Canadian retail powerhouses address trends

04/10/2014 07:53:00 AM
Chris Koger

Silvestro said Wal-Mart is in a “forunate position” of being a global company with offices in different countries.

“I think what that brings to the table for the grower community is the different specs that each country is looking for,” he said. “We’re not looking for one single size and that gives us the opportunity to work with growers to try to take a full array of everything they have to offer.”

Communication between suppliers and retailers is key, Smethurst said.

“We’re in the produce industry, and we understand what happens, it’s a living product, so deliver on the quality,” she said. “If the quality is not right, place the call. Let’s make the decision together.”

Hamel agreed.

“We need the suppliers to believe in our brand as much as we do, and if they see there’s something we should be correcting, I would appreciate to have an honest discussion about it,” she said.

Bondi said retailers can’t “put all of their eggs into one basket” because supplies can be unpredictable in perishables, but companies tend to work with growers that meet their needs.

“In essence, you continue to look for suppliers and growers that you can give more of that volume to because you have that confidence they have the ability to provide it in the way you want it,” he said.

At one point, recalling his career at Kroger, Griffin injected some humor into the conversation, addressing Silvestro.

“Working as a competitor, (Wal-Mart has) funamentally changed how produce is procured in the United States and probably the world, for retailers,” he said. “So I’d like to thank you for that, Sam.”


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