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Bratspies named merchandising chief at Walmart

Wal-Mart Stores on Friday said it was promoting Steve Bratspies to the role of U.S. chief merchandising officer, an office vacant at the retailer since the departure of Duncan Mac Naughton almost a year ago.

Bratspies, who most recently served as the Bentonville, Ark., company’s EVP of food, will assume his new role Oct. 19. He will oversee all merchandise categories across more than 4,500 stores in the U.S. business.

Steve Bratspies
Steve Bratspies

"Steve is a true leader and an example of the rich talent that exists within the merchandise organization,” U.S. CEO Greg Foran said in a statement. “His outstanding merchandising instincts and commitment to innovation and price leadership will challenge the status quo to serve our customers better.”

Walmart has been without a chief U.S. merchant since Mac Naughton departed last November and Foran elected to go with a team of merchants reporting to him, including Bratspies. In his new role, Bratspies will continue to report to Foran.

“Walmart is known for its world-class merchandising organization,” Bratspies said in a statement. “From the buyers and replenishment managers to our merchandise operations experts, it’s a dedicated team with a commitment to serving customers that I’m honored to lead.

"Going forward, we’ll continue our relentless focus on our customers — we’ll move with speed and conviction to ‘super-serve’ the millions who shop Walmart. We will stay true to our mission by strengthening our commitment to everyday low prices, optimizing our assortment and winning at omni-channel retailing through strong partnerships with suppliers and a continued investment in our associates.”

In his role as EVP of food at Walmart, Bratspies overhauled the retailer’s grocery aisles with a focus on improving the fresh offering and expanding its private brand and global sourcing capabilities, the company said. Bratspies joined the Walmart in 2005 and has held several leadership positions at in marketing, dry grocery and general merchandise. In 2011 he received the Merchandise Excellence Business Unit Leader of the Year award for his focus on local assortment, innovation and price leadership.

Prior to joining Walmart, Bratspies served as chief marketing officer for Specialty Brands. He has held roles in finance, new ventures and marketing at Frito-Lay, and consulting positions with A.T. Kearney and Andersen Consulting.

Walmart also on Friday said Charles Redfield would be promoted to take Bratspies’ place as EVP of food. Redfield joined Sam’s Club in 1988 as a cashier and moved up the ranks to serve in several operational and merchandising leadership roles, including chief merchandising officer at Asda. Most recently, Redfield served as EVP of merchandising at Sam’s Club.

John Furner has been appointed to succeed Redfield as EVP of merchandising at Sam’s Club. Furner was serving as chief merchandising and marketing officer at Walmart China, driving significant improvements in buying leverage and reducing organizational complexity resulting in improved profitability and price leadership, the company said.

Separately on Friday, Walmart announced CFO Charles Holley would retire at the end of the year, and appointed Brett Biggs to succeed him.

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