“Total Disarray”

Three months ago, outlets like Bloomberg and The New York Times identified systematic store understaffing as a fundamental reason for Walmart’s struggles to keep shelves stocked and weak financial results. If a piece in Forbes this morning is any indication, it doesn’t look like much has changed.

Retail industry veteran Walter Loeb, a Forbes contributor, was shocked by the “total disarray” he saw during a visit to a Massachusetts Walmart store. Merchandise was disorganized, shelves were empty, and store bathrooms were “both filthy and in need of management’s attention.”

“To me,” Loeb wrote, “this [disarray] shows the disregard management has for customers and employees—not a good message.”

Loeb pins the problem on weak store management and understaffing of store-level associates:

“In an effort to be profitable, I believe management has cut into operating staff and eliminated vital levels of management. This is visible in many Walmart stores where there are fewer sales associates, less management, and longer lines at the check-out register.”

This is actually a common refrain from Walmart associates themselves, and has been for nearly two years.

Walmart will be reporting its second quarter earnings next month. How much of an impact do you think this “total disarray” in stores will have on the results?

What do you think?