Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

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

January 29, 2009

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.

But Reuters talked to analysts and investors about what they want Duke to focus on.

Some said Duke should continue the turnaround started by Scott, looking to boost results in its existing U.S. stores by slowing the opening of new ones.

Others said Duke needs to focus on building loyalty among the new shoppers that it has attracted during the recession to help keep its sales momentum going when times get better.

Another issue for Duke will be to find ways to spur strong sales in its grocery business as it looses the boost created last year from soaring food inflation.

If you could add to Duke’s to-do list, what would you want him to focus on?

(Photo/Reuters: Duke jokes with comedian Sinbad at the Wal-Mart Annual Shareholders Meeting in Fayetteville in 2007)


I sew my dresses. I make other items out of cloth. WalMart use to carry cloth, but discontinued this item. Please, reinstate the cloth materials.

Posted by janet webb | Report as abusive

How about adding to the list of things to do like maybe adding more items that are made in America. I can walk through a Wal-Mart and randomly pick up almost anything to find it’s made in China. Sometimes other countries, but primarily China and rarely the USA. I feel like I support China more than the USA when I shop at Wal-Mart.

Posted by Ron | Report as abusive

Bring in environmentally friendly brands and market being environmentally responsible as well as economical.

Posted by rlance | Report as abusive

A stronger focus on customer service would be a positive step. I’d rather pay more for friendlier staff and a quicker checkout than wait in line longer than it took me to shop.

Posted by drewbie | Report as abusive

i think the managers should be more friendly to their customers and also treat their associates better, i have seen a manager chew out an associate in front of customers, there is a time and place for everything and this is uncalled for.


Here is a to-do list:
Customer service is the worst I have ever delt with, employees look miserable. They never smile, need help finding something, they run the other way. The most interaction is the greeter at the door. (funny)- to address with expression of kind wishes upon meeting or arrival, almost never happens. Next to no greet, but they’ll chase you out the door for a look at a receipt in a heart beat. Doesn’t even help to go over to customer service and ask if you could have some help, know one ever comes. But borrow the ladder to get whatever you can’t reach yourself works everytime :)

The bathroom (WOW) our Wal-mart is 5 years old, which is new for a Wal-mart. Never know it if you have to use the bathroom. I will leave with nothing before I would use the bathroom.

I have lived in Fl, Oregon and NC. All the Wal-marts where the same.

CEO why don’t you try rewarding your employees for giving good service. For each department. Secret shoppers are important for your stores. Use a 5 star list- Greeting, asking the customer if they need help and then follow through, No pointing. If the employee can’t leave the area then they call someone from that department.Employees on the floor or at least the department heads should have phones/walky talky type.
employee reaches there five star then they are rewarded,you can give them something they can put on there name tags so everyone knows.$5 Gift card,something.
But everyone knows the score. Post it in the breakroom,all the five stars and those that didn’t reach there goal and why. Employee of the month and year. And any other business in Wal-mart should have to follow the same guide lines.

I feel like Wal-mart doesn’t care because in most areas there aren’t any other options for customers to shop else where. Wal-marts prices are sometimes the best. But that should not be a reasons to treat the customer with no respect. Wal-mart needs its customers.

I honestly try hard to avoid having to go into a Wal-mart…….

Posted by Amy W | Report as abusive

Within a 7 day period the price of Tomato soup increased by 25%. Seems like the grocery department is limiting brands and this is driving customers to purchase those items from other stores.


I know that a lot of the soft goods, toys, and the like are from China… my concern is the food. My husband bought some nuts that listed ‘Product of California -packaged in China’.
If you look at the Great Value brand of foods- They say ‘Marketed by Wal-mart or Distributed by Wal-mart’. The origin is not on the package.
The prices are low, but keep in mind that China has no problem poisoning their own kids with tainted milk.

If Sam Walton were still alive this whole China thing would be a non-issue.
Maybe the heirs will wake up and start using domestic products again.


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