Retail

Walmart: the Strategy for Beating Competitors

US CEO Greg Foran about Amazon pushing further into grocery and potentially opening its own chain: “I love competing and I think competition makes us better”

Walmart US CEO Greg Foran offered a rare look inside the company’s strategy against its biggest rivals, including Amazon, Aldi, and Lidl. He said he uses a biblical analogy to describe the relationship between Walmart and its competitors. “There was a period in time when Walmart was David and Sears and Kmart were Goliath. And it’s always fun being David. Everyone loves David. No one likes Goliath,” Foran said, speaking at a UBS Global Consumer and Retail Conference. “We woke up at some point in 2000 and whatever and found out we were Goliath. And when you are Goliath you find that there are other Davids that start throwing stones at you and you’ve got to learn to deal with that. If you become immobile, you just end up taking a lot of hits.”

WALMART FOCUSING ON COMPETITORS

According to Foran there are several ‘Davids’ that Walmart focuses on. “These are people out there that attack us,” he said. “You’ve got drug stores, you’ve got traditional supermarkets, you’ve obviously got Amazon, you got hard discounters, you’ve got other discount stores, and we don’t try and necessarily combat every single aspect of what they do, but when you’ve got stores that sit on 20 acres every two to three acres, you do have to deal with the fact that there are multiple Davids in your marketplace.” Foran said Walmart considers some key questions when thinking about its strategy against Amazon, including: “Is the name of the game to have hundreds of millions of SKUs or is the name of the game to have a more curated assortment? … What opportunities are there with data? How should we be thinking about health and wellness in the space with 4,700 pharmacies?

RIVALRY WITH AMAZON

But Walmart doesn’t try to launch a counterattack every time Amazon makes a new move, Foran said. “This concept of the store being more than just a good store but being a fulfillment center feels like a pretty safe bet – he said -. So place your bets where you know you’ve got it right. Put a foot in the water on some of the other things, and let’s test and learn. And some of the others, maybe you just sit back and wait and see.” When asked about Amazon pushing further into grocery and potentially opening its own chain of grocery stores separate from Whole Foods, Foran said, “I love competing and I think competition makes us better. It galvanizes an organization into doing something. So I like it. Bring it on.”

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