BENTONVILLE, Ark., Jan. 24, 2007 – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. today announced a reorganization of its U. S. marketing and merchandising areas that will align its merchants with key product areas, each with clearly identified customer segments. Retailing veteran John Fleming will become the company’s chief merchandising officer after leading its marketing division for almost two years.
The company’s merchandise initiatives will be focused on five divisions. Four of these – grocery, entertainment, apparel and home – will report to Fleming. He will also have responsibility for two newly created organizations, one focused on the customer experience and the other on planning, pricing and replenishment.
The fifth division – pharmacy and optical -- will continue reporting to Bill Simon, executive vice president of professional services and new business development. Simon reports to Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores U. S.
Last year Castro-Wright outlined to investors a three-year plan to increase the company’s sales and profitability. Much of that plan focused on becoming more relevant to the company’s diverse customer segments. The company began by conducting extensive research last year to determine what mattered most to its customers and also implemented a field organizational structure to facilitate execution of the new merchandising initiatives.
“As we enter year two, our focus will extend to merchandise assortment and marketing execution on the findings we identified in our customer research,” said Castro-Wright. I have a lot of confidence in the talent now charged with moving the company to the next level.”
Before heading up the Wal-Mart Stores U. S. marketing operation, Fleming grew Walmart.com into one of the country’s top three destinations for online shopping. He spent 19 years with the department stores division (Dayton Hudson and Marshall Fields) of Target Corp. There he held a variety of positions, including senior vice president of merchandising for the fashion divisions.
In other merchandise changes, Doug Degn, executive vice president of food, consumables and hardlines, has decided to retire. He will stay on for several months to help in the transition of the new merchandise organization. Degn began his 24 years with Wal-Mart as a store pharmacist and went on to lead the company’s merchandise efforts in consumables, food, electronics and other categories. He received the Sam M. Walton Entrepreneur Award in 1998 and his many accomplishments include establishing collaborative relationships across the supplier community.
Claire Watts, executive vice president of merchandising, will now lead the apparel merchandising area and report to Fleming.
Stephen Quinn is being promoted to executive vice president and chief marketing officer, replacing Fleming. Quinn joined the company in 2005 as senior vice president of marketing. Before coming to Wal-Mart he spent 13 years with the Frito-Lay division of Pepsico, Inc., most recently as chief marketing officer. Prior to that, he held consumer marketing positions at Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, and Quaker Oats. Quinn will report to Castro-Wright.
Carter Cast, president and CEO of Walmart.com, will now report to Castro-Wright.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, more than 127 million customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $245 million to local United States communities. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmart.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.