Wegmans top supermarket in Consumer Reports survey (Costco #6, BJ’s #42, Target #45, Sam’s #47) by Emily Babay at Philly.com. “The results, which appear in the May issue of the magazine, are based on nearly 63,000 responses that reflect about 111,200 shopping trips readers took between March 2013 and July 2014.” Read more
Greg Foran updates progress in Walmart U.S by Kim Souza at The City Wire. “Foran said there are some bright spots in the retailer’s fleet of some 4,500 stores, calling out four stores in Boise, Idaho, as models for others to follow. He told analysts if they wanted to see where Walmart store operations are headed they need to visit Boise.” Read more
Target gets into April Fools’ Day spirit with new FannyBasket by Nick Woltman at Twin Cities / Pioneer Press. “Target on Wednesday rolled out its new hands-free shopping solution, the FannyBasket. Because “70 percent of the time, 80 percent of Americans have a phone in 50 percent of their hands.” See the video / Read more
NY Times: Walmart Emerges as Unlikely Social Force by Hiroku Tibuchi & Michael Barbaro. “They’ve done a complete 180,” said Justin G. Nelson, co-founder and president of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. “You have a company that frankly was abysmal on L.G.B.T. issues if you go back five years, but has now become an employer that has a nondiscrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, that is headquartered in an incredibly conservative state.” Read more
***A message from Orchard Road Canning – Designer inspired style brings life to the home canning category. Announcing the decorative series of canning caps featuring three custom designs: Wild Daisy, Fruit and Gingham. Available in Regular Mouth. Finally, something unique and differentiated to drive incremental sales in the home canning and storage categories! See the decorative designs. Request samples: email@example.com.
Number of ‘clicks’ is barrier for hiring older employees by Richard Eisenberg at Forbes. “…students who enrolled generally weren’t very familiar with using the Internet to look for work. Employers often don’t make it easy for them. “The job application for Home Depot required 38 clicks, Walmart required 49 clicks and CVS required 50 clicks. They’re tough to get through,” said Pappas. As a result, some of the students gave up.” Read more
Best Buy closed 48 stores last year, mainly under the Mobile banner by Nick Halter at Minn./St.Paul Business Journal. Read more
Analyst: Wal-Mart pressuring suppliers to cut promotional costs is more about the newspaper industry than it is about Wal-Mart by Ben Levisohn at Barron’s. “We have been watching the shift from print to digital for awhile. Most recently we discussed the opportunity at consumer electronics retailer hhgregg to dramatically cut print and save money from its advertising budget with a minimal impact to sales. Best Buy has started this as well. A key challenge to cutting print has been the support of vendors for weekly circulars.” Read more
Best Buy among first businesses fined for not giving paid sick leave to NYC employees by Reuven Blau at NY Daily News. Read more
Publix store to install system to help hearing impaired by Janelle O’Dea at Bradenton Herald. “Typically used in concert venues and restaurants, the hearing-loop device will be used in Publix Super Markets at the pharmacy and in the checkout line to help customers block out ambient noise and focus on their transactions.” Read more
Lumber Liquidators March same-store sales fall 17.8 pct at Reuters via Yahoo. Read more
Amazon’s Prime Now expands to Atlanta by Carla Cardwell at Atlanta Business Chronicle. “Prime Now is available from 8 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. Two-hour delivery is free and one-hour delivery is available for $7.99.” Read more
J.C.Penney Likes Apple Watch by Nicholas Turner at Bloomberg. “(Neely) Tamminga, who also said that Apple Inc.’s new smartwatch will help bring consumers to shopping malls next month, has the equivalent of a buy rating on J.C. Penney’s stock. “The Apple Watch launch in April on the other side of Easter may provide natural traffic back into malls as folks seek out (or at least ogle) the latest and greatest from Apple,” she said.” Read more
Random: A Look Inside Mike Tyson’s Deserted Ohio Mansion at Architectural Afterlife. See the pics
Highlights from Walmart’s U.S. Strategic Update Call with Investor Community
Greg Foran – CEO Walmart US
Building a strong and enduring business is both strategy and principles. Let me begin with the principles: One, tell the unvarnished truth.
Our processes require some rework, might be overnight stocking, markdown cadence, rotation of fresh food are just some.
We want this year to be the year of improving our stores.
So by the time we hit holiday season, our stores are clean, tidy, well merchandised and run by engaged associates. Today in the main, we’re not.
If you’d like to know where I would like our business to be by the holiday season, visit Boise.
We’ve got too much inventory in the backrooms.
We’ve reduced the number of PDQs that are flowing to stores.
We started to reduce the price of products, nearing expiration date.
…We estimate this markdown initiative alone is delivering a retail run rate saving of over $500 million annually.
Some of the stores recently opened in our opinion are not quite as good as ones that we had opened in previous years.
Las Vegas store: Our store manager Donna and her associates have within just four short months taken the percentage of baskets with produce from 25% to 45%.
With over 4,500 stores, we are within 10 miles of nearly 90% of all Americans…That is a competitive advantage.
Tank tops: Andy Barron, our SVP for Softlines, and his team developed a cami or tank top for this season, great quality; unbelievable price, $1.68. We projected sales for this item to be 13 million units this season versus 6 million that we did the previous season. Andy came to me the other week and said he’s upped the order to 50 million units.
The apparel team has driven strong comps over the last year; as well seasonal continues to be a little highlight.
Our job at the home office in Bentonville is to serve the stores to in turn serve customers…But to be frank, in some recent years, we’ve slipped a little away from this.
We’ve got plenty of opportunity, but as I often say to my team, you get one point for talking about it, nine points to do it.
We’re giving a bit more freedom to merchandise to our stores; we want them to have fun with that; we want them to drive sales as a result of this.
This year we’ve introduced customer experience metric into our market managers.
One of my sons is a pretty good rugby league player in Australia. As we’ve said to one another for all the talk of kicks, passes and plays, the key ingredient in that game is belief; you either take it away from the opposition and feed your own or the equation goes the other way, belief.
I am not into gimmicks, I’m into simplicity ensuring that we negotiate the very best price and then pass that price on to our customers.
You got to give (store associates) enough to keep them interested and you got to give them enough to serve customers and then they’ll progress through the business and one day they will be doing our jobs. And we lost our little bit of that because we wound things down pretty tight.
A guy called Jack Shoemaker and Roger Corbett who is on our board have taught me a lot over the years about store layout, that creating a situation where you create a concave situation in your store. What does that mean; it means your walls are more powerful than the middle.
I was walking in that (electronics) department and we started taking the signs down. And the department manager who’s being with us for about 17 years came up and gave me a big hug and she said thank goodness we’re doing this.
We made a mess in that (electronics) area other areas I think we’ve done a really good job. But that one I agree with you, I think we missed.
We were eating beacon and eggs for breakfast the other day and my wife said it’s great value beacon and I can tell you it was fantastic.
Judith McKenna – COO, Walmart U.S.
I am very clear that the priority for operations for this year is to improve the customer experience.
The three things that matter most to customers are clean, fast, and friendly.
Grocery Pickup/Delivery Test: it’s been very strong as we’ve launched into Phoenix and into Huntsville in particular.
All neighborhood markets in the future will open up with a bakery and a deli.
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