This story first appeared in the April 13, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
T-shirts are set to take space from TVs as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. refashions its discount stores, emphasizing opening price points and adding back goods that were taken away in recent years.
Wal-Mart expanded its electronics department, selling inexpensive flat-screen TVs as digital broadcasting made old analog sets obsolete. But now that market’s gone mobile.
“We’re offering the iPad and the iPhone and those kinds of items and it really does not require as much space,” said Rosalind Brewer, executive vice president and president of Wal-Mart East, which has nearly 1,600 stores. “We understand that clearly now, so we’re actually going to reduce that [electronics] pad size so that we can accommodate the other areas that we want to expand in the store and bring back possibly a little larger apparel [department].”
Just My Size, owned by Hanesbrands Inc., is one of the fashion brands that’s making a comeback, said Brewer, who spoke at the ISI Group Inc. Retail Summit.
David Strasser, analyst at Janney Capital Markets, said the shift away from electronics could open up about 2,000 square feet of space per store, or a total of 7.2 million square feet. That’s enough selling space to contain all 1,039 Victoria’s Secret stores with more than a million square feet of selling space left over.