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Wal-Mart brings back greeters at the store door

FILE - In this May 9, 2013 file photo, a worker pushes shopping carts in front of a Wal-Mart store in La Habra, Calif. Wal-Mart is turning to its marketing chief in China to shape how it relays its message to shoppers in the U.S. The world’s largest retailer named Tony Rogers as chief marketing officer for the U.S. Friday, Dec. 18, 2015. He will report to Greg Foran, president and CEO of Wal-Mart’s U.S. division starting in mid-January.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

 

NEW YORK / AP

Those smiley door greeters are back at Wal-Mart.
The US’ largest retailer said in a blog post this week that it’s bringing back door greeters to a majority of its 5,000 stores by mid-summer to improve customer service. For stores which have been selected as higher risks for thefts, Wal-Mart will position a “customer host,” who will not only greet customers but also check receipts to prevent theft. That was flagged as a growing problem last year. Those workers will be trained to help deter potential shoplifters.
The rollout follows a successful pilot program.
Four years ago, the discounter decided to remove the workers at the front of the store and relocated them to other areas.
Greeters were a tradition that its late founder Sam Walton started.
The move comes as the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer is working to improve sales and service amid fierce competition from outlets ranging from dollar stores to online leader Amazon.com. The company has seen gains for a key revenue measure for six straight quarters at its Wal-Mart US division, but the increases have been mostly small.
“Providing customers with an excellent first impression is part of Wal-Mart’s broader strategy to ensure simpler, more convenient shopping,” wrote Mark Ibbotson, executive vice president of central operations for Wal-Mart’s U.S. division on the blog. “Focusing more on our greeters is one of a whole host of details we’re looking at — it just happens to be a very visible one.”

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