Walmart has named Latriece Watkins, formerly the retail giant’s EVP of consumables, as chief merchandising officer. She replaces Charles Redfield, a 32-year veteran of the chain, who announced plans to leave last month.
Watkins, who joined the company as a college intern 24 years ago in the real estate division, assumes her new post immediately, Walmart said in an email to employees Friday that was shared with WGB.
“Those of you who have worked with Latriece know she is a merchant at heart and has a talent and passion for developing future leaders,” Walmart U.S. President and CEO John Furner said in the companywide email. “Her enthusiasm, talent and deep experience helped establish the omni merchandising strategy we have today, and her focus on customers and members will only strengthen our position in the future.”
Latriece Watkins, Walmart's new merchandising chief / Photo courtesy: Walmart
During her tenure at Walmart, Watkins had held leadership roles in merchandising, human resources and store operations.
She has served as EVP of consumables since January 2020, according to her LinkedIn profile. She also worked as SVP of U.S. store operations, SVP of enterprise strategy, SVP of merchandising for snacks and beverages, and VP of adult beverages. She spent two years in merchandising at Walmart-owned warehouse retailer Sam’s Club.
In her most-recent role, Watkins and her team boosted sales through supplier partnerships, increased innovation and improved customer experiences, Furner noted.
“She has also led several important strategic initiatives, including our Shared Value Network team, focused on leveraging our company’s strengths and expertise to increase racial equity within the criminal justice system,” he said.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Spelman College and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas School of Law.
In announcing his departure, Redfield said he wanted to spend more time with family. Starting May 1, he transitioned to an advisory role at the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer.
Redfield held a number of posts at Walmart, including EVP of food and EVP of merchandising for Sam’s club.
Furner, in an earlier note to employees, called Redfield a “true advocate for the customer.”
Walmart is expected to release its next quarterly earnings report on May 18.
During the retailer’s last update, it reported a weaker-than-expected financial forecast for the year ahead, nothing that shoppers are cutting back on discretionary purchases amid still-high prices.