In a powerful move to suggest that it's taking fresh produce seriously, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) announced on Monday (June 3) a 100 percent return policy. And this return policy lacks the usual laundry list of exceptions: "If you're not completely satisfied with our produce, just bring back your receipt for a complete refund. No questions asked and no need to bring back the purchase," Walmart said.
With no limits, there is certainly the fraud potential. What would prevent people from buying produce, bringing it home, eating and returning to say that they weren't completely satisfied—but that they are forgiving folk so they're willing to try again repeatedly? Somehow, methinks the "no questions asked" policy won't last very long.
That aside, the chain's efforts appear genuine. Among the changes Walmart flagged: delivering produce from farms to store shelves faster by purchasing fruits and vegetables directly from growers and "leveraging Walmart's produce experts" plus distribution centers and trucking systems; executing independent weekly checks in its more than 3,400 Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Express Stores that sell produce; and launching Fresh Produce Schools and other expanded training programs to 70,000 associates.
"Walmart has hired produce experts to work directly with farmers in the key growing regions where the company has produce-buying offices. Building long-term partnerships with farmers while having Walmart associates in the regions—and in the fields every day—where produce is grown has made it possible for Walmart to select farmers who grow the best fruits and vegetables," Walmart said. "As part of this program, Walmart works closely with local growers in the U.S. to fulfill its commitment to double the company's sales of locally grown produce by December 2015."
Jack Sinclair, EVP of the food business for Walmart U.S, stressed at a news conference that local wholesalers from all 50 states would still play an important role in Walmart's produce sourcing, reported Progressive Grocer.
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