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2011 People to Know

By: GCI Editors
Posted: January 20, 2011, from the January 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 5 of 14

The sales and reach of Walmart and the fact that, according to a report by The Benchmarking Company, 71% of women shop for beauty and personal care items there every week, is alone enough to warrant the inclusion of the woman charged with overseeing Walmart’s U.S. beauty business, which has an estimated value between $2 and $4 billion, on any “people to know” list.

But, in addition, Carmen Bauza is well-versed in consumer behavior, continues to push to further understand consumer behavior and knows a little something about the power of brands.

In her quest to exceeding consumers’ expectations, Bauza is reengineering Walmart’s beauty message. Moving from solely a value-driven strategy to one that is consumer-centric and offering prestige beauty brands are among the steps being taken toward meeting this strategy.

Walmart’s Project Impact concept—an overhaul that includes widening aisles and creating a cleaner, more upscale look—has been implemented in only a handful of stores to date, but it does hint at what the world can expect from a retailer long-known simply for value prices: more brand imagery and beauty aisles, with enhanced navigation tools, angled toward store entrances. In fact, Bauza has said that consumers’ input has been embedded in these new aisles.

Bauza has been called a brand-builder and is quoted as saying, “Merchandising is storytelling.” So with the reach of Walmart, both new and established brands look to gain an enhanced and global opportunity to tell deeper brand stories.

Michael A. Bishop