Wal-Mart Moves Prompt Worry Among Some

Posted on: 03/15/10
Contribution by: Carol Spieckerman
Article by:
Mark Friedman
Copyright © 2010,
Arkansas Business Limited Partnership. All rights reserved.

(Excerpt)

In addition to the job cuts at Wal-Mart, some of its vendors are moving away. Analysts say retailers in general are shifting some of their buying decisions away from central offices to regional locations.

In February 2009, Wal-Mart moved its apparel-buying division to New York.

"Wal-Mart realizes that everything cannot originate in Bentonville," said Carol Spieckerman, president of Newmarketbuilders of Bentonville, a retail strategy firm. Retailers "realize that the U.S. isn't a one-size-fits-all market and, in Wal-Mart's case, that global markets are even more fragmented and specialized."

Some vendors followed Wal-Mart to New York, she said. And more might be on the way.

"Definitely some of the apparel companies have left the area, but others are keeping a smaller presence here, just to make sure they're close to" Wal-Mart, Spieckerman said.

She said a vendor told her last week that it was considering not renewing its office lease when it comes up for renewal next year. Spieckerman declined to identify the vendor.

"That doesn't mean they are getting rid of their staff," Spieckerman said. "It just means that they might not keep them at an office." Instead, they might work at different locations and stay connected through the Internet, she said.

Last month, Wal-Mart revealed plans to organize three geographic business units, called Wal-Mart West, Wal-Mart South and Wal-Mart North.

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