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Target struggles to keep shelves stocked, Walmart thins out theirs

Target customers continue to report empty shelves, which Target says they’re struggling to fix. Walmart, on the other hand, thins out shelves. Interesting inventory strategies are afoot.



Target continues to struggle with inventory

What’s one of the worst things that a customer experiences when shopping? It’s going to the store and finding the item they want out of stock. Even Amazon understands that customers want instantaneous shipping, because they offer same-day delivery in 14 metro areas across the country. If your small business struggles with inventory management, you aren’t alone. Both Target and Wal-Mart have the same problems, and they seem to be handling them differently.

Target CEO Brian Cornell recognizes that the stores are having a problem keeping inventory in their retail stores, and he attributes this to the online shopping experience. Earlier this year, Target had to close 133 stores in Canada, partly due to empty shelves. Although Target does not have an answer yet, they are focusing on inventory management, and have reorganized their C-level positions by moving the CFO John Mulligan to a new role, that of Chief Operating Officer. When he takes on his new position on September 1, his number one priority is to revamp the supply chain.

Walmart has been working on their own challenge

Walmart reported that inventory management was one of their bright spots at the end of the second quarter in 2015. They have been keeping more inventory at the distribution centers instead of in the backroom of their stores, which offers more flexibility in meeting demands. It also helps keep their associates on the sales floor and lets them be more efficient. Walmart has upgraded technology to help their managers manage deliveries and inventory in their brick-and-mortar stores, but they keep less of it on the shelves. Although customers can be disappointed when products aren’t in stock, they can get it more quickly because they keep stock at distribution centers.

Both Walmart and Target report that they will continue to focus on inventory management. If you sell a product, it shows that you can’t let your guard down when it comes to managing goods. Your customers do not want to wait. It’s important to work on your logistics, to keep your shoppers happy.


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Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Barb Hutchinson

    August 25, 2015 at 8:57 am

    I went to Wal-Mart this weekend to buy a Roku product. They had a display showing the four different Roku products they offer, but had NONE of them on their bare shelves below the display. The sales associate checked his scanner for inventory in the back and saw that they had one Roku product in the back, which he then couldn’t find. I went to Staples and bought the the product I wanted. I guess I’m dense, but I don’t understand how keeping inventory at distribution centers instead of on the shelves is helping Wal-Mart. I think it might be helping Staples though.

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