WAL-MART boss promises improvement
Speaking to investors yesterday, the chief executive of Wal-Mart, Lee Scott, said that the retailer's performance bottomed earlier this year, and he promised gradual improvements in the months ahead. "I feel good about Christmas. I'm excited and optimistic about it," he said, citing price reductions, new marketing approaches and better merchandising. However, should the US economy or consumer spending turn down, Wal-Mart is prepared. "Our low-cost model should in fact on a relative basis give us the advantage that we've historically had if things get difficult." Mr Scott called the fiscal second quarter "the low point," adding "in all the things I worried about in my seven years in this job, the first half of this year was the most significant." Wal-Mart is well into a three-year restructuring plan and starting to see benefits in U.S. operations, he said. "A lot of the hard things have been done," he said, pointing to new executives in merchandising, marketing, operations and revamped labor scheduling in its stores. "My expectation is what we're going to see continually improvement, month to month, over this three to five year time," he said.
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