BOSTON — Simplifying assortment and thoughtful, strategic pricing have helped drive the grocery business at Walmart Inc., but more work is needed, said Gregory S. Foran, president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S.
“I get out to the stores every single week,” Mr. Foran told participants at the UBS Global Consumer and Retail Conference on March 6 in Boston. “About half the time I’m okay with it, and the other half, I’m grumpy.”
One area of improvement for Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart has been simplifying its product assortment. Using Ritz crackers as an example, Mr. Foran said stores carried more than of nine different varieties of Ritz Original crackers, ranging from single packs to double packs to flat packs to bonus packs. He said such proliferation reaches a piont where the quesition is asked, “What are we doing here?” As a result, Walmart has simplified the assortment.
He said the company also has benefited from thoughtful, strategic pricing, as well as the growth of the online grocery business.
“If you want to know one of the things that helps food, our food business, is when the store knows that it’s going to become an online grocery store,” Mr. Foran said. “Because now, you are the personal shopper. You are picking out the capsicums or the asparagus. You are the one that’s pulling out the meat.”
Although it is improving, the company continues to address its fresh offerings.
“Fresh has been a big deal, and we haven’t even got close to arriving on fresh,” Mr. Foran said. “I still go into stores and the wet wall — leafy greens — quality isn’t good. We get to the store, (and) they haven’t got their P.I. (perpetual inventory) right. They’re not rotating the merchandise. But it’s better than it was. Meat has improved. The quality of our beef, our drive to get Angus, prime Angus, has worked, and I know it. I buy it. I eat it. I can taste the difference.”