Walmart’s U.S. stores have made big strides in fresh, Greg Foran, the retailer’s U.S. president and CEO, said during Walmart’s annual investment community meeting last week.
“I'm pleased with our growth. We're seeing it with some better traffic, comps, bigger basket sizes. And it's happening quite simply because customers are seeing better quality,” said Foran.
In customer surveys, ratings for fresh departments have improved 700 basis points year over year, according to Foran. “It’s a pretty big shift.”
One highlight has been Project Angle, Walmart’s upgrades to the produce department that so far have been rolled out in 3,100 stores. The improvements in rotation in the department have led to less waste in stores.
“We're seeing that because we're seeing that the inventory in fruit and veg has come down a day-and-a-half versus a year ago,” said Foran.
In the bakery, the retailer has reduced the number of SKUs and improved layouts.
Foran also noted that Walmart now has 150 “fresh operations managers” in stores who work alongside and train associates.
“A lot of these folks have joined us from outside of the business, and I can tell you, they come from very impressive backgrounds in the industry,” said Foran.
Feedback from employees has also been an indicator that Walmart’s fresh approach is working. Foran said a visit to one of the retailer’s distribution centers found employees there are shopping at Walmart again.
“And the key driver for them was we started to get the fresh right,” said Foran.