Once the biggest jewelry seller in America, Walmart is gradually cutting the number of jewelry counters in its stores, sources say.
In January, Talk Business, an Arkansas news site, reported that Walmart was planning to “eliminate its jewelry business,” as part of a larger series of cutbacks and layoffs.
After that article appeared, I reached out to Walmart PR for comment and didn’t hear back, and the topic got lost in the shuffle.
Recently, someone alerted me to the following post on Reddit:
Found some phenomenal deals on some watches at Walmart due to the jewelry departments being closed down. Most of the jewelry counters have already been emptied but I managed to find these and pick them up for an incredible price.
Another person followed up with:
I’m in Florida. I was told by the lady in the jewelry department that Walmart was closing jewelry counters in a lot of stores but not all of them.
Which basically seems to be true.
A jewelry vendor who sells to Walmart told me that the company has been making changes to its jewelry operation for the last few months. And while it isn’t exactly exiting jewelry—it still sells plenty online—it does seem to be cutting back on its jewelry counters and overall sales. Given that the company has 3,500 “supercenters” in the United States, it is trying a variety of approaches.
Many of its jewelry counters are being closed, the vendor said. However, some are being converted into an unmanned format, similar to Sam’s Club and Costco. And some jewelry departments—the most profitable—are staying as they are.
Reddit forums for Walmart employees basically echo this. One poster even complained that he or she was amazed that Walmart still has jewelry counters, considering how many returns, as well as “theft, and shrink happens there.”
In any case, it seems that Walmart doesn’t see jewelry as a core competency, and wants to move much of its jewelry sales online, where it is increasingly focusing its energy.
A Walmart spokesperson did not return a request for comment at press time, but we will update this post if and when she does.
Top image courtesy of Walmart