Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) Should Do A Chipotle?


What if Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) could shut its stores for a day to address the various issues that are threatening to drive it out of business? Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG), the restaurant operator dogged by food contamination issues, plans to close all its stores for several hours to allow it to recalibrate. The shutdown of Chipotle is primarily to allow all the company’s employees to listen to what the top brass has to say about the recent food safety scandal and the way forward. Wal-Mart needs something a kin to what Chipotle is planning with its employees.

Common complaints

Looking at comments by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)shoppers, it is clear things aren’t right and if nothing is done in time, the retailer could soon find itself holding the shorter end of the retail stick. Customers are consistently complaining about poor services at Wal-Mart stores. If it is not rude store employees turning away customers seeking their help, it is the poor store arrangement that keeps customers searching and searching for items that should be easy to locate. Then there is the perennial problem of items running out of stock and nothing seems to be done about it.

Perhaps Wal-Mart needs to retreat to think about how it is going to do business and that soul-searching needs to happen before it is too late.

Inspire and train customers

The reason Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) recently sweetened minimum wages for store associates was to inspire them to serve customers better. The sweetened wages is expected to cost the retailer $2.7 billion in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. However, it seems boosting employee remuneration isn’t enough to change the culture at Wal-Mart. Customers continue to complain about poor service from Wal-Mart store workers, some of who aren’t ready to offer the assistance that shoppers ask of them.

Perhaps closing for 24 hours could allow Wal-Mart to retrain its employees and especially emphasize the importance of good customer service in a competitive retail environment.

Chipotle has shown the way

Investors should be supportive of a move to by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) to shut stores to fix problem areas. Chipotle has already shown the way and investors aren’t having problems with it. In any case, the decision to close stores to plot the way forward seems to give investors hope of a speedy recovery after the food safety scare. Chipotle stores will close on February 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.