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Long lines and empty shelves on Wal-Mart's fix list

  • Wal-Mart (WMT -1%) plans to keep more checkout lanes open during the holiday season rush period in an effort to turn around its damaging reputation for having long lines on the weekends.
  • The company will also dedicate more employee hours to overnight stocking in order to keep shelves full.
  • Though the strategies could add costs, it also addresses the concern of some analysts that Wal-Mart continues to lose more "milk-and-bread" shoppers to dollar store and convenience outlets due to the time factor.
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Comments (17)
  • SteveTheHawk
    , contributor
    Comments (1399) | Send Message
     
    I can imagine that they do lose to convenience stores when it comes to the true "bread and milk" shopper. The idea of going into a Walmart for only that purpose seems absurd. Walk across a huge parking lot.... walk all the way to the back of the store (where the milk always is)... wait in an always long checkout lane. Don't think so.

     

    I think that big box stores will always lose out on some things, and one of those is usually going to be the small purchase "quick trip" customer. That's because Walmart never has and never will qualify as a "quick".
    15 Aug, 02:07 PM Reply Like
  • Long Term Value
    , contributor
    Comments (190) | Send Message
     
    Do you think the "neighborhood stores", designed to be smaller and faster to get in/out will help?
    15 Aug, 02:26 PM Reply Like
  • wam350
    , contributor
    Comments (123) | Send Message
     
    Yes, they hae the things I want and its a quick in and out.
    15 Aug, 04:28 PM Reply Like
  • devlau20
    , contributor
    Comments (126) | Send Message
     
    Hire more "holiday cashiers?" Insufficient to the task as in the past. Our stores (No. VA) historically hire more cashiers from Thanksgiving until Jan. 1. What about the rest of the year? Multiple problems are simply ignored while US market share continues to drop. It's the caliber of the Walmart employee & manager. Employees are simply incapable of mastering the task…low salaried….zero retail experience…customer service focus is an empty void. Initially they need to hire a better class of employee. The cash layout is worth it over the long haul. Managers are totally disregarded by their employees for good reason…they're imbeciles who invariably smile & run for cover when customers demand shorter check out lines, restocked shelves & simple answers to questions. On big ticket items, cell phones, TV's, X-Box's, PlayStations, apps & games, the garden gnome stocking shelves or manning the cash register is all they've got. They can't answer a basic question, have no idea when product may be restocked, and couldn't tell an X-Box ($500.) from a Panasonic HDTV ($500.) if their life depended on it. All they can say is "Sorry we don't have it in stock," or "Do you want to buy it or not, I have to man the register, just find me when you decide." It's a zoo, not a box store. If Walmart keeps focusing on 1-2% international expansion/profit, they will become the pariah of American retail, and will lose more & more US market share where their bread is truly buttered.

     

    One more manager, who impatiently hears out a customer, excuses himself to hide, and says I'll have someone come over who can answer your question (always a fiction), and I'll join to growing cadre who wish Walmart no good.
    15 Aug, 02:27 PM Reply Like
  • SkyD
    , contributor
    Comments (13) | Send Message
     
    Well said. You hit the nail right on the head. Why should the employee care when they're subject to an uncertain schedule, are paid the bare minimum wage, and receive few, if any, benefits. Walmart needs to change their approach to retail and their attitude to their employees and customers
    .
    15 Aug, 04:17 PM Reply Like
  • wam350
    , contributor
    Comments (123) | Send Message
     
    I have NEVER had any of those experiences. Employes have always been helpful and courteous, never had a need to speak to a manager.
    15 Aug, 04:34 PM Reply Like
  • Total Return Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (783) | Send Message
     
    If you want expert specialized advice, go to a specialty store and pay the extra bucks. That is not what Walmart is about.
    15 Aug, 08:23 PM Reply Like
  • Total Return Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (783) | Send Message
     
    Invariably the employees at our local Walmart are courteous and helpful. If they don't know the answer, they will stop what they are doing and find someone who does.

     

    My only beef is the hit-and-miss stocking. It really is off putting to find 20-30% of the items you went there for are sold out. Walmart needs to hire enough employees to keep the shelves well stocked, and if that means paying more to hire and keep them then so be it.
    15 Aug, 08:18 PM Reply Like
  • 745
    , contributor
    Comments (247) | Send Message
     
    Baylor, are we talking about the same Walmart here? The last thing they want to do is pay more for their help. I was just in our local store the other day and I was grumbling about waiting in line again and the cashier chimed in about the low (8.50 hr.) wages she was getting and that's why Walmart can't find enough enough people to work for them, hence the empty registers. I'm a stockholder and also shop there, although I really have to ask myself on both counts, why?
    15 Aug, 08:47 PM Reply Like
  • Total Return Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (783) | Send Message
     
    They will pay more if they determine that paying more to keep lines short and shelves stocked will increase the top line, and maybe even the bottom line too in time. Being penny wise and pound foolish is stupid, and WMT is definitely not stupid.
    15 Aug, 09:30 PM Reply Like
  • Joe Lunchbox
    , contributor
    Comments (447) | Send Message
     
    Now if they could only do something about the "People of Walmart"
    16 Aug, 01:37 AM Reply Like
  • erandalln
    , contributor
    Comments (8) | Send Message
     
    In the California Central Valley managers were sternly reminded that there are NO extra hours available for overnight stockers. I can't speak to any other market or region.

     

    745,
    After observing the staffing policies first-hand and reading the comments regarding the company needing to generate FCF off of payroll, in addition to the normal revenue streams, I stopped considering WMT as a potential long-term hold.
    16 Aug, 05:18 AM Reply Like
  • Long Term Value
    , contributor
    Comments (190) | Send Message
     
    As an experiment I placed an order to walmart.com. Very impressed. Ordered 8/13, part of the order came 8/14, the rest on 8/16. Order was accurate, free shipping and three items were above expectations as they were "bonus " sizes, with extra product for "free".

     

    Prices were excellent. I would absolutely order again.
    17 Aug, 12:21 AM Reply Like
  • whiff
    , contributor
    Comments (704) | Send Message
     
    Walmart has a good chance at picking up a lot of Target's market share if they can get their act together - stocked shelves and speedier checkouts are retailing basics - why can't WM managers get out of their offices and recognize what is happening on their selling floors?
    18 Aug, 07:01 AM Reply Like
  • Total Return Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (783) | Send Message
     
    I agree with your general point, but the problem is not with the manager--at least not at our Walmart. I am continually amazed at how often I see the guy on the floor or in the lot at many different hours. He is routinely pinch hitting on tasks that strike me as better delegated to a low wage worker (if he had enough of them). I once asked one of the workers if the manager ever took a vacation.
    18 Aug, 07:17 AM Reply Like
  • Eddie Wingard
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    I don't understand why walmart has 20-30 lines and only a handful are ever open. We have recently switched to Amazon ordering and Target or local food stores. Went to a 24-hr walmart at 3 am and waited in only one open line nearly 30 minutes. Half the line ended up dropping out leaving carts full. Walmart was good at first, now they are big-time slacking trying to make cuts (mostly employee) and now service has gone to the gutter. Most people I talk to would rather spend a couple extra dollars at another store than wait in lines forever or just order from Amazon Prime. Time is precious (unless you don't have a couple extra dollars)
    17 Nov, 04:57 PM Reply Like
  • wam350
    , contributor
    Comments (123) | Send Message
     
    I'm fortunate enough to "have a couple of extra dollars" but have never experienced the wait time mentioned above at my local WMT
    18 Nov, 08:21 AM Reply Like
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