Walmart has not yet named a successor.
Balbale joined Walmart from Jet.com six years ago, and headed up beauty for the last two. His goal was to transform the world’s largest retailer from a “depot into a destination,” he said, to add speed, storytelling and brand selection to Walmart’s core strengths of price, scale and replenishment.
One hallmark of his tenure was adding smaller, indie brands to Walmart’s lineup, including Bubble and SkinProud in skin care, Uoma by Sharon C. and Lottie London in makeup, and hair care from Kim Kimble, Taraji Henson and Rita Hazan.
Though Balbale came into beauty with little prior knowledge of the category, he moved quickly to increase Walmart’s relevance, reorganizing the business and connecting the merchant side more closely with marketing and operations to inject more agility and speed into its go-to-market model.
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“I was really fortunate to support the beauty business at Walmart at a moment in time when Walmart was pivoting toward a different future — combining its stores business and online business and accelerating how the company serves customers,” said Balbale. “We had a chance to ask questions differently — where is the customer today, what are the products that interest them, how do we best serve them?
“The answers that the team came up with were really strong — it was around bringing new innovation to our customers, thinking about the experience both in stores and online and how we serve those customers,” Balbale continued. “What I’m proudest of is the incredible team that’s going to continue the journey asking the right set of questions and answering them in a different way now then they may have before my tenure. That momentum is going to continue to drive success at Walmart.”
Beauty accounts for about two percent of Walmart’s overall sales, which were $523 billion globally. Balbale declined to quantify the impact of his strategy, but did say that “by the measures of consumer sentiment and engagement, we were really excited about what we saw and the new types of customers who are coming into our beauty aisles. We saw signals that the ultimate ambition of moving from being a depot to a destination were starting to bear fruit.”
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