Bentonville, Ark. – Walmart
is curtailing its recent CE department expansion as it reallocates display
space from TVs to mobile devices.
Actual square footage
reductions will be limited to roughly one-third of the chain’s CE departments,
a Walmart spokesman told TWICE. The affected departments were recently expanded
remodels that had taken real estate from other categories.
But as part of the
of restoring some 8,500 edited SKUs storewide, CE sections will
now relinquish the added space and future CE department remodels will be “more
in line with historical square footage allotments,” the spokesman said.
Also driving the curtailment
are a pullback in TV allocation as sales momentum moves online, and a shift to
smaller products like tablet computers that require less display space.
As Walmart U.S.
president/CEO Bill Simon told an investor conference last month, the expanded
TV layout was based on analysis conducted at the cusp of the analog-to-digital
conversion. “We’re at a point now where that whole conversion is … almost
complete,” he said. “That TV business was a great business to go after… We just
have got to be nimble enough at our capital spend to get out of it at the right
time and to move through it in an assortment standpoint.
“A lot of that business will go online,” Simon
noted, as Walmart.com
to include 3D models from LG, Mitsubishi, Sony, Samsung
At the same time, the
retailer is shifting its in-store focus to handheld devices like tablets and
smartphones, with an emphasis on Apple products.
“We’re much more aligned
with Apple right now,” Walmart East president Roz Brewer told retail analysts
this week. “We are offering the iPad and the iPhone and those kinds of items, and
it really does not require as much space as we had projected in the year past.”
The real estate constraints
do not affect previously announced plans to add SKUs back to CE departments later
this year. “We’re committed to the broadest merchandise assortment,” the
Walmart spokesman said, “but electronics products have longer lead times.”