Restructuring at Walmart: A good move?

Walmart recently announced a restructuring of its U.S. operations to create three regional organizations (including three new “presidents”)…and most RetailWire panelists were skeptical about the changes. Here’s my point of view:

If the reorganization succeeds in its stated goals (“catering to local tastes, finding real estate in saturated markets, developing and empowering local store talent, and expanding e-commerce”), good for Walmart. But at first glance the structure sounds top-heavy and cumbersome. A company of Walmart’s size surely has the IT sophistication to provide localized content solutions without breaking itself into three separate merchandising organizations. (Macy’s, in contrast, is using its “My Macy’s” initiative to tailor local assortments while consolidating multiple buying groups to just one.) It also sounds like Walmart has some retention and succession issues at play if it needs to hand out more “president” titles than ever before, and runs the risk of more diffuse decision-making. Interesting to see what other panelists have to say, especially if they are more familiar with the players and culture at Walmart.

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