OPERATIONS

Former Walmart exec Jack Shewmaker dies at 72

BY CSA STAFF

ROGERS, Ark. — Former Walmart executive Jack Shewmaker passed away Wednesday evening. He was 72.

Shewmaker began his career at Walmart in 1970 and rose steadily through the ranks of the company, serving in numerous capacities, including district manager; VP security (now known as loss prevention); VP store operations; EVP store operations, personnel and merchandise; CFO; and president and COO. Shewmaker retired from the company in1988, but continued as a member of Walmart’s board of directors.

“Jack was an extraordinarily gifted merchant and one of my greatest ongoing development opportunities was to walk stores and clubs with Jack –– with him striding ahead and me taking notes as quickly as I could,” noted Walmart Stores president and CEO Mike Duke. “He was a mentor to many of us and one of his greatest pleasures over the past few years was developing young merchants. Even after his retirement, he continued to attend buyer seminars and operations meetings. As a matter of fact, he was scheduled to speak at one of our buyer meetings [Thursday].”

Shewmaker, who was personally hired by Walmart founder Sam Walton, has been credited with developing the EDLP strategy that has come to define the world’s largest retailer. “He was also a strong advocate of Walmart’s pioneering development of technology,” Duke added. “He led the company’s adoption of bar codes and the launch of its first satellite system in 1983, tying together Walmart’s stores, distribution centers and home office.”

He also was heavily involved in Students in Free Enterprise, having been a former SIFE chairman of the board, and had remained a member of the SIFE Worldwide board of directors.

“Jack embodied the spirit of SIFE and will be deeply missed by all the members of our network around the world, as well as his colleagues and friends who came to know and love him over the years,” said Alvin Rohrs, SIFE president and CEO. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Melba, their children Daniel, Shari and Emily, and their 10 grandchildren.”

In addition to his work with Walmart and SIFE, Shewmaker also served as an advisory board member for Henkel North America; on both the executive and finance committees of the board of trustees of The Cleveland Clinic; on the board of directors of The Sisters of Mercy Health System (Mercy); and on the executive advisory board for the Westark Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Shewmaker and his family also owned and operated JAC’s Ranch, one of the largest cattle operations in Northwest Arkansas, breeding and showing registered Black Angus.

Services will be held at noon on Monday, Nov. 22, here in Rogers at Fellowship Bible Church of NWA, 1051 West Pleasant Grove Rd. A private family gravesite service will follow the Church service.

In lieu of flowers, the family has recommended memorial contributions to the following organizations:

Students in Free Enterprise-Jack C. Shewmaker Memorial
1959 East Kerr
Springfield, MO 65803
417-575-3545

Northwest Arkansas Community College Foundation – Jack C. Shewmaker Memorial
One College Drive
Bentonville, AR 72712
479-619-4321

Westark Area Council, Boy Scouts of America – Jack C. Shewmaker Memorial
1401 Old Greenwood Rd.
Fort Smith, AR 72901
479-782-7244

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News

Wal-Mart plans first stores in Washington, D.C.

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores said Thursday it will open its first four stores in Washington, D.C., as part of the retailer’s effort to increase its urban expansion stride.

Wal-Mart said it plans to open the smaller-format urban stores in Washington, D.C. in late 2012, and said it has met little resistance from the area. The retailer said its poll of 800 locals found nearly three-quarters of Washingtonians favored Wal-Mart coming to the city.

A Wal-Mart spokesman told Reuters the retailer would need city permission to open one of the stores, but was free to open the other three.

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FINANCE

Report: Holiday spending growth to edge up Q4

BY CSA STAFF

San Francisco — A report released Thursday by Kurt Salmon Associates said that, while consumer confidence remains shaky, retail sales should see a modest increase through the holiday season, boosted by broadened growth in personal consumption.

Specifically, the report predicts personal consumption expenditures to grow between 2.1% and 2.6% for the final quarter of 2010.

"Now, a year and a half into the recovery, we are seeing discretionary spending picking up," said Todd Hooper, Kurt Salmon partner and retail expert. "While high unemployment is preventing some consumers from taking part in the emerging recovery, we still expect the improved discretionary spending to translate into modest year-on-year gains for retailers."

High unemployment continues to drag down consumer confidence, which remains below pre-recession levels and which declined slightly in August and September. Kurt Salmon’s analysis also reveals that while consumers are ready to spend more, their new purchasing habits are not yet set.

"Consumers are still settling into their post-recession spending rhythm," Hooper said. "They know they have to adjust their spending, but they are still sorting out priorities. During this transition, they are not able to consistently anticipate how their spending will change for any given category."

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