May 7, 2001, 12:00 AM

Customer response drives deletions, additions at Walmart.com

Walmart.com discontinues apparel sales, but demand for jewelry and gifts grows. Apparel margins aren’t high enough, Wal-Mart says.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Walmart.com applied lessons learned from its early experience in redesigning the web site it relaunched just before the holidays, and now it’s put the lessons of the holidays to use in further alterations to the site. In the past few weeks, it’s quietly dropped some product categories from its site and added others based on customers’ response during the peak shopping season.

Notably gone from the online offering is apparel. “Given the price points in apparel and the shipping prices associated with that, it was not a profitable area for us, so we made the decision to remove most of those items altogether for the time being,” says a Walmart.com spokeswoman. The auto tab has likewise been removed, while some of the items in the now-deleted lawn and hardware category have been folded into a new home and garden category.

The spokeswoman says Walmart.com will likely return to apparel in the future, after establishing a product mix that offers both customer appeal and profitability. “For now,” she adds, “we’re working on enhancing other areas of the site.” Based on shopper response, Walmart.com has added jewelry and gift tabs as well as the new home and garden category.

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