By  on January 24, 2007

Wal-Mart has elevated chief marketing officer John Fleming to be chief merchant in charge of apparel, entertainment, grocery and home.

The world's largest retailer has been pursuing a strategy to tailor its stores to reach different customer segments based on marketing research, an initiative Fleming helped guide.

Fleming also will lead new groups devoted to customer experience and to planning, pricing and replenishment. He will continue to report to Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart U.S.

Referring to the company's three-year turnaround plan for its lagging domestic store base, Castro-Wright said in a statement: "As we enter year two, our focus will extend to merchandise assortment and marketing execution on the findings we identified in our customer research. I have a lot of confidence in the talent now charged with moving the company to the next level.'

Stephen Quinn, a former Frito Lay executive who helped steer Wal-Mart back to core low-price messages, will become chief marketing officer. Fleming's two-year tenure in that job followed a successful run at the helm of Walmart.com.

Claire Watts, executive vice president of merchandise, will lead apparel and report to Fleming. Prior to the reorganization, Watts had also been responsible for home merchandising.

For more, see tomorrow's WWD.

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