retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Bloomberg scoops that Walmart has lost yet another senior executive, as Dottie Mattison, who came from the Gap three years ago to run the retailer’s apparel division, resigned.

It was the third major departure from the company in a month.

According to the Wall Street Journal story, Mattison’s departure may have been a foregone conclusion since “Wal-Mart in June split Ms. Mattison's responsibilities, assigning her to oversee brand merchandising, product development and sourcing, while Lisa Rhodes was put in charge of merchandising for such categories as jewelry and women's apparel.”

Walmart has been struggling in its ongoing efforts to become more fashion-oriented. Lately, it has been talking to going back to basics, though quality continues to be an issue. One story noted that while it is a positive for Walmart that it carries $3 t-shirts, the problem is that it looks and wears like a $3 t-shirt.

• The Wall Street Journal this morning reports on a new relationship between Walmart and Seventh Generation, the environmentally friendly household products manufacturer. Seventh Generation CEO Jeffrey Hollender used to say that he did not want to do business with the giant retailer, but that is changing.

“Starting next month,” the Journal writes, “Seventh Generation staples, including laundry detergent, dish soap, all-purpose sprays and disinfectant wipes, will be sold in about 1,500 Wal-Mart stores. By September, other cleaners, diapers and baby wipes will be available on Walmart.com.

“The move will bring Seventh Generation's specialty products to the broader, mainstream audience it has long coveted. For Wal-Mart, which draws more than 137 million U.S. customers every week, carrying Seventh Generation could help boost its green credentials by finally winning over one of its most vocal corporate critics.”

Walmart says that this partnership could have broader implications. "We're not just putting [Seventh Generation's] products on the shelf," Al Dominguez, Wal-Mart's vice president of household chemicals and paper goods, tells the paper. "We want their help in developing a category that's more sustainable."
KC's View:
I hope that the result of this partnership is that good comes out of it for both sides. But there is always the possibility that the result will be biblical...

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Mark 8:36