South African suppliers gain new ally
Small suppliers looking to establish business relationships with Massmart following Walmart’s acquisition of a controlling stake in the company would be well served to learn the correct pronunciation of Mncane Mthunzi.
Mthunzi will fill a new supplier development role at Massmart and comes to the retailer from an organization known as the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa where he served as CEO and Massmart CEO Grant Pattison serves as chairman.
The supplier development program is initially focused on working with 1,500 small food suppliers, an initiative that was proposed during the merger process as Walmart sought to soothe fears of South Africa’s Competition Tribunal and the impact the company’s arrival would have on the nation’s supplier community. The program is similar to efforts elsewhere in places like China, India and Latin America where Walmart essentially mentors smaller suppliers in the ways of conducting business with a larger retailer.
“We are delighted that someone of Mncane Mthunzi’s stature has agreed to take on this exciting challenge. Mncane’s key focus will be on the development of local manufacturers, emerging farmers and SME suppliers to the group and he will have R100 million fund to facilitate achievement of this mandate,” said Pattison. “During his time at the CGCSA, he has developed good insights into some of the challenges that emerging (fast moving consumer goods) suppliers experience in accessing retail markets, making him a good choice for this supplier development role.”
Blockbuster one-ups Netflix on pricing
MCKINNEY, Texas — Blockbuster is taking advantage of recent pricing changes at Netflix to lure customers over to its Total Access service.
The company is offering Netflix customerswho switch to one of Blockbuster’s two most popular Total Access plans a 30-day free trial. After the free trial, customers will continue to receive Total Access for a new everyday price of only $9.99 per month for "1 Disc" at a time or $14.99 per month for "2 Discs" at a time, the company reported.
"Blockbuster quickly responded to the cries of Netflix customers," said Michael Kelly, president of Blockbuster. "Blockbuster Total Access is Netflix ‘without the wait.’ The combination of DVDs by mail and unlimited in-store exchanges provides more than 100 million people living near Blockbuster stores immediate convenience and unparalleled choice."
This special offer for Netflix customers is available through Sept. 15, in participating stores and at Blockbuster’s website.
Earlier this week, Netflix notified existing customers that it would cease to offer unlimited streaming video and unlimited DVDs by mail for the combined rate of $9.99. Instead, the company will now offer unlimited streaming video for $7.99 a month and unlimited DVDs by mail for $7.99. Those who wish to continue to get the combined services will now have to pay $15.98 per month.
Walmart China imports new leadership
Keeping tabs on key personnel moves at Walmart’s home office in Bentonville is hard enough, but the situation is even more challenging in overseas markets due to an uneven and selective disclosure strategy.
For example, this week in China, the Bloomberg and Reuters news agencies reported on some key changes involving the appointment of Sean Clarke as COO of Walmart China and the appointment of Steve Smith as chief marketing officer. Clarke previously served as head of finance in Canada, and Smith came from the Delhaize Group where he was a SVP, according to emailed statements the news agencies said they received from Walmart.
The top operations role opened up a few months ago after the former COO Rob Cissell and former CFO Roland Lawrence resigned. Shortly thereafter, Shawn Gray, a long-time operations VP, resigned to assume a new role at India’s Reliance Retail where Cissell had been named CEO. Walmart China filled the hole created by Lawrence’s departure by transferring Mario-Jose Medina from his CFO role in Chile to become the top bean counter in China.