Walmart observations

arizonaguy
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by arizonaguy »

rwsandiego wrote: May 7th, 2021, 7:51 pm Walmart is going down the same path as Sears and K-Mart did back in their respective days. It will take a while, but it won't end well.
I don't necessarily agree. Walmart, unlike the other two, doesn't seem to wait forever to abandon ideas that aren't working. Walmart, also unlike Sears and K-Mart, isn't afraid to try new ideas in the first place. What killed Sears and K-Mart was complacency and refusal to adapt which are two things that simply are not in Walmart's DNA.

Walmart has focused almost exclusively on digital over the past 2-3 years and has a very good online platform in place. I'd argue that this focus comes somewhat at the expense of its physical stores but Walmart was somewhat overstored anyways so even if it thins out its store fleet it really won't impact its overall sales. The digital offerings are actually drawing in customers of other retailers who like Walmart's additional options (especially during the pandemic).

I have noticed out of stocks (or pallets of goods simply piled in the aisles) at Walmart and this is something that needs to be addressed. Walmart consistently does have more out of stocks than its competitors do in my area. I know Walmart doesn't have issues getting the product to the store so they need to address why it isn't getting onto the shelves. As far as milk I have noticed that they have recently switched their dairy provider (at least in Arizona). They used to use Shamrock Farms here for most private label milk (Target and Sam's Club also use Shamrock Farms) but within the last month has switched to Sarah Farms (who Costco and WinCo also use).
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by storewanderer »

babs wrote: May 7th, 2021, 9:19 pm Walmart is a mess. They have massive stock outages. Just last week I was there and there wasn't a single gallon of milk. You can't be taken seriously if you can't keep a staple like milk in stock. The store in my neck of the woods is across the street from a WinCo that is well stocked and has lower prices.

The reason I think Walmart will survive unlike Kmart is because none of the big national retailers can figure out how to market to lower income folks. It's a huge market that Kroger, Target, Amazon, and many others fail to understand. Another Kmart or Walmart would need to come around to knock down Walmart and I just see that retailer out there today.
Spend some time in the midwest and South- Kroger stands up quite well to Wal Mart with lower income shoppers.

I am sure Wal Mart had pallets of milk in the back room. Just no labor was present and/or no labor was on task to fill the dairy. They probably need to switch to the Sam's model where the pallet is directly inside the door for the customer to take the gallon from.

These high number of pallets in Wal Mart Stores is a fairly recent development. It is a major problem. They are also losing a ton on inventory shrinkage because stuff is sitting on pallets for literally months before getting restocked and by the time it gets restocked it is reduced significantly in price in some cases. I have gotten some fantastic prices at Wal Mart on various non food items due to this. I am enjoying it while it lasts because I expect they will get control over this problem at some point soon.
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by SamSpade »

babs wrote: May 7th, 2021, 9:19 pm Walmart is a mess. They have massive stock outages. Just last week I was there and there wasn't a single gallon of milk. You can't be taken seriously if you can't keep a staple like milk in stock. The store in my neck of the woods is across the street from a WinCo that is well stocked and has lower prices.
What is with our local WM and milk lately?!? My friend reported over dinner about not having milk at his neighborhood market and I bought Umpqua that ended up tasting like milk that was left out on the room temperature counter. :|
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by storewanderer »

SamSpade wrote: May 7th, 2021, 11:48 pm
babs wrote: May 7th, 2021, 9:19 pm Walmart is a mess. They have massive stock outages. Just last week I was there and there wasn't a single gallon of milk. You can't be taken seriously if you can't keep a staple like milk in stock. The store in my neck of the woods is across the street from a WinCo that is well stocked and has lower prices.
What is with our local WM and milk lately?!? My friend reported over dinner about not having milk at his neighborhood market and I bought Umpqua that ended up tasting like milk that was left out on the room temperature counter. :|
Umpqua was recently sold to Producers of Fresno, CA. Does the milk show an OR or a CA plant code? The former Dean facility here in Reno was also recently sold to Producers. So far I have purchased various items from Producers some made here at 32-01 and some with a CA plant code, without issue.

Wal Mart's problems with in-stock seem to be getting worse... they are going to start to bleed shoppers quick if they don't get control of this.
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by buckguy »

Walmart has lost a ton of money on online shopping, in part because they bought businesses whose growth was stunted after their purchase. Not unlike Sears buying Land's End. KMart's squandering of money on businesses that ultimately had problems of their own is not unlike Walmart being stuck with Sam's and the weak operation they had in Japan.

Walmart's performance has mostly stagnated since the early '00s. Their model is based on volume and they sought to build volume with low margin areas like food (more equipment and labor intensive than general merchandise) and, later, electronics which is a commodity business. Their strength has always been supply chain management, but their poblems aren't amenable to technical fixes---they require a larger, more motivated laborforce at the store level and probably something other than the contracted-out sweatshop model for warehouses.

