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Walmart execs preach 'no gimmicks' to vendors

Reports that Walmart was asking suppliers to invest marketing funds into lower everyday prices was business as usual for the big retailer — and indicative of U.S. CEO Greg Foran’s “no gimmicks” approach to pricing, officials said yesterday.

The report, appearing in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday, said the Bentonville, Ark., company was devoting “fresh vigor” to the effort to lower prices through reduced marketing budgets as a means to keep prices sharp. Walmart officials in a presentation Wednesday acknowledged it was encountering more competitive pricing from competitors but “that article didn’t say anything new for us at all,” Charles Holley, the retailer’s CFO, remarked at an investor presentation.

“I would be disappointed in a business that of our scale and size is not on top of that,” added Foran. “Reaffirmation of everyday low price — all of you in this room are pretty familiar how that works. You're probably starting to realize that I'm a very strong supporter of that. I'm not into gimmicks. I'm into simplicity ensuring that we negotiate the very best price, and we then pass that price on to our customers.”

The article said Foran and other Walmart executives expressed the sentiments to vendors during a meeting earlier this year. The article suggested Walmart could see some resistance from suppliers to the movement, citing reduced say in how their products are merchandised in stores.

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