Shareholder Week at Walmart has come to mean a showcase of new products, most of them exclusives or private-label. This year's batch, presented in speed-dating style to the media in a Bentonville, Arkansas, hotel ballroom on Wednesday, has some particularly unusual entries.
In recent years, Walmart has focused increasingly on exclusives, temporary exclusives and private labels as the competitive landscape has shifted and more key competitors, such as Costco, Aldi, Kroger Co. and Trader Joes, gain ground based largely on strong house brands. Also, time has shown that the parts of the store growing fastest are those where national brands are less prominent. Walmart's strategy represents a shift from its historical focus on beating competitors based on better prices on national brands.
From jeans made out of recycled plastic bottles to bacon-flavored seaweed snacks, here are some of the goods consumers can soon roll the dice on at the world's biggest retailer.
This interactive plush toy plans to get to the U.S. market in July. (Amazon appears to be selling some already in the U.K.) It has the usual features that appeal to kids: fake, neony-colored fur, weird animal mashups, and big eyes. Pomsies is part of what Chief Merchandising Officer Steve Bratspies says will be a stepped-up toy effort in the wake of the Toys 'R Us liquidation.
"This thing is packed with interactive features," says Senior Toy Buyer Weston Teshima. This includes 50 possible reactions, including eyes that light up and a tail that can wrap around hands or hang from backpacks. Versions include Luna the Caticorn, a cat-unicorn.
And hey, says Teshima, if someone's kid wants a pet, this one has a definite plus: there's "no pixilated poop for you to pick up later."
Another piece of Walmart's toy strategy is Lock Stars, a Hasbro product that Walmart brought to market first. The collectible toys each have two keys that open a lock, two charms (one hidden inside the belly) and a mystery lock. It's the kind of inexpensive toy retailers hope will be swapped excitedly at school.
Safety 1st Riva Ultra Light
Weigh Travel System
Billed by buyer Demetrious Moore as "the very first recyclable stroller made in the USA," the baby carriage comes in at just 18 pounds, has machine-washable fabric coverings and, Walmart says, can be folded up with one hand. But its biggest selling point, the retailer says, is that it's made from recycled plastic, mostly car seats, by Dorel Juvenile, exclusive to Walmart.
Recycled polyester in denim line