Walmart’s chief officer for its US operations is stepping down from his position as the retailer prepares to face a challenging year ahead, according to an internal memo shared with US associates on Friday.
Charles Redfield, who has had a career spanning 32 years at Walmart, will transition to an advisory role starting May 1, as he aims to spend more time with his family. Redfield took on the role of chief merchandising officer in January 2022, but will now be stepping down.
Walmart, America’s largest retailer, has warned of a more challenging year ahead and a cautious approach to 2023, despite a strong holiday season. While the company experienced a sales increase of 8.3% during its latest quarter ended January 31, with more customers buying its private label brands and higher-income households shopping at its stores, it forecast slower sales and profit growth in February.
The holiday season saw strong sales in groceries, but slower sales in traditional holiday products like toys, electronics, and clothing, indicating that consumers are cutting back on discretionary spending.
Redfield, a Walmart veteran who began his career as a Sam’s Club cashier while attending the University of Arkansas, has held various leadership positions within the company, including executive vice president of merchandising for Sam’s Club and executive vice president of food for Walmart U.S. He also served as CMO for Asda, Walmart’s UK subsidiary, in 2010. Walmart CEO John Furner said in the memo that the company will be announcing a new CMO soon.
In addition to Redfield’s departure, Walmart recently announced the sale of its menswear brand, Bonobos, to management firm WHP Global and retailer Express Inc. for $75 million, at a steep loss from its acquisition cost of $310 million in 2017.
The discounted price for Bonobos is seen as reflecting the current weaker outlook across the retail industry, as well as potential lack of brand development by Walmart in recent years, according to Neil Saunders, managing director of consultancy GlobalData.