Sears and K-Mart's decline began before private equity when they actually did things that proved successful at least for awhile--KMart with its celebrity merchandise lines and even the initial rollout of Big KMart. Sears did well through the 80s with thing slike "the soft side of Sears" but couldn't sustain it. Sears was a mature, if dusty, brand that still had some good fundamentals like the, brand equity in hardlines, before being bought out. KMart had had more ups and downs and less focus. At this point Walmart is stuck with a very centralized system and a stigmatized brand. They're trying to play catchup online where the competition is bigger and more nimble (Amazon) and at the store level, they have competitors that will always beat them for profitable lines, like fashionable clothing or perishables on the food side as well as dollar stores that pick away at their lower income base. Walmart has a lot of parallels with KMart in the late 20th century, with some unique challenges, as well. The Walton family's need for the business as a piggy bank and institutional investors' desire for return on investment have really squeezed them--they really can't go lower on labor and they no longer can count on having new store construction subsuduzed by local government as it once was. If they were smaller they could let the business wither away like Dillard's, with profits used to buy back stock and inflate dividends, but they don't have that luxury.
arizonaguy wrote: May 7th, 2021, 10:48 pm
rwsandiego wrote: May 7th, 2021, 7:51 pm Walmart is going down the same path as Sears and K-Mart did back in their respective days. It will take a while, but it won't end well.
I don't necessarily agree. Walmart, unlike the other two, doesn't seem to wait forever to abandon ideas that aren't working. Walmart, also unlike Sears and K-Mart, isn't afraid to try new ideas in the first place. What killed Sears and K-Mart was complacency and refusal to adapt which are two things that simply are not in Walmart's DNA.

Walmart has focused almost exclusively on digital over the past 2-3 years and has a very good online platform in place. I'd argue that this focus comes somewhat at the expense of its physical stores but Walmart was somewhat overstored anyways so even if it thins out its store fleet it really won't impact its overall sales. The digital offerings are actually drawing in customers of other retailers who like Walmart's additional options (especially during the pandemic).

I have noticed out of stocks (or pallets of goods simply piled in the aisles) at Walmart and this is something that needs to be addressed. Walmart consistently does have more out of stocks than its competitors do in my area. I know Walmart doesn't have issues getting the product to the store so they need to address why it isn't getting onto the shelves. As far as milk I have noticed that they have recently switched their dairy provider (at least in Arizona). They used to use Shamrock Farms here for most private label milk (Target and Sam's Club also use Shamrock Farms) but within the last month has switched to Sarah Farms (who Costco and WinCo also use).
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by veteran+ »

rwsandiego wrote: May 7th, 2021, 7:51 pm Walmart is going down the same path as Sears and K-Mart did back in their respective days. It will take a while, but it won't end well.
I truly hope so!

:D
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by jamcool »

Replaced by whom? Target- who has its own problems? Amazon-with its own employee problems, and the possibility of it being broken up due to anti-trust rules? Dollar General?
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by Super S »

Walmart isn't the only store with out of stock issues. My local Fred Meyer has been completely out of milk several times since the pandemic started.
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by storewanderer »

jamcool wrote: May 8th, 2021, 8:25 am Replaced by whom? Target- who has its own problems? Amazon-with its own employee problems, and the possibility of it being broken up due to anti-trust rules? Dollar General?
This is the issue I see. Target won't replace them- Target is largely a joke. Target is great at marketing. Target pays its employees less than Wal Mart, has less product mix, and far worse logistics systems. Same Made in China products presented better with a higher price tag than Wal Mart. In the next economic downturn who knows what will happen to Target. But Wal Mart will keep chugging along like it always does, picking up business from other retailers that either go away or have a high price perception as cash strapped consumers look for perceived lower cost options. I don't think Wal Mart is going anywhere, anytime soon. Wal Mart has a lot of problems, but it also has a lot of customers. And those Wal Mart customers seem to be rather forgiving despite the store's shortfalls and keep coming back week after week. Target customers on the other hand, as we saw 10-15 years ago when the company was having problems, leave quickly for "the next fad." Or when their wallets get empty.

What I find most interesting about Wal Mart is they stay in product categories that are clearly failing for them from a narrow category only view. But the problem is once you start taking away or severely editing product categories, you are no longer a mass merchandise store and this seems to be something that Wal Mart understands and I think it is a big part of what keeps their customers coming back despite poor store conditions and service. Look how many years it took them to stop having fish tanks in the pet department. If we start to see Wal Mart cut out departments, that is going to be the beginning of the end.
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by bryceleinan »

One of the problems we have had lately is getting food for our spoiled felines. Wal 1648 (South Carson) was pretty much out of wet cat food the other day when I was getting stabbed by the pharmacist, and the associate in the area told me they have pallets and conexes full of stuff but no help to offload them. I picked up some other garden stuff, and had to grab it off the pallet in the middle of the area - the store manager was over there trying to stock because they don't have man-hours.

3277 (Damonte Ranch) was a little better a few weeks ago - same deal though, no cat food and pallets everywhere. When I worked for Wal back in 2002 the majority of the workforce was full-time, now, I believe it is just the opposite. Plus, everyone is feeling the effects of a lack of employees.
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