Out-of-stock charges off base in produce, Wal-Mart says - The Packer

Out-of-stock charges off base in produce, Wal-Mart says

04/17/2013 12:50:00 PM
Tom Karst

Wal-MartThe negative publicity that a former Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executive cast on the chain’s out of stock problems don’t speak to the chain’s actual performance, one key Wal-Mart produce executive said in mid-April.

Jerry Murray, a vice president of finance and logistics, had called Wal-Mart’s February sales a “disaster” in an e-mail obtained and reported by Bloomberg. Murray left the company April 5 amid speculation that out-of-stock issues complicated by thin staffing were contributing to recent unimpressive sales growth.

Saying that he believes Wal-Mart’s produce quality and in-stock performance is “better than it has ever been,” Dorn Wenninger, vice president of produce at Wal-Mart, Bentonville, Ark., provided e-mail responses April 16 to questions about out-of-stock perceptions at Wal-Mart.

The chain is making gains in the produce side of its business by focusing on getting better prices, better quality and better availability to customers, he said.

“Wal-Mart’s on-shelf availability across the store is at historically high levels, with 97% of our stores having an On-Shelf Availability score of more than 90%,” Wenninger said.

Bruce Peterson, president of Peterson Insights Inc., Fayetteville, Ark., said there’s a number of stories surfacing about Wal-Mart’s stocking problems in recent months. However, he said that may not be an accurate reflection of reality. Peterson, former senior vice president of perishables for Wal-Mart, left the chain in 2007 after 15 years with the company.

“What I find interesting about all this is that at least from a numerical standpoint, Wal-Mart is feeling pretty good about their in-stock, yet these articles are surfacing say their in-stock isn’t as good,” he said. “Where is the disconnect? Why would that be?”

Victim of scale

One reason, Peterson said, that may contribute to the disconnect is that Wal-Mart is the victim of scale, with 25% of their stores outstanding, 25% not so good and 50% of the stores average. With thousands of stores instead of dozens of stores, the chain’s weak links are exposed over a greater geographic area that is more likely to attract attention, Peterson said.

“If you have 4,000 stores, there are 1,000 stores that may be having some issues,” he said.
Now Wal-Mart is in almost every city, not just small town America, Peterson said.


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ted benatovich    
boynton beach fla  |  April, 18, 2013 at 01:12 PM

i would love to discuss your problems. my background is supermarkets in western n.y.+ i have a vast knowledge in so in many departments, your problems can be solved profit to be made please feel free to contact me at 1-561-361-4102.WEGMANS IS A GREATEXAMPLE THANKS PLEASE CONTACT ME ANY TIME TED

PB    
April, 19, 2013 at 02:55 PM

PLAIN AND SIMPLE, WHEN THE VENDORS WERE MANAGING WAL-MART'S INVENTORIES, THEY WOULD ALWAYS MAKE SURE THEY HAD PRODUCT, THEY WOULD COVER THE CENTERS WITH SHORT BUYS FROM LOCAL SUPPLIERS-- AS IT STANDS NOW- NO ONE DOES THIS-- IF PRODUCT IS REJECTED- NO ONE RESPONDS WITH ANY PRODUCT TO FILL THE VOID??

Ben Hedges    
Virginia  |  April, 22, 2013 at 09:39 PM

Walmart's grocery volume depends on shoppers combining dry goods purchases with grocery and customers have started to drop the grocery side of their weekly visits. Grocery staffing is being cut as it contributes to less of the overall site sales, and frozen and dairy take priority over produce. Several Managers have told me only Hispanic and some Asian shoppers and big produce buyers and they tend to do their regular grocery shopping elsewhere. The demand just isn't there to justify the labor in the produce dept.

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