Walmart has just rolled out its most aggressive marketing campaign in years, a drive that is drawing praise from both Walmart employees and shoppers, who are increasingly turning to the chain to save on their grocery bills.
The retailer’s supermarket sweep, launched last week, is aimed at boosting the stock of products in its stores, which are also known as Walmart Supercenters, as shoppers shop online and shop at stores like Target, Costco and Best Buy.
It’s one of the most aggressive efforts in years to boost Walmart sales and to drive profits, with sales surging nearly 400% in the last 12 months.
Walmart is now the third-largest retailer in the U.S., according to the research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
And the supermarket sweep will be a major boost for the chain, which has faced declining profits and revenue in recent years, even as other retailers such as Amazon and Whole Foods have ramped up their spending on groceries.
Wal-Mart shares are up nearly 10% in 2017, outperforming its benchmark S&P 500 index and more than doubling its market cap.
But with the retailer’s stock soaring, investors may be hesitant to invest in the retailer.
Analysts at Capital IQ estimated the supermarket campaign will earn Walmart about $4 billion in sales, according to research firm FactSet.
The Walmart grocery sweep is the first time the company has focused on boosting the retailer, and it comes just as it is under fire for the recent firing of one of its top executives.CEO Doug McMillon has been at the center of the company’s troubles, facing accusations of sexual harassment, and some are calling for his ouster.
Walmart said Tuesday that it fired McMillon for violating company policies and has hired a new CEO.
The new CEO, Paul Polman, is known for running a successful retailing company that included a chain of Supercenter grocery stores in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The company also has a grocery store in Florida and a large food delivery service.
WalMart has faced increased scrutiny after it was recently accused of using an online marketplace to lure shoppers into buying products without consumers’ knowledge or consent.
Walmart is one of several retailers that have been targeted by the federal government for deceptive practices.