Walter Loeb has been a part of the retail industry longer than many of the retail executives running Walmart have been alive. And he, like many retail analysts who follow the company, have marveled at its accomplishments over the years.
However, that wasn’t the case earlier this week when Loeb let Walmart have it over what he regarded as deplorable store standards.
In a column on Forbes with a headline that asked, “Why are Walmart stores such a mess?” Loeb recounted a visit to a store in Pittsfield, Mass., and detailed what he viewed as unforgivable transgressions in store standards, suggesting he had never before seen a store that was as much of a disaster.
Loeb has seen a few stores. He spent 20 years in the department store industry, 16 years as a retail analyst at Morgan Stanley and the past 20 years running his own management consulting and strategic advisory firm. He is something of an iconic figure in the retail industry so Walmart took immediate notice of his diatribe and the company’s SVP for the New England division, Julie Murphy responded. She acknowledged the store was below the company’s standards, affirmed a commitment to providing customers the best possible shopping experience and noted that the store manager had been replaced.
Nevertheless, some of what Loeb had to say had a familiar air to it, especially among those who regularly visit stores in the northeast where Walmart is challenged, for a variety of reasons, to maintain store standards comparable to those in other parts of the country.
Click here to read what Loeb had to say and Julie Murphy’s response.