Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will bring forward its holiday layaway program by two weeks, in what has been viewed as a move to get ahead of year-end demand for toys, and to generate sales of upcoming Star Wars toys. As reported by Reuters, Anne Marie Kehoe, the vice president of toys for Wal-Mart, said in a briefing that shoppers can utilize the program starting August 28, two weeks earlier than last year.
According to a new Nielsen survey, reported by Reuters, more than 40 percent of retailers reduced the number of different SKUs on their shelves last year, and nearly the same number expect to make additional cuts.
According to Nielsen, these cuts can help retailers lower costs, but shoppers may leave stores without making a purchase if they cannot find a specific item. In the Nielsen survey, it was reported that 7 percent of shoppers who did not find their desired personal-care item said they would leave the store without buying an item in the category, with some shoppers saying they would leave the store without buying anything. Nielsen reports that if just 0.5 percent of grocery shoppers were to leave a store without making a purchase, retailers could lose sales up to $1.5 billion.
Walmart recently reported that its program to overhaul stores hurt sales. Last year the retailer removed slower-selling items from shelves, and replaced them with more popular items. However, the company found that not offering some items drove shoppers to other stores. In March, the company said it returned approximately 300 items to U.S. store shelves.