retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Chicago Tribune reports on life and lessons at Wal-Mart Academy, described as a multi-location "training program that by the end of 2017 will have reached a quarter million employees of the world’s largest retailer."

An excerpt:

"While the company slows down store expansion to invest in remodeling and raising employee pay, it also is establishing dedicated training sites in select stores across the country, 100 so far and 200 by the end of the year.

"The Shawnee store has the Wal-Mart Academy for the Kansas City area. Its training site occupies 2,500 square feet at the back of the store, replete with ranks of desktop computers, iPads, Apple-based software and walls decorated with trademark blue and yellow graphics with upbeat messages.

"Ian Markley, one of 17 trainers — called facilitators — at the Shawnee academy, wears a headset and carries an electronic device as he maneuvers through a training room. Lesson information is synced onto the trainees’ individual screens or projected on a wall-mounted screen. Participants lean over small yellow pads, scribbling copious notes as Markley digs into the minutiae of restocking and order programs."

While it is too early to be able to calculate ROI for the training programs, there is a sense that if Walmart is going to remain current in the bricks-and-mortar arena - even as it invests billions in e-commerce companies and initiatives - it has to make its stores more efficient and effective.

You can read the entire story here.
KC's View: