NY Times says Wal-Mart will report today a drop in November sales, the first drop in a decade. The article analyzes why and focuses on the vast restructuring of stores to cope with competition. Article says the strategy may be good in the long run, but store remodeling and new clothing lines may have affected some customers who prefer the old routine -- pile cheap stuff high and watch it fly.
And about that new push for higher fashion clothing, which had some success in urban markets:
It did not work. The average Wal-Mart shopper lives in the suburbs, is roughly 5-foot-2 and wears a size 14 — making them poor candidates for the skinny jeans that were a popular, tight-fitting fashion in urban markets.
Consumers like Shirley Shepherd, who lives outside Salt Lake City, Utah, balked at the unfamiliar clothes.
“I would never buy dress clothes here,” said Ms. Shepherd, who shops at the Wal-Mart in Midvale, Utah, twice a week for staples like toothpaste, batteries, underwear and socks.
It’s not just a simple matter of new fashions not selling well. The new clothes took up space where Wal-Mart stocked reliable sellers like basic blouses and sensible skirts. So the entire apparel department suffered, contributing to the November sales drop.