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Monday, April 11, 2011

Walmart 'It's Back' Flag, 8,500 Products Added, Try to Lure Customers Back

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Walmart adding 8,500 products to try to lure customers back

BY KAVITA KUMAR
post-dispatch.com
April 11, 2011
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In an effort to reverse two years of same-store sales declines, Walmart is adding up to 8,500 products to the shelves -- a mix of new products as well as many items that had been taken out of U.S. stores in a strategy that did not pay off for the world's largest retailer.
The added products, amount to about an 11 percent increase in an average store, include a wide cross-section of items such as pasta, beverages, and snacks, which have mostly already been re-introduced into stores.
In the next few months, it plans to bring back more fresh grocery and consumables such as more choices in paper towels and laundry detergent. Increased selections in electronics, sporting goods, apparel, fabrics and crafts as well as outdoor living products will hit stores later this year. The roll-out will be completed by the end of the year.
These returning items will be identified by a "It's Back" flag on the store shelves.
Duncan Mac Naughton, Walmart's chief merchandising officer, said in a conference call with reporters this morning that the company hopes to re-establish and reinforce its position as a one-stop shopping destination.
"This campaign is really about having the broadest assortment in the market," he said.
To make room for the products, the company will be adding higher shelves and narrowing some of the aisles that the store had previously widened, he said.
The retailer is kicking off a new advertising campaign today to highlight the increased product assortment as well as to get the word out about a simplified price-match guarantee policy in which customers do not have to bring in a competitor's advertisement, but can just mention it at the register. The company said it is training employees to help ensure the policy is applied consistently at all of its stores.
As part of this new initiative, Walmart said it would also work more closely with suppliers to lower the cost on items and would also check the competition more closely to make sure Walmart is offering the lowest prices.
Walmart has struggled with its sales numbers recently with seven straight quarters of sales declines in U.S. stores open at least a year.

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