retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Street.com reports that Walmart is making its Vudu video streaming service available for Apple’s iPad, a move described as stepping up its digital investments “to counter the effect of declining DVD sales, a waning staple of its retail business.” The new availability further puts Walmart in direct competition with Apple’s iTunes service, as well as other services such as video streaming offered by Amazon.com.

Walmart is the nation’s biggest seller of DVDs - with 40 percent of the national total going through its checkout lanes - but streaming and broadband services have been eating away at video sales.

According to the story, “Video-on-demand and Vudu's cloud computing system are far from Wal-Mart's comfort zone in big box retail, but the service underlines how falling sales at the company's U.S. business are forcing the company into unconventional new ventures.”

Walmart has suffered through eight consecutive quarters of stagnant US same stores sales. It is scheduled to release its most recent quarterly results next week.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that Walmart has decided to shut down its MP3 online store at the end of the moment.

While Walmart launched this business in 2003 to compete with Apple’s iTunes music download store, and has consistently undercut iTunes on price, the Times writes that “along with most other sellers of digital music, including Amazon’s MP3 store, Wal-Mart has failed to significantly challenge the market dominance of iTunes, which sells more music than any other store, digital or physical.”
KC's View:
No matter how big or small you happen to be, you have to be nimble enough to take advantage of new platforms, engage with new technology, and get off the trains that aren’t going anywhere.