Walmart Creates New Look For Its Supercenters

Walmart has remodeled five Supercenters, and it is a hint of how many of the other 3,572 Walmart Supercenters will look in the future. It is John Furner, president of Walmart U.S., who is leading this effort to upgrade the look of his stores.

Upgraded visual merchandising across the store is likely to increase sales of better merchandise such as apparel, beauty products, and especially home furnishings. For apparel, the company is introducing mannequins for the first-time that show fashion in a flattering manner instead of just displaying merchandise on a rack or table. In home furnishings, the company is showing its newly acquired Gap Home line in a flattering manner on actual beds. There is more space to create looks for popular products like Reebok as well. And what is most important, there is more lighting to enhanced the look of the merchandise and give the store a warmer, more inviting environment.

There was a test store near the headquarters in Arkansas (probably in Rogers, Ark.) where they received very positive feedback from customers and that gave management confidence to move ahead with these changes. Now the upscale look has been taken to four East Coast stores in Teterboro N.J., Bergen N.J., Quakertown Pa., and Secaucus, N.J., though the latter is not quite complete at this time. A fifth newly remodeled store is in Hodgkins, Ill. One can assume that the stores will not only be successful, but will also be the blueprint for additional remodeling of older stores.

John Furner does not accept the status quo – the present look of his stores; he is upgrading the look and the merchandise to make Walmart stores more in step with today’s customers and what they want from their shopping experience. His goal is to make stores more attractive and more welcoming to customers. There was a tradition in retailing that every seven years a store would be renewed. It meant that stores would be refreshed with new fixtures and new lighting. It always paid off. The customer appreciated the attention that was given to “her” store, and this is a tradition all retailers should still heed.

Walmart added Walmart+ to compete with arch rival AmazonAMZN
. Creating a new atmosphere in its stores will be big step in creating a vivid distinction between the two organizations. It will also enhance Walmart’s competitive position against other retail chains with physical stores.

POSTSCRIPT: In the last weeks, I have written a few blogs about all that Walmart is doing. I described how Walmart is raising salaries of employees, giving greater emphasis to Sam’s Clubs, and improving stores in order to generate more business. One must respect a management that moves ahead with a positive vision for the future. While other companies have initiated massive lay-offs, one feels that Walmart believes that the year will turn out better than the forecasts. Maybe the management is right.