retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Fortune reports that Walmart is eliminating the role of zone manager in its 4,500 US stores "in a bid to cut bureaucracy and give front-line workers more say." The goal, the company said, is to "reduce bureaucracy, improve customer service, and give front-line workers more input into how their section of the store is run."

Affected employees, the story says, "typically six per store, will be redeployed to other roles within stores," with the changes slated "to be implemented by this summer and will not result in a headcount reduction."

According to the story, "The move comes as the CEO of Wal-Mart’s U.S. division, Greg Foran, has pledged to make shopping at Wal-Mart more appealing, an important task given how delicate the recovery in shopper traffic trends has been for the retailer in recent months. Foran, who took over the $280 billion a year U.S. business last year, recently told Wall Street analysts that 'we have recently undertaken some important activities to simplify our organization and empower our stores, our associates in our stores to make decisions'."
KC's View:
No sinister motivations here that I can detect. I firmly believe that bureaucracy often is the enemy of progress, and that seems to be what Walmart is trying to eliminate ... though this is just one layer in a company that has more layers than an onion.