Analyst: Wal-Mart only playing catch-up

Analyst downgrades Wal-Mart after pay hike
Analyst downgrades Wal-Mart after pay hike

Not everyone was happy about Thursday's big news from the country's largest private employer that it would raise employee pay to $9 an hour in April and to $10 an hour by next February.

On Friday morning, Barclays downgraded the company to "equal weight" from "overweight" and lowered its price target to $85 from $90.

Read MoreWall Street gives Wal-Mart wage hike thumbs down

Barclays analyst Meredith Adler told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Friday that the move by Wal-Mart just got out of the way of a likely national hike in the minimum wage.

"They have a problem and they know it," she said, "It's also very expensive to fix that problem completely. Wages are probably going to go up across the board, but they needed to do something."

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Adler said she does not think the wage hike would pressure other companies, such as Target and Kroger, to follow suit.

"Honestly I believe they are playing catch-up so there's not going to be that much pressure on anybody else. And the work experience at Wal-Mart is a tough one, tougher probably than elsewhere."

She explained that the downgrade comes down to the fact that the company is making a lot of investments and "it's not clear when and how big the benefits will be."

Adler said that Wal-Mart could become attractive again with "patience, minimum wage increases and a better job market for low-income people."