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Wal-Mart Outlines Marketing Goals to Investors

NEW YORK -- Whole Foods, take note: An extensive organics program is part of a large-scale strategy for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to become more upscale and more diverse in its appeal, said the new senior vice president of marketing at the mega-chain, who spoke to investors yesterday at a conference hosted by Bear Stearns.

The executive, a former PepsiCo marketing exec who joined Wal-Mart last year, outlined a broad-based program of revamped marketing and merchandising that is being wielded by the chain to reach beyond its loyal price-oriented core clientele for future growth.

Food, and specifically more than 400 SKUs of organics, both in the fresh and grocery departments, will play a role in Wal-Mart's bid to recast its market positioning, said Stephen Quinn, who spent 13 years at PepsiCo and worked on the Frito Lay brand before joining Wal-Mart. Quinn said Wal-Mart new emphasis on organics would target shoppers seeking the "intangible benefits" of organics at Wal-Mart-level prices, and not core organics consumers.

He also gave investors insight into the chain's strategy for upgrading its apparel and home goods offerings, all of which will be supported what Quinn said will be an intelligent editing of assortments and reallocation of selling space.

The chain is also going for a cleaner, less cluttered look in the stores as well, he said, with an emphasis on new signage, intended to both simplify and improve the shopping experience at its discount stores and supercenters.

"You free up space to tell a story," Quinn explained.
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