Wal-Mart CEO: ‘Fiscal Cliff’ talk hurting holiday spending

New York -- In a Tuesday night address at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. president and CEO Mike Duke didn’t shy away from discussing the fiscal cliff, saying that the current debate is having a negative impact on consumer spending.

"A week before the election, only 25% of our core customers even knew what fiscal cliff meant," Duke said. "One week after the election, it was up to 75%. Now, [among] these same customers, 15% are telling us this discussion about the fiscal cliff will affect what they spend on Christmas."

Duke described Walmart customers’ economic and financial conditions as "fragile." He said he shared his customers' thoughts with President Barack Obama a week after the election, and since the president was interested in hearing more about how Wal-Mart shoppers were feeling, he has continued to share this polling data with the administration.

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