Walmart makes executive-level changes in merchandising organization
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — More than a dozen of Walmart’s top merchants are in new roles following a realignment of responsibilities that chief merchandising and marketing officer Duncan Mac Naughton said is designed to recognize customers’ needs and serve them more efficiently.
The changes affected executives throughout the merchandising organization and included areas such as consumables, food, general merchandise, softlines, health and wellness, shopper insights and merchandising operations. In an internal memo obtained by Retailing Today, Mac Naughton said he was pleased to announce, “a few changes which will help accelerate our growth and efficiency as a world-class merchant organization. Additionally, these moves provide a more specialized service to our customers, while also creating better alignment and a greater visibility across our business.”
Among the most significant moves was the elevation of Scott Huff to the role of EVP of merchandising operations from his prior position as SVP of consumables. In his new role, Huff is responsible for merchandising execution, replenishment, store layout, supplier diversity, planning, pricing, modular development and joint business planning. Working closely with Huff will be Scott Pleiman who was named SVP of planning, pricing, modular development and joint business planning.
Assuming Huff’s prior responsibilities as SVP of consumables, but in an EVP capacity is Michelle Gloeckler. She was named EVP of consumables and U.S. manufacturing after previously serving as SVP of home and overseeing the retailer’s expanding domestic sourcing initiative.
Another key EVP move involved John Aden to the newly created role of EVP of sales innovation. He is tasked with identifying new and disruptive service and product offerings, according to Mac Naughton. Aden had previously served as EVP of merchandise services and EVP of general merchandise prior to that.
Walmart’s Global Customer and Insights and Analytics group, led by EVP Cindy Davis, appointed Matt Kistler to the new role of SVP of Walmart U.S. consumer insights. He will report to Davis and Walmart U.S. chief marketing officer Stephen Quinn.
Other key changes included the following:
- In the grocery area, Ashley Buchanan was appointed SVP of dry grocery after previously leading Walmart’s sizable snacks and beverage division and prior to that Walmart’s innovations team. Promoted to Buchanan’s role was Latriece Watkins who was named SVP of snacks and beverages after previously serving as VP of adult beverages, a category that experienced dramatic growth under her leadership. Reporting to Watkins in a new role as VP of adult beverages is Silvia Azrai Kawas. The group will report to Jack Sinclair, Walmart’s EVP of food.
- In the softline area, the promotion of Gloecker resulted in the promotion of Marybeth Cornwell to the role of SVP reporting to Andy Barron, EVP of softlines for Walmart U.S. Cornwell previously served as SVP of home and apparel for Sam’s Club. In a related softlines move, Deanah Baker was named SVP of apparel and ladieswear, intimates, jewelry and accessories. Diana Marshall was named VP of baby, a huge business at Walmart, after previously holding merchandising roles in the housewares, home, hardware and paint businesses.
- In the hardlines and health and wellness areas, Walmart named former Lowe’s and Hechinger Co., merchant to the role of VP of hardware and paint. In health and wellness, Mark Phillips was named VP of pharmaceutical merchandising after previously serving as senior director of merchandising for small formats.
The changes come as Walmart strives to restore same store sales growth at its U.S. stores during the back half of the year after a challenging first quarter and difficult 2013.
Packaged Facts: Pet market projected to reach $73 billion by end of 2014
ROCKVILLE, Md. — With "pet humanization" now a multibillion dollar business in America, the push to provide four-legged companions with human-quality products has given rise to an new type of pet owner: the premium pet product shopper, according to U.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2014-2015, released Thursday.
A number of pet product manufacturers and retailers have been crediting the humanization trend with driving their business, and premium pet product shoppers will help drive industry growth as the pet market reaches projected sales of $73 billion by the end of 2014.
In force for several years now, the humanization trend has multiple facets. Foremost, it’s a natural expression of the “pets as family” trend, whereby pet owners treat their pets like children and are highly receptive to products similar to the ones they use for themselves. Not coincidentally, many of the services and products entering the market today are directly reminiscent of human fare, no doubt appealing to the pet owner as much as the pet, comments Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle.
Examples include pet supplements like glucosamine and omega 3s; human-grade pet foods containing superfruits or touted as gluten free; and designer pet supplies, including Bottega Veneta pet bowls and Simmons Beautyrest pet beds.
According to Packaged Facts, as many as 70% of pet owners would be willing to spend extra to ensure the wellness of their pet. Likewise, close to one-third of pet product buyers (30%) agree that “I prefer to shop at pet product retailers that offer the best products available, even if they are more expensive.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, premium pet product shopping is most common among higher-income households. U.S. households earning $70,000 or more account for 54% of the aggregate pet market expenditure, and Packaged Facts believes these consumers to be footing the lion’s share of the bill for premium pet products and services. Generally speaking, better-off pet owners are also more likely to have been less affected by economic doldrums and are recovering more quickly.
Groups explore total impact chronic disease has on cost, including lost productivity and wages
WASHINGTON — The Congressional Wellness Caucus and the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease on Thursday hosted a briefing to examine the impact of chronic, non-communicable disease and look beyond just medical costs to more holistically consider total productivity, particularly among the federal workforce.
“With one in two Americans suffering from at least one chronic disease, every workforce is affected significantly – including federal employees – and would benefit from prevention and wellness strategies to improve health and also productivity,” said Ken Thorpe, PFCD chairman. “Efforts to improve overall health of employees have strong evidence of return on investment, and as our workforce ages, health improvement will be increasingly linked to economic wellness so taking action now is critical. As policymakers look for key initiatives to save costs, reducing the social and economic impact of chronic disease among the federal workforce should be at the top of the list.”
"Employers are making critical decisions about healthcare coverage and financing. To realize the full value of their programs, employer decisions — both private and public — must encompass the impact of health and chronic disease on lost work time, workforce performance and productivity,” stated Thomas Parry, IBI president.
According to a modeling tool developed by the Integrated Benefits Institute, federal employees are estimated to incur $27.2 billion annually in medical treatment payments, lost productivity and wage replacements associated with illness-related absences and underperformance on the job. Of those losses, illness related productivity losses and wage replacements surpass medical costs for employees and their dependents by 26%.
IBI’s model is based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and proprietary sources. The results are an estimate for 2.6 million federal employees (including the U.S. Postal Service).