Bentonville, Ark. (May 14, 2007) –Wal-Mart announced today that more of its stores will now offer more of today’s popular new electronics brands. As it enters the next stage of enhancing its electronics area, Wal-Mart will add new products – some carried by its stores for the first time – to new assortments. Finding more values and better selection of popular digital and home entertainment items from brands like Samsung, Skype, Vizio, and Philips, Wal-Mart customers also will see focused customer service and better communication in this area.
“Consumers are more technology driven today than ever before and are searching for the right price and products to quickly meet their needs,” said Kevin O’Connor, vice president and general merchandise manager for consumer electronics. “These changes share our focus to help simplify the buying decision by offering sought-after brands with an easier shopping experience, all at the Wal-Mart price.”
Across all stores, shoppers will begin to see bright new displays highlighting specific products with easy-to-read details. Working with suppliers, Wal-Mart both edited and in many cases expanded its assortment in areas such as TVs, cameras, and computers. Changes were made based on customer preferences, targeting their needs for obtaining the best price, brand or both.
An example of additions and changes include the following:
• Skype certified hardware – Skype is a leading internet communication company currently servicing 196 million users around the world. Users download Skype software to make free voice and video calls and send instant messages over the Internet. Wal-Mart will now carry Skype certified headsets under $15, web cameras under $25, handsets under $30 and the first Skype pre-paid cards.
• Wider Assortment in HDTVs – Adding Vizio’s 26, 32, 37 and 42-inch flat panel television models and broadening the size and range of its Samsung TVs, Wal-Mart will expand its selection overall, including above 40-inch LCDs with 1080P sets by Polaroid and Philips. Value will continue to be a key driver, with prices on 32-inch LCD televisions for example moving to lower than $500.
• Improved Home Theatre Systems – New systems by Philips and Sony will be added. These carry the same high-quality performance of expensive surround sound systems and with less equipment, such as using two speakers verses five.
• New Digital Camera Assortment and Style –From the sleek, colorful styles by Samsung, Kodak and HP to more professional photography models by Canon and Nikon, a new camera bar will help customers find the camera that best suits their lifestyle. New modulars also will highlight an assortment of digital photo frames popular this year from Kodak and Polaroid.
Last year Wal-Mart underwent an extensive remodel in electronics in existing stores. To prepare for recent enhancements, Wal-Mart electronics associates this year completed an aggressive customer service and product training program. Now, new in-store signage will be added to help customers understand new technologies. For example, Wal-Mart expects shelves to transition completely to digital TV by the end of this month as analog leaves the market. Therefore it has taken care to provide more information to shoppers who want to understand digital television before the federal government makes the digital television switch in early 2009.
These enhancements come on the heels of Wal-Mart’s recent efforts to roll out its Site to Store service across all U.S. Wal-Mart stores this year. Currently available in more than 1,700 stores, the program continues to be a popular avenue for shoppers to purchase electronics products only available on Walmart.com. The service provides convenient delivery to the customer’s local Wal-Mart with no shipping costs.
“In continuation of companywide sustainability efforts, we are committing that all future electronics products ordered for our stores are RoHS compliant,” said O’Connor, adding that the company also continues to encourage environmentally friendly packaging with electronic items.
“Our improvements to the in-store experience launching this week reflect our customer’s need to have the electronics shopping decision simplified,” said Greg Hall, senior director of marketing. “For our customer, that means quality brands at low Wal-Mart prices in an easier shopping environment. This effort represents a key step in educating shoppers about new cutting edge products, while creating an exciting store within a store experience.”
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart discount stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Club locations in the United States. The Company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. The Company’s securities are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WMT.
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