retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Bloomberg reports that Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising officer for Wal- Mart’s US stores, told a supplier group last month that “the retailer’s sales would be higher if some items weren’t out of stock,” and he suggested that fewer out-of-stocks could boost sales by as much as $5 billion annually.

According to the story, “Wal-Mart has been working for more than a year on improving inventory levels to boost sales. The company hired two firms -- Acosta Inc. in the U.S. and Retail Insight in the U.K. -- to walk the aisles and monitor stocking levels. The company also has pulled its greeters from the lobby to help load shelves.”
KC's View:
Having the product on the shelves will make it easier to actually sell it?

Gee, y’think?

It’s that kind of insight that separates Walmart from all the also-rans.

(We kid because we love.)

Actually, there is one thing that I have heard from several suppliers - which is that Walmart is once again drawing a hard line in terms of price, saying that if suppliers raise their prices - no matter what the circumstances - the retailer will find the items elsewhere, including offshore if necessary.

As one insider put it to me, the approach seems to be at variance with Bill Simon’s speech last year in which he pledged to work with suppliers because he understood that the Walmart needs them.

To be continued...