After two years of being in New York City in order to be closer to the center of the fashion industry in the United States, Walmart is moving its apparel office back to Bentonville, Ark.
In an internal memo sent to U.S. and home office associates, Andy Barron, EVP softlines for Walmart U.S., said, “In Walmart U.S., we’re getting back to the basics of our business, and our customers and associates are noticing. Over the past year, we’ve renewed our focus on Every Day Low Costs and Every Day Low Prices in order to really deliver, and today we’re taking another step in that effort.”
Walmart moved its apparel office to New York City in early 2009, as it looked to be where fashion trends developed. That was 2009, and since then Walmart’s focus has returned to basics, and driving sales of socks, underwear, jeans and other staples is now more important than being close to major fashion players. In addition, the move will contribute to Walmart’s recently declared goal of reducing expenses by 100 basis points in the coming five years.
Aside from cutting costs, the move back to Bentonville makes sense as, according to Barron, nearly 40% of Walmart’s apparel planning, replenishment and modular execution associates are already in Bentonville. Barron noted that those associates in New York may have the opportunity to relocate to Bentonville.
Along with the move come some leadership changes:
Lisa Rhodes, SVP Walmart U.S. apparel merchandising, will continue to lead the apparel team through the transition.
Mary Fox, SVP global apparel sourcing will serve as project lead in New York through the transition to ensure delivery of major milestones of the fall buying cycle.
Jeff Dunn will assume the role of VP, divisional merchandise manager shoes, and will relocate to Bentonville to continue to lead Walmart’s shoe area. Dunn has been with Walmart since 1993 and has held various merchandising positions with the company.
Tom Dougherty, who joined Walmart in 1996 and most recently was VP store visual/merchandising execution team for general merchandise and softlines, is now VP, DMM men’s.
Patricia Snyder has been named VP, DMM kids. She joined Walmart in 2004 and most recently served as VP replenishment, home and apparel.
Deanah Baker, who joined Walmart in 1990 as an assistant buyer and held various merchandising roles, has been named VP, DMM ladies.
Dave Adams, has been promoted to VP, DMM intimates from senior director of apparel planning and will relocate to Bentonville.
Ginny Rothschild, who joined Walmart in 2009 and most recently was a director in men’s apparel, has been promoted to senior category director, jewelry and accessories.