Monday 17 August 2009

Have you been hit by Project Impact?

In the US, Wal-Mart's battle plan for the recession has been to dramatically change its housekeeping rules, cutting the number of its product lines by as much as 15%, according to some estimates. Wal-Mart is effectively devoting more shelf space to best-selling products and reducing, or even removing, those that don't shift as fast.

According to The Observer Wal-Mart's Supercentres initially stocked more than 100,000 products. But research found that customers spent just 20 minutes in store, so the firm analysed sales data to come up with the "optimal" product selection. That has shifted the balance in favour of the largest consumer goods companies that are already major Wal-Mart suppliers: it accounts for 15% of Procter & Gamble's sales, and 20% and 34% of Kellogg's and Del Monte's business respectively.

In the UK, Asda has been operating its own version of Project Impact, actually called "Less is More", with a 30% reduction in product lines, and, according to some reports, contributions to advertising based upon a percentage of the product's sales.

Fundamental issue for suppliers:
  • If your brand is not selling enough to hit Asda hurdle-rates, in a place where its shelf price is probably lowest, then giving it extra support to qualify for retention, and thereby being allowed to contribute a percentage of sales to Asda advertising, is probably not a recipe long term success…
  • Better to anticipate the inevitable and re-audit (see Buying Mix Analysis) the brand, before the other recession-mults do it on your behalf…?

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