Private Label Buyer

Walmart CFO: ‘We Are A Brand Retailer’

March 13, 2013

The world’s largest retailer, Walmart, also is atop the PLB Top 35 list of the largest private label retailers in North America.

But its chief financial officer, Charles Holley, told an analyst conference in New York this week that Walmart views private label differently than other retailers.

“We are a brand retailer, we like to sell brands,” Holley told the audience, according to transcripts from Seeking Alpha. “We use private label to fill in gaps where we see there is a value gap for our customers. So it’s really very depended on a category or subcategory.”

At the same time, though, Holley said that Walmart expected to increase its offerings in private label in 2013.

“Now, having said that, we are improving our private label, (if) you will - at the quality, even the packaging is changing,” he said. “You will see more, I think private label in certain categories later in this year. But it’s not a strategy to replace or pump up profit; it’s really a strategy to have an offering of value that’s just not there right now for the customer.”

PLBuyer exclusively reported before Thanksgiving on the new packaging coming to Walmart’s flagship Great Value private label line. Starting in a handful of food and nonfood categories the new packaging has expanded to more products in the past four months.

Holley also said that a new relationship with Nielsen will help Walmart better target and develop its private label products going forward.

“As you know that we have started working with Nelson, data on food, consumables and OTC, and we are being able to work a lot more surgically with our vendors on items,” he said, according to the Seeking Alpha transcripts. “And I think you will see innovation in some of our items coming out here this year. It’s making a lot easier to hone in on where we have gaps in value, where we may have gap in a product assort or a pack size or whatever.”

The CFO also told analysts that Walmart had increased its organic products in the perishables department, and expected to add more of its own SKUs to the company’s e-commerce platforms worldwide.