Shares of Walmart stock plummeted late last week after an internal company email was made public, one in which February sales were described as a "total disaster."
In a message obtained by Bloomberg News, Jerry Murray - the company's vice president of finance and logistics - wrote to other executives:
"In case you haven't seen a sales report these days, February (month-to-date) sales are a total disaster. The worst start to a month I have seen in my (about) 7 years with the company."
Murray referred to the payroll tax hike that kicked in to start 2013 as a basis for lower consumer spending.
With the internal exchange leaked, Walmart quickly went on the offensive to downplay the remarks and apparent dire situation.
"As with any organization, we often see internal communications that are not entirely accurate, that lack the proper context, and represent individual opinions," said the company in a statement.
Still, many analysts believe it's logical for the payroll tax jump to affect retailers that cater to lower-income customers.
Along with Walmart's shares falling 2.2 percent on Friday, Macy's, Dollar General and Target all dropped over 1 percent.