Wal-Mart names Walmart U.S. merchandising chief

By Reuters
Posted Jan. 28 at 11:01 a.m.

Wal-Mart Stores named a longtime grocery executive as the chief merchandising officer for its U.S. discount stores Friday, filling the post that had been vacant since John Fleming left the role last year.

The appointment of Duncan Mac Naughton, 48, comes as Wal-Mart tries to reignite growth at its U.S. discount stores, where sales at stores open at least a year fell in each of the past six quarters.

“It looks like the continued focus is going to be on price, basics and food,” said Wall Street Strategies analyst Brian Sozzi.

Food and other basic goods are key to Wal-Mart’s strategy to get shoppers to visit its stores more frequently. Last week, Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer and the biggest food seller in the United States, launched a plan to trim prices and improve the nutrition of a variety of food products .

Sozzi said he would have preferred an outsider to be named to the post, but noted that Wal-Mart generally likes to appoint leaders who are already familiar with its culture.

Shares of Wal-Mart, which have been hitting fresh two-year highs this week, slipped 0.7 percent to $57.15.


Fleming, Wal-Mart’s last chief merchandising officer for the U.S. discount store business, departed in August after Wal-Mart named Bill Simon to replace Eduardo Castro-Wright as chief executive of the division.

Then, in September, Wal-Mart named four product heads rather than naming a chief merchandising officer.

Now, Mac Naughton will oversee all merchandise categories at the company’s U.S. stores.

He joined Wal-Mart in 2009 as the chief merchandising officer for Wal-Mart Canada and was named executive vice president of merchandising for Wal-Mart’s U.S. discount stores in October 2010. In that role, he was responsible for consumables, health and wellness, and Walmart.com.

Before he joined Wal-Mart, Mac Naughton worked at Kraft Foods Inc as well as grocers H.E. Butt Grocery Co, Albertson’s and Supervalu Inc. His roles including executive vice president of merchandising and marketing at Supervalu.

Mac Naughton will still report to Bill Simon, president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart’s U.S. business.

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One comment:

  1. jack (me) Jan. 28 at 11:39 a.m.

    Walmart thanks you for reprinting their press release.

    All the corporate speak after “ROLL HAD BEEN VACANT” (and, unless you were referring to toilet paper or paper towels, the correct word is ROLE) just proves that “journalists” are lazy.