Wal-Mart Stores Inc has announced changes to its food leadership team in an internal memo, as it prepares for increased competition with grocery rivals and remains caught in a price war. Charles Redfield, executive vice-president for food at Wal-Mart U.S., unveiled the changes in the memo dated Friday and seen by Reuters. He said Wal-Mart is positioning leaders from the company in new roles so it can deliver and win at a time when retail is constantly changing. A Wal-Mart spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The changes come at a time when the world’s largest retailer has been conducting price tests across several U.S. states and pushing vendors to undercut rivals. The recent entry of German grocery chain Lidl and expansion by another German rival, Aldi , has raised the stakes for American grocery chain operators. Some of Wal-Mart’s key changes include one for Shawn Baldwin, senior vice-president and general merchandise manager for produce and global food sourcing, who will focus on a new initiative for Hispanic customers. The memo did not elaborate on the initiative. Martin Mundo, who has worked in Argentina and other countries for Wal-Mart, will replace Baldwin.
Earlier this month, Target Corp Chief Executive Brian Cornell said at a conference that Hispanic consumers are shopping less often. Target has experienced this behavioral shift this year, especially in “border towns,” Cornell said at the conference, according to media reports. Wal-Mart will also split leadership in its bakery and deli departments, the memo said. Kerry Robinson will be responsible for the bakery business but will no longer oversee the deli business. Tyler Lehr will be responsible for deli services.
Wal-Mart also announced leadership changes in its merchandising operations in a separate memo sent on Friday and seen by Reuters. Deanah Baker will lead all of apparel, shoes and accessories. Scott McCall will oversee the entertainment, toys and seasonal product categories as a general merchandise manager and Jeff Evans will be general merchandise manager for products under the home category. The company also named Greg Hall as senior vice-president of merchandise operation for food among several other moves in the merchandising team. Wal-Mart shares were up 0.4 percent at $80.16 at midday on Monday.