Walmart has begun rolling out a redesign of its produce department that the retail giant says provides a “refreshed” shopping experience.
Charles Redfield, executive vice president of Walmart U.S. Food, said in a blog post Wednesday that it plans to update most of its U.S. stores by next summer. Many other locations will see the produce area renovated as part of remodels, he added. Overall, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer operates 4,759 Walmart stores in the United States.
“The changes we’re making to our produce department will be great for our customers and associates, and we’re excited to bring them to stores all around the country,” Redfield said in the post.
Among the key changes are a more “open market feel” and more shopping space. That includes the addition of low-profile displays and wider aisles.
“These new bins allow customers to see everything available in the department right when they walk into the store. We’re using colorful, abundantly filled displays to highlight freshness and the quality of our items — for example, large bins of ripe red tomatoes and sizable displays of seasonal items like squash and pumpkins,” Redfield explained.
“Our new low-profile bins will enable customers to shop from multiple sides, making it faster and easier for customers to shop the department,” he added.
While Walmart has added more organic fruit and vegetables in recent years, the retailer is now creating an “organic shop” by grouping these items in a single location inside the store.
“We’re moving all organic items into one area of the department, so customers who want organic items can enjoy one-stop shopping,” Redfield said.
In addition, new signage is designed to highlight Walmart’s low pricing in produce.
“We’re proud of our prices, and we want our customers to know they’re getting a great value at our stores,” he said. “So we’re adding more signs that are large and bright, so the low prices really stand out.”
Walmart actually had started making improvements to its produce offering — including quality, assortment and the shopping experience — a few years ago, according to Redfield. Efforts included more organic and locally grown items; stronger relationships with farmers to shorten the supply chain to provide fresher, longer-lasting produce; redesigned departments with more light, better signage and specially angled fixtures for easier shopping; and an expanded Fresh Guarantee. Fresh department managers’ responsibilities also were expanded include all of service deli, bakery, meat and produce.
“We’ve been focused on getting it right, and our customers are noticing. But with all the work we’ve done to increase quality in our produce department, we saw an opportunity to change up our in-store look and feel to even further emphasize the quality of the food we sell,” Redfield said of the new changes.
Besides an enhanced shopping experience for customers, the latest changes bring an improved work environment for associates in the produce department, he added.
“Our new format simplifies workloads, making it easier for our associates to stock produce. This way, they can refocus their time on serving customers.”