Wal-Mart Named Gia World Honoree

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The International Housewares Association (IHA) has announced that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has been named the third annual gia World Honoree which honors retailing excellence around the world.

The International Housewares Association (IHA) has announced that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has been named the third annual gia World Honoree which honors retailing excellence around the world. Wal-Mart was selected on the basis of its superior global logistics and operations and highly efficient inventory management. The company will be presented with the award at a special gia gala in Chicago during the 2008 International Home + Housewares Show (16-18 March 2008), which the IHA owns and operates.

With more than 6,000 store locations around the globe, Wal-Mart has not only succeeded at combining the best of two worlds – technology and world-class retailing - it also has remained true to its mission of saving people money so they can live better. It is Wal-Mart’s innovative approaches to logistics and operations that enable it to continually deliver the lowest possible prices to consumers around the world.

Pairing a unique store density strategy with an expertly formulated stocking system is the strategy behind Wal-Mart’s winning logistics program that allows for such low prices. The company focuses on building new locations close to existing stores to reduce shipping and delivery costs, thus facilitating restocking logistics.

Wal-Mart is also a prime example of an efficient inventory program at work. The company keeps in-store inventory low and relies on frequent restocking from its distribution centers, which are typically within 250 miles from the stores they service. Wal-Mart’s innovation allows it to keep in-store inventory at a minimum and is on the leading edge of electronic product code testing and implementation to further improve its inventory management at its Wal-Mart Stores and Sam’s Clubs.

Wal-Mart was one of the first companies to put supply chain management at the forefront of its enterprise, and this high-velocity warehousing lowers storage and handling costs, which in turn lowers costs for customers. Wal-Mart prides itself on passing such savings on to its customers.

Despite its excellence in logistics and operations, Wal-Mart realized that by eliminating waste and becoming a more sustainable company, it could further reduce operating costs. Again driven by identifying greater areas of efficiencies, it focused on reducing one of its biggest costs: energy consumption. As a result of this effort, Wal-Mart strives to achieve a 20 percent energy reduction by 2012 for its existing stores, and 25-30 percent for stores built after 2009. In addition, the company announced in 2005 its target to cut greenhouse gases from stores and distribution centers by 20 percent. In the same year, Wal-Mart also vowed to make its trucking operations 25 percent more fuel-efficient over the coming three years. These operations efficiencies area expected to keep Wal-Mart at the forefront of offering its customers ‘Every Day Low Prices’ for many years to come.

About the International Housewares Association and International Home + Housewares Show - IHA is the 70-year-old voice of the housewares industry, which accounted for (US$)$306 billion at retail worldwide in 2005. The non-profit, full-service association sponsors the world's premier housewares products exposition, the International Home + Housewares Show, and offers its 1,700 member companies a wide range of services, including industry and government advocacy, export assistance, State-of-the-Industry reports, point-of-sale and consumer purchase data through Housewares MarketWatch, executive management peer groups, a unique Web-based community at http://www.housewares.org and group buying discounts on business solutions services. For more information about gia World or the country-specific gia awards program in 23 nations, please visit http://www.housewares.org/gia. For more information on gia World co-sponsor Euromonitor International, the world’s leading provider of retail business intelligence and strategic market analysis, go to http://www.euromonitor.com.

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Beate Halligan

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