Less isn’t always more … just ask Walmart.

TakeAway: Walmart’s merchandising strategy called Project Impact knocked thousands of items off the retailer’s shelves and cleared the aisles of promotional merchandise.

And, the retailer has moved to give regional and store managers more power over what their stores carry and how merchandise gets displayed.

Both  programs will have a major impact on a host of marketers over the next year. 

A few brands are immediate winners, though many of the category resets that will add back thousands of items won’t occur until early 2011.

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Excerpted from AdvertisingAge, “Walmart’s Merchandising Shift Has Five Brands Dancing in Aisles” By Jack Neff,September 13, 2010 

The program to reinvigorate growth at Walmart always focused on 10 words.

Seven remain operative, including “Save Money.  Live Better”, the slogan adopted in 2007, and “Fast, Friendly, Clean,” which refers to efforts to improve the store environment and shopping experience. 

Three — referring to the “Win, Play, Show” merchandising and assortment strategy — have been tossed out of the lexicon, according to several people familiar with the matter.   “Win, Play, Show,” reduced assortments widely and often let price leadership over competitors narrow or disappear entirely in the “Play” and “Show” categories.

Reversal of that, along with return of merchandise to aisles, or so-called “Action Alley,” is having the biggest impact on brands.

Among the beneficiaries so far, according to people familiar with the matter:

HEFTY ONEZIP: Along with Glad, it got eradicated from the food-bag aisle after a Walmart category review last year. Starting in April, it got a small amount of space back, and more recently it has fully regained its shelf space.  

PAMPERS: Since Pampers isn’t distributed at Costco or big dollar chains Dollar General and Family Dollar, Walmart takes on added importance for the brand. It’s one reason P&G is widely believed to “over-index” at Walmart, and why it should broadly benefit from increased display space at the giant retailer. 

WISK: This detergent brand had been booted from retailers in the recent years and hanging on to distribution in only around 10% of Walmart stores. Timing proved fortuitous, as Wisk was planning a formula upgrade and major marketing push for August just as Walmart was relaxing its assortment stance. The result is full national distribution for Wisk.  

ELMER’S GLUE: Timing is everything, and the decision to open up “Action Alleys” again in many stores just in time for back-to-school season put this staple of the season in high-traffic areas. 

CHEX MIX: A reset of the snack section recently has brought the item-count for this General Mills brand from three up to eight. 

Edit by AMW

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