Merchandising message on tap for next Wednesday

Walmart U.S. chief merchandising and marketing officer Duncan Mac Naughton will have some explaining to do next week when he is scheduled to participate in the 33rd Annual William Blair Growth Stock Conference on Wednesday, June 12.

The conference will offer investors who didn’t travel to Northwest Arkansas for the Walmart shareholders meeting and investor presentation on Friday a more intimate opportunity to hear from the executive responsible for the company’s merchandising and marketing strategies. Mac Naughton arrived at Walmart in the fall of 2009 and helped the company reverse several years’ worth of negative same store sales by refocusing on a longstanding strategy involving everyday low prices on a broad assortment. However, the upward comp momentum did not last long and peaked in the first quarter of 2012 when the U.S. stores group registered a healthy 2.6% gain. However, throughout 2012 comps deteriorated and then turned negative in the first quarter of this year when the company reported a worse than forecast decline of 1.4%.

Walmart hopes to reverse the trend in the second quarter and has forecast comps in the range of flat to up 2%. Mac Naughton is scheduled to provide an update on Walmart’s U.S. business beginning at 5:40 p.m. EDT.

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