Shopper Marketing - September 2017 - 130
Walmart Prepares for
a Food Fight
Stores, prices, private labels, e-commerce,
etc. - mass merchant is evolving to succeed
By Patrycja Malinowska
Walking a Walmart store today, it's hard
to miss the changes the mega-retailer has
been making as it prepares to battle for grocery domination.
The basics are easy to spot: Produce quality is better, presentation has improved and
stores are cleaner. The retailer is following
through on efforts to improve sourcing and
supply chain for fresher product. A new signage package gives everything a crisp feel.
And thanks to aggressive pricing moves in
local markets, low prices are displayed front
Also apparent is the simultaneous infiltration of more and more attractively packaged
private-label products on shelves. "Where
there's a quality gap, a price gap or an innovation gap, we're going to do it through
private brands," Walmart U.S. executive vice
president of food Charles Redfield recently
told Supermarket News.
A major part of the retailer's entrenchment
strategy, private label this year is expected
to rise above the 17% of U.S. market share
y SHOPPER MARKETING SEPTEMBER 2017
it already commanded in 2016, according
to Euromonitor. The trademark infringement lawsuit Kroger filed against incoming German-based discounter Lidl pits fellow private-brand competitors against each
other - rather than the more common case
of national brand versus private label knockoff - and shows how far private brands have
Walmart has been rapidly expanding its
private-label selection while at the same
time improving packaging and product formulation. And it has been supporting its
own brands with prominent merchandising
space in stores plus print and digital marketing support.
These efforts are made not only in anticipation of a grocery landscape that will surely
be increasingly influenced by hard discounters in the years ahead, but also potentially
greater competition following Amazon.
com's expected purchase of alternative grocer Whole Foods.
If it combines its low-price strategy and