Shewmaker: Wal-Mart is underestimating competition

16 Nisan 2008 Çarşamba

Wal-Mart, the worlds largest retailer, faces really big challenges if it is to maintain its success, former chief financial officer Jack Shewmaker has warned.

Shewmaker, who is still a Wal-Mart director, pinpointed a raft of concerns that he urged the store group to address. The world is changing. Wal-Mart has to change, but Im not sure its changing fast enough, he said. Top of the list, Shewmaker told the World Retail Congress in Barcelona, is doing what Sam Walton never did underestimating the competition.He cautioned: When we get in that position we undervalue new concepts from a new field of competitors. You need to do what Sam did and look at what do better than you. Before you say that wont work for us, think about it.He also voiced concern about Wal-Marts and other retailers failure to succinctly meet customers needs in core markets and the threat posed by failing to reinvest in core business because of getting caught up in growth mode.He said retailers should constantly invest in their operations, even during downturns. The luxury of not doing anything to a store for 15 years doesnt exist any more its down to less than five, Shewmaker argued. You need to take your capex budget apart and make sure youre rejuvenating your core business.He flagged the need to communicate effectively with all stakeholders, ranging from suppliers to customers, staff and investors.Dont get overly focused on one segment so you slight another. Wal-Mart has been guilty of that over the years, Shewmaker said.He believes the biggest issue facing retailers is the breakneck pace of change and that those who fail to adapt quickly would be consigned to the dustbin of history.If youve got the same model you had five years ago, Id take another look, he advised. The customer is changing. Youve got to put your vote in the merchandise categories that are important to todays consumer.

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