Wal-Mart Plans To Bring Back 8,500 Products To Boost Sales - Update

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Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) Monday announced various initiatives, including bringing back thousands of 'favorite' products, and simplifying its ad match policy, with an aim to win back customers. The retailer's planned one-stop shopping convenience would deliver 'low prices every day, on everything', the company noted.

In order to help customers better understand its low price promise and Ad Match Guarantee on the widest assortment of products, Walmart is launching a national television advertising campaign today.

Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising officer, Walmart U.S., stated, "Walmart's reputation was founded on the principle of providing low prices day-in and day-out on the broadest assortment of merchandise. Our company is determined to create the best one-stop shopping experience and low prices on the right products backed by a clear, consistent ad match policy."

By late, Walmart's U.S. comparable-store sales has been a concern for the company, as its attempts to increase prices and reduce store clutter have not really gone down well with the customers. In its fourth quarter, Walmart U.S. net sales declined 0.5 percent to $71.11 billion, and total U.S. comparable store sales were down 1.1 percent without fuel, and down 0.8 percent with fuel, on slower store traffic.

Mike Duke, president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores, then had stated that the company is disappointed by U.S. sales.

As part of the various steps, Walmart will bring back approximately 8,500 items or 11 percent in an average store, including customers' favorite local food and consumables.

Additions to the dry grocery aisles for products like pasta, beverages and snacks have been in progress, while additions to fresh grocery and consumables will be made in next few months. Meanwhile, it will expand general merchandise categories like electronics, sporting goods, apparel, fabrics/crafts and outdoor living later this year.

Walmart noted that these products could be easily identifiable with new 'It's Back' flags on store shelves later this month.

With a view to reinvigorate its fundamental price promise, Walmart is stepping up its efforts to provide low prices. As part of this, it would increase competitive checks by its store managers and product buyers to help ensure that its offer lower prices on the right mix of items. The retailer would also work even more closely with suppliers to lower the cost per item, which could be beneficial for the customers.

Regarding its ad match policy, which it considers the most competitive in the market, Walmart said, if customers find a lower advertised price, it would match the price of any local competitor's printed ad for an identical product at the register.

Walmart noted that its advertising campaign also includes local market advertising featuring local Walmart associates and their stories.

In May, new in-store signage will appear in stores nationwide.

WMT closed Friday's trading at $52.54, down $0.46 or 0.87 percent.

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