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It's Win, Place or Show at Walmart

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, June 22, 2009

Don't know how many of you all out there have been watching the Walmart ads of late, but they're merely the tip of the iceberg so far as the No. 1 retailer is concerned.

The ads — whether for Disney or Canopy in the home textiles arena or for interesting food for an upcoming holiday or whatever — all have the same tag line: “Save money, live better.” And the visuals are dramatically improved.

It's all part of a major corporate strategy that embraces every element of the business.

That strategy was underscored at a day-long home furnishings summit meeting held earlier this month at corporate headquarters in Bentonvillle, Ark.

As recounted by a number of those present, the company is tightly focused on 10 words, kind of a corporate mantra – single mindedness that is put into play with every merchandise, logistical and consumer driven effort. The ten words are: save money, live better, win, place, show, fast, friendly, clean.

One of the key issues, company execs related, is that while Walmart's prices are low, customer data indicates there is a lower perception of quality than the company would like.

So for the future, the retailer has established levels of performance for each category across the store. To be in the 'win' category, the goal is to double the growth rate of the category. 'Place' has two facets: sustained volume or growth, while 'show' relates to a presentation of the product(s) without a predetermined growth if any.

In home textiles, for example, 'win' includes sheets, towels and pillows — all core categories with great assortments and value.

On the growth side of 'place' are blankets, quilts (an ascending category), and bedspreads. The sustained segments of 'play' are bed in a bag, foam and basic comforters. Fashion bedding, licensed bedding, down and throws are key in the 'show' tier.

Unlike many of their competitors, the Bentonville folks are basing their forward plans of a fact-based, data-driven scenario that is designed to take them well beyond the current economic situation.

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