Walmart has made some changes in its produce departments, and more changes are coming, according to the company’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer Steve Bratspies.

Bratspies spoke Sept. 4 at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference, and a transcript of his interview with Barclays analyst Karen Short showed a significant amount of discussion on produce.

“We’ve spent a lot of time on produce,” Bratspies said. “We have a different set today. We rolled that across the country. We’re headed towards our national meeting with all of our store managers in two weeks at Indianapolis ... and we’re going to show them Produce 2.0, which is the next set, and take that even further.”

Bratspies declined to give much more detail since the company hasn’t yet talked to store managers about the initiative.

“It’s a lot about visual set and experience inside the store that the customer will see directly,” he said.

Bratspies did provide some perspective on the strides that he said Walmart has made in the last year or so.

“We’re working with our suppliers differently,” Bratspies said. “We’re changing our supply chain set. We’re moving product faster and more efficient, so it stays fresher. How we receive in the back room is different. The process on the floor of how associates cull merchandise and stock merchandise is different. It takes all of those things syncing up to really make a meaningful difference.”

Bratspies described fresh as a journey rather than a destination, noting that Walmart isn’t as good as it needs to be yet.

“You never actually get there and there’s always things you can do to improve, and we’re continuing to work on all of those things, but we’re starting to see some momentum in the business,” Bratspies said. “We like where we are. And with Produce 2.0, which we’re going to talk to our managers about, we’re going to go even further.”


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