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CNBC: To Fight Inflation, Walmart CEO Seeks to Keep Private Label Prices Low

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon wants the retailer to do its part in fighting inflation by keeping prices on its private label products down, according to CNBC. McMillon told Jim Cramer, host of the business channel’s Mad Money, that the company is “not participating in a recession if there is one.”

Additionally, McMillon would like Walmart’s brand partners and suppliers to “step forward” and lower prices on their own, but whether they do or don’t he wants “to play a role in helping get prices down.” He believes lower prices on private label goods could push other brands to keep prices down even as Walmart (and others) face rising costs.

“Over time, the market works,” said McMillon. “We believe branded manufacturers and all of our suppliers of all types will have to respond to that market in time.”

Walmart posted solid results for both Q4 2023 and FY 2023, which ended Jan. 31, 2023. Q4 revenue was up 7.3% over the same period the previous year, with comparable sales up 8.3%. For the full year, Walmart’s total revenue of $611.3 billion represented a 6.7% increase over FY 2022, with comparable sales up 6.6%. However, the retailer’s outlook for the remainder of calendar 2023 remains cautious, with executives noting the possibility that higher interest rates might cause a recession later this year.

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“There’s still a lot of trepidation and uncertainty with the economic outlook,” said John David Rainey, CFO at Walmart in an interview with Reuters. “Balance sheets are continuing to get thinner, savings rate is roughly half of what it was at a pre-pandemic level and we’ve not been in a situation like this where the Fed is raising at the rate that it does.”

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