Walmart shifts focus to fresh foods

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) plans to focus on fresh foods, a grocery segment that U.S. CEO Greg Foran believes the retailer can improve upon. Grocery accounts for 56 percent of the retailer's annual sales.

Foran told analysts that tackling fresh food offerings in the right way is challenging, reported The City Wire. It requires working with everyone up and down the supply chain so that items are still fresh when they get to shoppers. Specifically, Walmart is focusing on where the produce is sourced, and earlier this month the retailer opened a sorting and culling operation in Los Angeles to speed up the procurement process.

The new center in California is similar to one in McAllen, Texas, and creates a space for produce to ripen after being purchased. The center also gives Walmart the option to entertain special customer requests by location, perhaps by buying out an entire field of specific produce if necessary. Also, the facilities allow for quicker distribution, bypassing the regional distribution centers for better results.

Foran admitted that shoppers were complaining that produce was not good enough to eat by the time they brought the fruits and vegetables home. He said Walmart is making headway in the way of fresh foods but still has room for improvement.

Earlier this month, Walmart announced plans to win back shoppers with a strategy that included a better understanding of shopper behavior to inform the retailer as it moves forward in 2015. The initiatives included continuing to put pressure on suppliers to reduce costs.

For more:
-See this The City Wire article

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