Walmart’s US chief merchandising officer stepping down as retailer warns of tough year
The chief commercial officer for Walmart’s U.S. operations is stepping down as the retailer faces a tough year ahead, an internal memo shared with U.S. associates on Friday said.
Charles Redfield, whose career at Walmart spans 32 years, will transition on May 1 and remain in an advisory role. In a memo seen by CNN Business, Walmart US CEO John Furner said Redfield wants to spend more time with his family.
Redfield kept his position at the retailer for a little over a year, starting in January 2022.
The leadership change comes after America’s largest retailer warned that it faces another challenging year ahead and will approach 2023 cautiously.
Despite a strong holiday season, Walmart predicts slower sales and profit growth in February. Its strong holiday sales were boosted by groceries. Grocery prices rose 11.8% annually in December, pushing customers toward more affordable options.
However, sales were slower for traditional holiday products like toys, electronics and clothing — a sign that consumers are cutting back on discretionary spending.
Walmart saw an 8.3% increase in sales at U.S. stores open at least a year during its latest quarter ended Jan. 31. The company said more customers are buying its private label brands and higher-income households are shopping at its stores.
Walmart CFO John Rennie, “The consumer is still under a lot of pressure told CNBC. “And if you look at economic indicators, balance sheets are running thin and savings rates are falling compared to previous periods. And so we take a very cautious view on the rest of the year.
The retail industry in general is expected to face challenges this year after sluggish holiday sales.
Redfield is a Walmart veteran. He began his career as a cashier at Sam’s Club while attending the University of Arkansas. He became an assistant manager with Sam’s Club and worked his way up the ladder.
“There are the traders, and then there’s our chief commercial officer Charles Redfield,” CEO John Furner said in a memo seen by CNN Business. “I could probably stop there and many of our colleagues in businesses and the retail industry would know what I mean.”
Redfield became CMO for Walmart’s UK subsidiary Asda in 2010. In 2012, he was named executive vice president of merchandising for Sam’s Club and in 2015 executive vice president of food for Walmart US.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the departure.
Furner said the company will soon announce a new CMO.
This week, Walmart said it will acquire management firm WHP Global and retailer Express Inc. is selling its trendy menswear brand, Bonobos, at a massive loss for $75 million. Walmart Acquired the brand in 2017 for 310 million dollars.
In a note, Neil Saunders, managing director of consultancy GlobalData, wrote that the discounted price for Bonobos “reflects the current weak outlook in retail, but is also partly the result of Walmart spending so much time developing the brand over the past six years.” Nothing has been done.”