Yesterday Was Walmart’s Goal Date To Significantly Improve Its Stores

Yesterday marked two soft deadlines for Walmart: the EMV shift at payment terminals and a pre-holiday “line in the sand” that the company’s head of U.S. operations set for the retailer to shape up its stores. That includes making checkout lines shorter and other changes that might seem invisible, but which affect how friendly and easy to use shoppers find their local Wally World. More importantly, he shows up to visit stores unannounced.

Sure, he’s only stopped by 150 out of more than 4,000 stores this year, but that doesn’t really matter. The important part is that managers know that the bosses could walk through the automatic doors to evaluate their work at any minute.

Customers’ main complaints have been about dirty stores with empty shelves and long wait times at the checkout. All of these have their roots in under-staffing, which leads to a delicate balance for Walmart stores between deliberately under-staffing stores to save money, and needing to cut costs because that’s how Walmart rolls.

If workers are happier and compensated better, they’ll work harder, right? That’s the logic behind changes that Walmart has made in the pay scale for new employees, as well as turning the store thermostats up a few degrees and relaxing employee dress codes.

Wal-Mart Reaches ‘Line in Sand’ Moment in Push to Improve Stores [Bloomberg News]

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