal-Mart’s vice president of investor relations said that customers have expressed concern.
“Customers are worried that they may have more out-of-pocket expenses due to the upcoming changes in the healthcare law,” Schumacher said. “They may now be preparing to cover expenses that they did not have before.”
National Retail Federation chief economist Jack Kleinhenz weighed in on the situation, calling it “uncertain.”
“There are so many uncertainties,” Kleinhenz said. “There are so many challenges for consumers, yet the economy has been performing.”
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