OPERATIONS

Sears appoints supply chain head

BY Staff Writer

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings announced that Raj Penkar will be joining Sears Holdings on Sept. 15 as senior VP and president, supply chain. He will be accountable for all aspects of the company’s supply chain, including logistics, warehousing, inventory management and distribution.

Penkar joins Sears Holdings following a successful 24-year career at UPS, where he most recently served as president of UPS’ customer solutions division.

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OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart bringing back layaways for holiday shopping

BY Marianne Wilson

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores will introduce a holiday layaway plan effective Oct. 17 through Dec. 16. The program has a minimum layaway purchase of $50, and requires a 10% down payment. If the program is successful, Wal-Mart said it may extend it throughout the year.

When Wal-Mart phased out its previous layaway offer in September 2006, such programs had fallen out of popularity. But Sears and some merchants brought back layaways as the recession cut into spending.

"We’re always looking for ways to ease budget strain for our customers, and we know this holiday season brings with it additional financial pressure," said Duncan MacNaughton, chief merchandising officer at Wal-Mart’s U.S. division. "This was a key component that our customers asked us for."

In other holiday news, Wal-Mart said that beginning on Monday, it will unveil price cuts on dozens of holiday toys to $15. It also plans to start offering small samples of holiday merchandise, including outdoor decor, later this month — two weeks earlier than a year ago.

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News

Walmart expands reach with new smaller-format store in Midwest City, Okla.

BY CSA STAFF

MIDWEST CITY, Okla. — Walmart is gearing up to open a Neighborhood Market store this month in Midwest City, Okla.

The 40,000-sq.-ft. format will offer customers quick access to low-cost groceries, prescriptions and household products. The store officially will open its doors on Sept. 21.

As previously reported, Walmart president and CEO Bill Simon said that the Neighborhood Market format is being rebranded as Walmart Market.

“With our smaller format, our store is perfect for those on the go. Whether they’re stocking up or need to pick up just a few items, our customers will be able to find what they need quickly and easily,” store manager Paul Engelken said. “Our customers will be able to find familiar brands and local products at great values, right in their own neighborhood.”

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