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Wal-Mart Reviews Home Resets

Kara Cox -- Home Textiles Today, March 12, 2007

Wal-Mart admitted the remaining home department revamp projects under its current remodel plan are "a little bit up in the air right now" in terms of completion, because of the costly, cumbersome, and lengthy conversion process.

Tom Schoewe, evp and cfo, said during the Bear, Stearns 13th Annual Retail, Restaurants and Consumers Conference that these home division remodels "are so invasive in the store."

He said, "They take up to twice as long as some of the other special projects. They are expensive and destructive to the store," adding Wal-Mart will "do some more of those [home remodels], test the waters and see what our approach is going to be for the rest of the year to make sure that we are maximizing our return on investment."

Schoewe insisted, though, that as the company evaluates the stores that are remodeled — whether through upgrades in the electronics and apparel areas or simply with cleaner restrooms for shoppers — it is finding revamped stores not only perform better than when Wal-Mart started the remodel program, but also perform better than a control group of stores that are not being fixed.

Wal-Mart's remodel/special projects plan encompasses 1,800 units selected for remodels over an 18-month period. It began in 2005 and is to be completed this fall, with the exception possibly of those stores slated for home department remodels.

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