Walmart head merchant shares view

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart chief merchandising officer Duncan Mac Naughton expressed optimism about the retailer’s prospects for the holiday season and beyond late Tuesday during comments at a Bentonville Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce function, which attracted more than 500 people.

Those in attendance were predominantly Walmart suppliers eager to gain the latest insights from the company’s top merchant regarding a strategy he referred to as “refreshingly simple,” which is producing results. Mac Naughton prefaced his remarks on a wide range of topics by noting that the company is two weeks away from the release of third-quarter results on Nov. 15, and he would need to be careful about what he said. Some of his comments were a recap of previously disclosed financial details about how the company produced positive same-store sales the last month of the second quarter and the first two months of the third quarter and is continuing to gather momentum going into Christmas.

He also laid out the reasons for that momentum and how it is the result of a renewed commitment to offer everyday low prices on the broadest assortment of merchandise while maintaining tight expense control so the savings can be reinvested in price to deliver on the company’s value proposition of saving people money so they can live better.

“We are quite focused on rededicating ourselves to these three pillars of our business model,” Mac Naughton said.

A key driver du