Back Up the Big-Box Bashing With Action
Independent and regional retailers love to talk trash about the big-box stores. The majority of the slights have to do with the big boys' inability to provide the right services, quality customer service and an overall top-notch shopping experience. In some cases, the comments are true, but they may become less so in the coming months.
Instead of relying on their dominance to carry them through the recession, many mass merchants are taking the time to fully revamp their store designs or adding services that were once the niche of regional and specialty dealers. Walmart is doing both, and its efforts are worth watching.
As Elly Valas reports in her column on page 24 of our next issue, Walmart's Project Impact is an all-encompassing effort to crush the competition-both national and regional-by creating cleaner, less-cluttered stores, a better shopping experience and focusing on categories where the competition can be killed. By the end of this month, Walmart expects that 30 percent of its 3,538 stores will be updated under Project Impact. The company recently said it will rely on smaller stores for expansion and to penetrate urban markets.