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Bloomberg reports on a new survey of Walmart suppliers that suggests the majority of them do not have confidence in the strategic moves being made by CEO Mike Duke and his leadership team.

According to the story, “More than half the 139 suppliers surveyed in a study by recruitment firm Cameron Smith & Associates didn’t agree that ‘senior leadership is aligned behind a strategic vision that is consistently communicated and well understood by the supplier community.’ The Rogers, Arkansas-based group surveyed a small sample of Wal-Mart’s more than 60,000 suppliers. To win back shoppers, Duke and new U.S. stores chief Bill Simon changed tactics this year and began restoring thousands of products removed during the tenure of former merchandising chief John Fleming. The company has weathered six consecutive quarters of declining sales at U.S. stores open at least a year, and Duke, 61, has projected “positive” sales for this period.”

The story goes on, “The survey - the first of its kind - was conducted in October and November. Half the suppliers surveyed said they have worked for Wal-Mart for 12 years or more. About two-thirds of respondents come from companies with 10 employees or less based near Wal-Mart’s headquarters. More than 40 percent of suppliers polled sell food and other consumables to Wal-Mart.”
KC's View:
If Walmart’s numbers don’t improve, and its competitors continue to show themselves to be getting greater traction in the consumer mindset, suppliers will grow even more skeptical ... and worse, it could mean that Walmart is losing its strategic positioning in the mind of the shopper, which would be even worse news for Mike Duke and his leadership team.