Walmart’s Charles Holley Jr., Executive VP & CFO, Presents at 2013 Consumer & Retail Conference (3/12/13). Highlights from Bank of America / Merrill Lynch conference:
* Believes delayed tax returns impacted Jan. sales slowdown much more than the new payroll tax.
* Recent partnership with Nielsen allows Walmart to work more “surgically” with vendors to find market gaps and track market share.
* Continued focus on “Back to Basics” — when Walmart gets away from it they lose their consumer.
* Have brought back the skus needed to regain consumer trust.
* Current macro economic headwinds that impact Walmart shoppers the most (in rank order): 1) Jobs, 2) Taxes (which was a recent surprise to Walmart), 3) Cost of food, 4) Gas prices.
* Focused on creating a global e-commerce platform across all countries.
* No major plans to reallocate real estate within the store.
* No plans to launch a loyalty card (such as Target’s 5% off Red Card). Walmart believes that “all” consumers deserve the lowest price.
* Sam’s Club in Texas testing discounted memberships through LivingSocial. Still in test mode and no conclusions from test available yet.
* New store growth not focused in one area or geography but will be spread across large and small towns, urban and rural.
* Grocery and move to real and sustainable food: Looking to offer more organic foods; not trying to tell consumers what to eat but to better educate where possible.
* Asked about moving into the services space, Holley mentioned opportunities in Financial Services and Healthcare, on the latter saying they hadn’t “cracked” it yet, but they still see as an opportunity.
* Dump Bins with $5 DVD’s sell surprisingly well.
* Brazil — Focused on integrating their green field startup with their two acquisitions to gain greater efficiencies.
“Wal-Mart’s Holley Says February Sales Returned to Normal” by Renee Dudley at Bloomberg. “Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley said sales returned to normal by the end of February after being hurt by delayed tax returns the previous month. The slowing in sales in January wasn’t “disastrous,” Holley said today at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2013 Consumer & Retail Conference in New York.” Read more: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-03-12/wal-mart-s-holley-says-february-sales-returned-to-normal
“Target Canada Ads Upset Mr. Rogers Fans” at CBS Pittsburgh. “Target stores in Canada started opening this month, but the ad campaign for the new chain stores has many upset. The music in the ads is a cover version of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” the popular theme song from the children’s TV show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood…The Globe and Mail reports that the Target ad campaign is the first time that the Fred Rogers Company has licensed commercial use of the theme song.” Read more: http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/03/12/target-canada-ads-upset-mr-rogers-fans/
“Target reportedly signs on with rumored Google Shopping Express same-day delivery service” by Adi Robertson at The Verge. “Google’s rumored same-day delivery service may already have one major partner on board. In an alleged internal letter printed by TechCrunch, Google says that it is “excited to open Google Shopping Express to every Googler in the Bay Area,” listing partnerships with “Target, Nob Hill Foods, Babies ‘R’ Us, and more.” Read more: http://www.theverge.com/2013/3/12/4093974/target-reportedly-signs-on-with-google-shopping-express
“The New Costco? Buying Meat Out of a Truck in a Church Parking Lot” by Brad Tuttle at Time. “Many shoppers are doing just that with an emerging service from a Washington-based company called Zaycon Foods, even as the company requires customers to accept two unusual practices: buying in bulk (those chicken breasts come in 40-pound boxes) and (here’s the really weird part of this) buying out of the back of a truck rather than a typical store. Zaycon’s drive-thru markets have been held in places such as Winston-Salem, N.C., the Tampa Bay region in Florida, and Fresno, Calif. Customers place their orders online, and pickups in area parking lots (outside churches, bowling alleys, roller rinks) are scheduled on specific days.” Read more: http://business.time.com/2013/03/12/the-new-costco-buying-meat-out-of-a-truck-in-a-church-parking-lot/
“MakerBot Founder: The Next Industrial Revolution Is Here (3D Printing) by Eric Markowitz at Inc. via CNBC. “Bre Pettis believes we’re on the brink of the next industrial revolution. In this revolution, mass production is replaced with personalized production. Overseas supply chains are eradicated to favor local creations. Creativity doesn’t just inspire — it produces physical stuff…MakerBot recently opened a MakerBot store in New York City.” Read more: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100546031
“Sears Hometown And Outlet Stores, Inc. Reports Preliminary Fourth Quarter And Full Year 2012 Results” “Comparable store sales declined 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to the fourth quarter of 2011 with a 0.8% increase in Hometown and a 4.8% decrease in Outlet. Excluding consumer electronics, comparable stores sales increased by 1.1% overall and increased 2.6% in Hometown.” Read more: http://media.prnewswire.com/en/jsp/latest.jsp?resourceid=6459535&access=EH
“As e-commerce attacks traditional retail, Costco comes out on top” by Lily Kuo at Quartz. “Aside from a weak economy that gives Costco a leg up, analysts say the shopping club also benefits from the fact (paywall) that most of its sales growth is in foodstuffs rather than durable goods. Since most people still don’t buy these online, that makes Costco less vulnerable than other brick-and-mortar stores to competition from the likes of Amazon. But Costco’s advantage in this zero-sum retail game may not last long. Target is reportedly in talks with Google to begin pilot same-day delivery service in a handful of stores in California.” Read more: http://qz.com/61882/as-e-commerce-attacks-traditional-retail-costco-comes-out-on-top/
“Consumer Reports Index: Consumer Sentiment Improves” But…the Consumer Reports Index’s Past 30-day retail measure continues to lag. It is now at 9.9, below both last month (10.5) and one year ago (11.5). The drivers of this decline were softness in both major home and personal electronics as well as small appliances. Planned consumer retail activity for March, as predicted in the Index’s next 30-day retail measure, shows year-over-year losses in the same categories.” Read more: http://media.prnewswire.com/en/jsp/latest.jsp?resourceid=6459766&access=EH
“Office Depot Receives Climate Leadership Award from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency” “The Goal Achievement Award recognizes organizations that publicly report and verify Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventories and achieve aggressive reduction goals. In 2010, in collaboration with EPA’s former Climate Leaders program, Office Depot adopted a goal of reducing U.S. GHG emissions by 20 percent by 2012, with 2007 as a baseline year. By the end of 2011, Office Depot had achieved a 29 percent reduction in the U.S. versus its baseline year.” Read more: http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsLang=en&newsId=20130312006082&div=-1245645151