Friday, April 1, 2011

Walmart CEO Expresses Serious Concerns Over Inflation


Bill Simon told USA Today’s editorial board on Wednesday, “There's a lot of the places showing up now in dairy, and we're starting to see it come into things that are transportation-related, like paper.” He cited working more closely with suppliers as a way of helping to keep cost down.

Here are some tips and suggestions:
C-Store operators should scrutinize invoices more carefully with regards to increases in the cost of items being received in their stores. This is something few c-store managers have the time and/or incentive to monitor, and you may be selling items below costs before you know it. Have a meeting with your managers. Help them understand, their performance is being measured not only on sales, but on profits as well. In fact, have store managers check prices on existing items already in stock against your current suppliers’ costs.

Be careful about raising prices too quickly to compensate. It could throw a wrench into your sales. Consider lower cost items you may already have in stock and raise prices accordingly. Rather than increasing prices on slow-moving or dead inventory, use them as loss leaders to increase overall sales.

Talk to your suppliers. Insists they give you a heads-up when prices are going to rise before the merchandise arrives at your stores. It is very important to let suppliers know that due to news of inflation, you are paying closer attention to cost and will send merchandise back that does not meet your criteria.

Alert your customers that prices are rising and you are doing everything possible to insure you will continue to carry quality products at the lowest possible prices. They need to get the feeling that you will be their partner in helping them manage their budgets.

Say “no” to suppliers as they attempt to test new, unproven products in your stores. Abandon push-product authorization on all products. Order only what you know you can sell.

The next few months are going to separate the wheat from the chaff. Don’t get caught unawares.  

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