After Sam: Did Wal-Mart Lose Its Way After Walton Died?

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Jul. 2, 2012 12:00 am  

Time Magazine featured a posthumous tribute to Sam Walton, calling the Wal-Mart founder "America's favorite shopkeeper".

He also said Wal-Mart was now at risk of losing its new customers along with the old ones as “Action Alley adds clutter back to the store making the shopping experience less appealing.”

Davidowitz said he thinks Wal-Mart’s management’s decisions damaged the company in the eye of the consumer.

“I don’t know how they let themselves go as far off track” from Walton’s low-price philosophy, he said. “I think that’s indicative of some really bad management.”

Back to Basics

In early 2011, Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke announced a four-point plan to improve sales in Wal-Mart’s U.S. stores, which included returning to its focus having the lowest prices.

More than a year into the new strategy, it’s unclear if it will be successful, although U.S. same-store sales were up 0.2 percent for its fiscal year that ended in January. Wal-Mart no longer releases monthly sales figures.

Most of the company’s sales growth in the last fiscal year came from its international division, which jumped 15.2 percent to $125.9 billion for its fiscal year that ended in January.

“I think they have a lot of work to do,” Davidowitz said. “I think they lost a tremendous amount of what made them great.”



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