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PHOTOS: Walmart refreshes produce department

CEDAR PARK, TX — I’ve lost track of the number of times my Walmart BB #:143789 has revamped its look over the past decade.

First it was the Freshover. Then Produce 2.0…and somewhere in there we had binders for managers and a training academy out back.

I walked in the other night not knowing exactly what to expect. I’d seen some outrage on my neighborhood’s Nextdoor about the lack of full service checkout lanes, but hadn’t seen it in person yet.

I didn’t expect a new look in produce…again.

Gone are the citrus fruits and purple organics signage along the wet rack, replaced with the signature Walmart blue denoting “Fresh Fruits & Vegetables, Local, Organic.”

The separate organic set was still hanging out in the middle with the cull cart hiding behind it, and the same guacamole quad table (avocados, limes, onions, tomatoes) was right up front.

But what I did notice was something I’ve been hoping to see for quite some time. There was, for sure, a significant drop in the number of redundant displays. I’m not talking about secondary bins of watermelons or maybe some bags of easy-peel citrus in a heavy traffic area (because those were there).

I’m talking about clerks filling extra space with … filler like extra bags of apples, or six displays of Halos. RPCs are displayed two high instead of three, with a lower profile more reminiscent of a European market or farmers market.

Let’s hope this newest makeover helps clerks run a tighter ship, with fresher product on display.

Here are a few photos of changes I saw in produce:

I wouldn’t call this an overhaul. It’s more of a mini makeover. Dry tables appear the same, but the signage in the back is different.

Here’s what the same produce department looked like before: 

It’s not quite the same angle, but it’s close.
In the background you can just make out the massive bank of self checkouts that replaced the previous checkout lanes.
It looks like they’ve tightened up the assortment here, as well as in the non-refrigerated produce.

The back wall before:

The new organic sign is green, and much smaller.

Separate organics: 

They kept the organic section intact.

Before: 

 

The aisles are a little less cluttered, with fewer RPCs and a smaller product assortment.

Before: 

The RPCs are stacked two-high instead of three, like before.

Oh, and the Nextdoor outrage? I could not believe my eyes. All but two of the checkout lanes have been replaced with two massive banks of self-service checkouts. The new lanes were bigger than the typical self checkout, so consumers can do the work of ringing up larger baskets themselves.

I mean, it is a big change visually but I can’t remember a time when more than three or four clerks were working checkout, anyway.

Walmart continues to post solid earnings through the pandemic, with the most recent quarterly report showing 6% increase in same store sales in the first quarter of fiscal 2022. The company also saw e-commerce sales up 37%.

Read the full earnings release here.

Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.