retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Recode writes that a recent internal Walmart company memo "highlights its struggles to overcome competitors like Amazon, Instacart, and Target. The document also hints at challenges the company’s new subscription service Walmart+ is facing in retaining new members."

According to the story, "The 100-page document from February, which was viewed by Recode, was created for advertising agencies that Walmart invited to compete to handle the planning and buying of ad placements for the retail giant. The memo makes several blunt assessments about the uphill battle Walmart faces to hold onto its once-dominant retail market position, including in the US grocery industry, where the company has long been No. 1 in sales."

Recode goes on:  "Even in the online grocery market, where Walmart has held the No. 1 position thanks in large part to its popular curbside pickup service at its supercenter stores, the memo reports that the company is barely holding on to the lead position. Delivery company Instacart gained popularity at Walmart’s expense early in the pandemic, when the retail chain could not keep up with the rush of customer demand, the memo states, and is seen on an enclosed chart as being nearly even with the retail giant for the top position in the US online grocery market."

Regarding the company's Walmart+ offering, the memo reportedly "says the company is seeing improvements when it comes to the percentage of members who renew when their membership lapses. But Walmart says the service still needs to improve renewal rates, as well as the rate at which free-trial participants convert to paying members and the number of members who purchase general merchandise alongside low-profit groceries."

You can read the Recode piece here.

KC's View:

I have one thought about this … which is that it strikes me as entirely possible that Walmart, in an effort to get concessions from ad agencies with which it is dealing, might actually benefit from playing up its challenges and casting its efforts in the harshest light.

It usually is the barrister who describes himself as a "simple country lawyer" who you really have to watch out for.