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Excerpt from our One Page Annotated Wall Street Journal Summary (receive it by email every morning by signing up here):

To Boost Sales, Wal-Mart Drops One-Size-Fits-All Approach

  • Summary: Wal-Mart (WMT), long known for its identical stores, has begun to adopt six model store types for different demographics. Eduardo Castro-Wright, the company's CEO of U.S. stores noted that if you have one store type across geographies "you end up under-serving everyone because you don't have an offering that is specific to that customer segment." One of the challenges Wal-Mart is currently facing is a slow-down of same store sales which dropped from 9% in 1999 to 3% last year. Competitor Target (TGT) which sells at discount prices to more upscale shoppers recorded gains of 6% last year. This is not Mr. Castro-Wright's first shot at localization: as former head of Wal-Mart Mexico he refined the company's product mix to target various income levels.
  • Comment on related stocks/ETFs: Wal-Mart has its share of bears and bulls: Hilary Kramer doesn't think there's room for upside at Wal-Mart, and prefers Target's upscale approach. Yaser Anwar thinks there's room for growth at Wal-Mart, but Investopedia Advisor doesn't see a turnaround there any time soon. See the company's recent earnings call transcript.
Source: Is Localization the Answer to Wal-Mart's Woes?