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Operations execs to enlighten suppliers on execution opportunities

BY CSA STAFF

Store level execution, a topic near but not always so dear to the hearts of Walmart suppliers, will be the focus of a Doing Business in Bentonville event scheduled for next Wednesday.

Walmart SVP of operations Carol Johnston and RVP of operations Ashley Taylor are slated to discuss key initiatives within Walmart operations related to productivity, process execution and people leadership during an event scheduled for June 12 from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the John Q. Hammons Center. The pair is expected to provide suppliers with an "on the ground" operators’ perspective.

Johnston is responsible for overseeing nearly 100,000 employees throughout 342 stores in Arkansas, Missiouri and Oklahoma. She has more than two decades of experience with Walmart, joining the company as an assistant manager in 1989 at stores in Kentucky and Indiana. Since then, she moved up through the organization to become a district manager, operations coordinator for U.S.Walmart, regional VP and VP and regional general manager before assuming her current role as SVP for Walmart’s central plains region.

Ashley Taylor is currently oversees Walmart’s region 42 consisting of Arkansas and southwest Missiouri. Prior to her operations role, Taylor served as VP and portfolio team leader responsible for commercial bread and in-store bakeries. Before joining Walmart, Taylor spent 12 years with Colgate Palmolive and three years with Chiquita Brands International.

For more information or to register, click here.

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Merchandising message on tap for next Wednesday

BY CSA STAFF

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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Stein Mart’s May sales rise

BY CSA STAFF

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Linens and ladies’ casual and career sportswear buoyed Stein Mart’s total sales for May. The company reported total sales of $107.3 million for the month, an increase of 3.6% from $103.6 million for May last year.

Comparable store sales increased 8.2%.

While linens, ladies’ casual sportswear, ladies’ boutique and ladies’ career sportswear posted the strongest sales for the month, ladies’ special sizes, ladies’ accessories, men’s sportswear and dresses were more challenged. Geographically, sales increased in every state with its Southeast states performing better than the chain and its Northeast states performing slightly lower.

"We are thrilled to announce our May comparable store sales increase of 8.2%, which was on top of a strong 8% increase in April," said interim CEO Jay Stein. "These results were driven by our ability to deliver great fashion, brands and pricing, through a well-executed merchandising and marketing strategy."

The company operates 262 stores as of the end of May this year, compared to 263 stores last year.

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