Reuters blog archive

from Shop Talk:

Vitamins, cheaper meat, infant clothes big recession sellers

USA-HOLIDAYSALES/Mike Duke, the newly installed CEO of Wal-Mart, has been watching the recession play out in the cash register at his stores.

In an interview on the Today Show, Duke took Matt Lauer on a walk through a Walmart store, and talked about how he is seeing his shoppers navigate the downturn.

    They are buying bigger boxes of diapers at the beginning of the month, when they have just been paid, but gravitating toward smaller boxes when they run out of cash later in the month. They are taking more vitamins, hoping to keep themselves healthy and avoid having to miss any time at work. Infant clothes are selling faster than adult apparel as parents forsake the latest styles to keep their growing children clothed. While flat panel televisions may seem like a splurge, they are more of a necessity when a family is spending less on entertainment outside of the home and forgoing vacations. They are using cash more often to pay for their purchases.

When might Duke get a sense that consumers are feeling a little bit better about things?

He said possibly when more expensive cuts of meat start ringing up strong sales again.

from Shop Talk:

Creating a to-do list for Wal-Mart’s new CEO

dukeThis Saturday, Lee Scott will retire as CEO of Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, and Mike Duke will step in to the CEO shoes on Sunday.

Since the management change was announced in November, ShopTalk is fairly certain that Duke has come up with a pretty long list of things to do in his first few months as CEO.

from Shop Talk:

Check Out Line: Changing of the Guard at Wal-Mart

Check Out succession planning at Wal-Mart

The world's biggest retailer is about to get a new occupant in its corner office. Mike Duke, who currently heads the chain's international operations, will take over as chief executive in February, replacing Lee Scott.

Scott, who has been CEO for more than eight years, will stay on as chairman of the board's executive committee.