A report on Blogging Stocks details Wal-Mart's plan to auction 44 sites through its Wal-Mart Realty division.
Wal-Mart Realty (a division of the world's largest retailer) is in the middle of auctioning off about 44 parcels of land throughout the U.S., most of which are adjacent to existing Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) stores and Supercenters. What is the retailer's motive? Like any good business, the ability to maximize profit while providing more and more room for complementary businesses to set up shop (which drives even more traffic to Wal-Mart doors) would seem like a good thing. For Wal-Mart, which is under fire in 2007 for soft same-store sales and soft profits (among other things), this seems like a cherry-picked time to sell off excess real estate.
The sale of these land parcels is sure to 1) provide Wal-Mart with some much-needed income, 2) reduce development costs for all that land that is generally being underused (if not even used), and 3) try to become part of the overall strategy to lift WMT shares to the point where long-term holders will stop screaming for blood from the retailer. Will it work? My guess is yes. I'm not sure the impact here will do much for WMT share growth, at least in the short term. 44 parcels of land, though, is really not small potatoes.