Walmart Throws Out Tests to See What Sticks
It’s been well documented that Walmart has not had
an easy time of it over the past couple of years. That said, the world’s largest
retailer has announced a whole host of initiatives including rollbacks, small
store concepts, in-store pickup of online orders and expanded assortments to
help it regain its momentum. Now, two separate reports suggest the company
sees the potential to build sales through appliance sales and online grocery.
in The Wall Street Journal reported the retail store operator
was ready to get into home appliance sales beginning with a test in more than
100 stores in Texas. The pilot project in Walmart locations would sell appliances
manufactured by General Electric.
While Walmart did not offer comment
on the report, the Journal reported
remarks made last month by Bill Simon, head of the company’s U.S. business.
Simon said the retailer is “looking at everything including appliances
right now. If it’s something that we believe there is customer demand for and
an opportunity to make some money, we’re going to get into it in a big way.”
a move by Walmart into appliance sales would have major ramifications for
others in the space, including Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sears and others.
report by Bloomberg News said Walmart is considering
a test of online grocery delivery service in the San Jose, CA market. The project
with the internal name “Project Titan” is still apparently in the
consideration stage with no formal plans to proceed.
“Wal-Mart needs to get
more serious about e-commerce, so that would be interesting,” Matt Nemer, an
analyst at Wells Fargo, told Bloomberg.
“Grocery delivery works in urban markets, and they already do it in the U.K.,
so they have experience.”
According to the news service, Walmart brought
in Richard Ramsden, who headed Asda’s home shopping service in the U.K., to
work with Walmart.com.
The retailer’s online grocery business began selling
some shelf-stable grocery items on the site last year.
“Growing their comparable-store sales by a percent takes a lot of revenue,” Peter
Brown, vice chairman at Kurt Salmon, told the Journal. “But they
have to start driving some growth, and that means exploring a wide range of
- Wal-Mart Explores Selling Large Appliances – The Wall Street Journal
Said to Plan Test of Online Grocery Delivery Service – Bloomberg
Discussion Questions: What do you think about Walmart’s potential moves into appliances and online grocery? Are there any other steps not yet reported that you think Walmart might pursue to jumpstart lagging sales?