WMT Apparel: Not Too Big To Succeed
While the resignation of Wal*Mart’s head of apparel falls squarely in the ‘who cares’ bucket at face value, there are some considerations worth noting. 1) Dottie Mattison was forced to share responsibilities 2 months ago, so this is no major surprise. 2) The images below are a pathetic, but a very real depiction as to how this category comes across in a typical Wal*Mart store. If I were CEO, I’d take responsibility and make some changes too. 3) This begs the question as to why WMT keeps hiring people who fail. My sense is that the company can put a dozen people in this job, and they’ll be a dozen failures. Let’s not forget that WMT sells about $26bn in apparel, making it the largest apparel retailer in the US by a long shot.
But unfortunately they try really hard to apply typical Wal*Mart sourcing and design mojo to a category that needs to be treated completely different. The company needs to hire people and give them latitude to radically alter the content inside the stores – up to and including acquiring higher-end content that the market is making available at extremely attractive prices. Think Liz Claiborne at Wal*Wart… We can think this all day, and financially model how many transactions would be so value-added. But, unfortunately, the powers that be in Bentonville won’t go there... yet.