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Electronics no longer delivering sales spark at Walmart

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- As Walmart embarks on its campaign to be the low-price leader and broaden product assortment, the company said it plans to reduce space for electronics in its U.S. stores, saying that sales in that category have declined.

The company will reduce floor space devoted to items such as flat-screen televisions and give some of that space to apparel, according to Rosalind Brewer, who runs the Wal-Mart East division and addressed the ISI Group Retail Summit in Atlanta on Tuesday.

The reduction is a reversal of Wal-Mart’s 2009 move to allocate 21% more floor space to entertainment gadgets and comes after electronics contributed to a 1.8% decline in U.S. same-store sales.

"As we all know, where the electronics category is going, it's still a very vibrant category, but their smaller unit items being sold, we're much more aligned with Apple right now. We are offering the iPad and the iPhone and those kinds of items, and it's really does not require as much space as we had projected in the year past," said Brewer.

Brewer added that by reducing electronics, Walmart would have more freedom to expand in such other areas as apparel and stationery and bring back such categories as fabrics and crafts that it had walked away from during its Project Impact days.

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