A couple of years ago, Walmart, which once built its entire branding around a big yellow smiley face, was creating more than its share of frowns.I don't know from personal experience, I don't set foot in Walmart, but the reporting is that the stores are better stocked, cleaner, and better run now, and same store sales are up.
Shoppers were fed up. They complained of dirty bathrooms, empty shelves, endless checkout lines and impossible-to-find employees. Only 16 percent of stores were meeting the company’s customer service goals.
The dissatisfaction showed up where it counts. Sales at stores open at least a year fell for five straight quarters; the company’s revenue fell for the first time in Walmart’s 45-year run as a public company in 2015 (currency fluctuations were a big factor, too).
To fix it, executives came up with what, for Walmart, counted as a revolutionary idea. This is, after all, a company famous for squeezing pennies so successfully that labor groups accuse it of depressing wages across the American economy. As an efficient, multinational selling machine, the company had a reputation for treating employee pay as a cost to be minimized.
But in early 2015, Walmart announced it would actually pay its workers more.
Part of that could be that its own employees can afford to buy more.