BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores is bringing back some brand-name cereal, carbonated soft drink, laundry detergent, pet treat, and health and beauty supply SKUs that were pared as part of its Project Impact, Leon Nicholas, director at consulting firm Kantar Retail, told SN.
Kantar Retail, Cambridge, Mass., has clients who supply the retailer. In some cases the changes are dictated by consumer demand.
“There may be cases where [Wal-Mart] cut away an SKU here or there where a shopper had it on their list or saw it as a key value indicator,” said Nicholas. “Some might say, ‘You mistakenly cut too far,’ and I think [Wal-Mart] might say, ‘It's not that we mistakenly cut too far, we intentionally cut a little further than we thought we'd need to so we could bring SKUs back appropriately as customer feedback dictated.’”
That's not to say that a drop in sales will indicate the need to bring back SKUs in other categories, like those deemed “show” under Wal-Mart's Project Impact model, Nicholas added. Slower sales are expected in de-emphasized segments like frozen juice, where Wal-Mart merchandises a limited number of items for convenience purposes.
Additional analysis is still expected in categories where Wal-Mart is more competitive, said Nicholas.
Categories designated “play” under Project Impact are those in which Wal-Mart tends to have high scale and/or credibility, and/or show growth. “Win” categories are those that show high growth, and those in which Wal-Mart has scale and credibility.
“Over the next three to six months, I'd expect Wal-Mart to look to these categories where sales have slowed as compared to the rest of food, drug and mass or key competitors,” Nicholas said.
Although Wal-Mart might reduce facings of products in its Great Value line in order to accommodate reinstated SKUs, it's unlikely that it will cut back on the number of Great Value SKUs offered in any given category, added Nicholas.