retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Bloomberg has a story this morning saying that at a February 1 internal Walmart meeting, US CEO Bill Simon said that keeping shelves stocked has become a big problem, is "getting worse," and is a "self-inflicted wound" that is the company's "biggest risk."

According to the piece, "Once a paragon of logistics, the world’s largest retailer has been trying to improve its restocking efforts since at least 2011, hiring consultants to walk the aisles and track whether hundreds of items are available. It even reassigned store greeters to replenish merchandise. The restocking challenge emerged as Wal-Mart was returning more merchandise to shelves after a previous effort to de-clutter its stores.
Wal-Mart’s inability to keep its shelves stocked coincides with slowing sales growth."

While Bloomberg reports that Simon's comments are taken from official minutes of the meeting, company spokesman David Tovar said they were "personal notes from one participant in the meeting and are not official company minutes," and said that "there are a number of significant misinterpretations and misleading statements that do not accurately reflect the comments by Bill Simon or any other participant in the meeting."

Tovar said that Walmart is happy with its in-stock positions.
KC's View:
No disrespect to Walmart, but I believe Tovar about as far as I can throw a supercenter.

I've gotten a number of emails from folks in recent months suggesting that out-of-stocks has become a growing problem for Walmart, one that it has a hard time dealing with. So I was not at all surprised to see the Bloomberg story ... though I would sort of like to know how it got hold of the official company minutes.