Wal-Mart revamps global sourcing structure
New York City Trading company Li & Fung Ltd. said Thursday it signed a non-exclusive sourcing deal with Wal-Mart Stores with expectations that the chain could buy $2 billion worth of goods through the Hong Kong firm in the deal’s first year, according to Bloomberg. The company, which sources products for other U.S. retailers, has been doing business with Wal-Mart as a wholesaler, but this is its first direct sourcing deal.
Wal-Mart said the alliance with Li & Fung was one of several related moves designed to position the company to leverage its global scale to reduce costs of goods, accelerate speed to market, and improve the quality of products.
“We are redefining how we source products that are imported into Walmart retail markets around the globe,” said Walmart vice chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright.
According to the company, its new global sourcing strategy also involves the creation of Global Merchandising Centers, and a change in leadership and structure.
“The newly established Global Merchandising Centers represent the largest and most important element of our new sourcing strategy,” Castro-Wright said. “These centers will create alignment between sourcing and merchandising and drive efficiencies across various merchandise categories.”
As part of the strategy, Ed Kolodzieski, currently president and CEO of Walmart Japan Holdings G.K. and Seiyu, has been promoted to executive VP and will lead Walmart’s Global Sourcing.
Williams-Sonoma CEO retires, new leader named
SAN FRANCISCO Williams-Sonoma announced that Howard Lester will retire from his position as chairman and CEO and as a member of the board at the May 2010 annual shareholders’ meeting. He will continue, however, to assist the company in a consulting and advisory role through December 2012 and have the title of chairman emeritus.
Lester has led the company since 1978 when he purchased it from its founder, Chuck Williams. At that time, the company had four stores, a small catalog and $4 million in revenue.
Williams-Sonoma said that its board intends to appoint Laura Alber as the company’s CEO as well as a nominee to the board of directors. Alber joined the company in 1995 and was appointed to her current role as president in 2006.
Alber stated, “It is an exceptional honor to follow in the footsteps of one of the most highly esteemed executives in retail. Howard has been an outstanding mentor, and he is retiring at a time when the foundation of the company has never been stronger. We are confident in our direction and, together with the leadership team, ready to execute against those strategies that will grow and improve our businesses, deliver great products and services to our customers and enhance shareholder value.”
Costco honored for sustainability efforts
INDIANAPOLIS SustainableGrocer.com, an organization which manages sustainability practices within the food and grocery retail sector, has named Costco as the 2009 Sustainable Grocer of the Year.
Costco received the award for its sustainable efforts including energy reduction, offering a wide selection of organic food and its recycling programs. The company was also recognized for reducing packaging waste and working to reduce its carbon footprint through effective delivery systems which utilize the most efficient trucks available.