Is Wal-Mart getting out of the watch business?
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  1. #1
    Member avusblue's Avatar
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    Is Wal-Mart getting out of the watch business?

    On my way home from work today, I went into a brand new Wal-Mart store that opened up just this week (in Bloomington, Minnesota). This is one of those mega-giant Wal-Marts that has a huge grocery store on the right half and a regular Wal-Mart on the left half.

    Like we all do, I decided to mosey over to the jewelry department and see what sort of G-Shock inventory this brand new store had. Strangely, I couldn't locate the department. So I happened to come across a guy with an "Assistant Store Manager" badge and asked him where the watches were.

    "This store doesn't have a jewelry department," he replied.

    "Really? Do you sell any sorts of watches anywhere, like a black plastic Casio or Timex?" I asked.

    "Sorry, we don't carry any watches at all."

    I was shocked. I've heard of the trend of young people just not wearing watches anymore, but for the biggest mass merchant in the U.S. to exclude wristwatches of any type, from a brand new store -- it boggled my mind.

    Has anyone else noticed this? I was under the assumption that Wal-Mart would be one of the country's biggest sellers of consumer-grade watches. For them to get out of the business would be big news to us.

    Guess it's more business for Amazon!

    Dave
    Last edited by avusblue; August 31st, 2009 at 02:15.

  2. #2
    Member natornate's Avatar
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    Re: Is Wal-Mart getting out of the watch business?

    Most stores around me seem to be carrying fewer watches. I don't buy mine from them anyhow so not much of a loss to me.
    -Nate
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    "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."
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  3. #3
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    Re: Is Wal-Mart getting out of the watch business?

    If I run a "Where To Buy" search using my zip on G-Shock.com, I get 12 results within the maximum available distance of 50 miles. They are all Macy's. Last time I was is one of the bigger Macy's on the list, I looked at the G-Shock selection. It was pathetic. A small plastic spinner rack on the counter top, with maybe a dozen G's - mostly AW591's, a few G-Lide's, and a couple of others.

    I assume most G's are purchased online; my three came from amazon, mycasio.com, and Seiya respectively.
    Martin


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  5. #4
    Member bryanhayn's Avatar
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    Re: Is Wal-Mart getting out of the watch business?

    If Wal-Mart decides to stop selling watches, that's fine by me, it just means my lovely G's will become a rarer item. Everyone likes owning rare things, right?

  6. #5
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    Re: Is Wal-Mart getting out of the watch business?

    Right...
    ShockMister

  7. #6
    Member bigsky355's Avatar
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    Re: Is Wal-Mart getting out of the watch business?

    I was in Wal Mart today looking for Pathfinders. They had a few Casios but really a very limited supply. No Pathfinders which I suppose makes sense given the price.

  8. #7
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    Re: Is Wal-Mart getting out of the watch business?

    On a serious note, I wonder if more watches are bought at this time of year due to students entering a new season of school? If so, then all stores in general might have lower supplies right now.
    ShockMister

  9. #8
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    Re: Is Wal-Mart getting out of the watch business?

    Sears is getting more into Casio.

    Kohls is good too.

    Walmart has and will always suck.

  10. #9
    Member Marcello GT's Avatar
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    Re: Is Wal-Mart getting out of the watch business?

    Quote Originally Posted by natornate View Post
    Most stores around me seem to be carrying fewer watches. I don't buy mine from them anyhow so not much of a loss to me.
    With all due respect, Nate, although your declaration may work on a pure personal level, it carries the exact opposite effect on a much grander scale re the general market. Let us remember that watchmaking for Casio has always been focused on the mass market - and it can't be any other way given the nature of its watches.

    One can easily imagine a gnarled old swiss elf hunchbacking over an exquisitely fine one-of-a-kind hand-made timepiece that later will sell for a gazillion dollars, but that cannot be seen at Casio. Even if you take the company's flagpieces under consideration, try and focus on their production numbers and you'll easily notice they register into the thousands or more. When the company does a special run or limited edition, they pick the modules and main parts from their existing bins and work mainly on the cosmetic side.

    All that translates to a quite worrisome scenario where the main mass market watch companies -not only Casio!- will have to reposition their wares and find ways to market it more efficiently, read that "profitably". But there's a catch, as always.

    As others have said, the internet is a powerful ally -true enough-, but the demographics are also valid there, i.e., an young (and affluent enough) audience that chooses cell phones or other gadgets such as iPods etc. to read time instead of "traditional" watches -irrespective of how bold these may be!- will remain doing so whether or not they enter a brick-and-mortar store or log onto Amazon.

    I for one can read Casio's latest marketing efforts re G-Shocks going exactly there, trying to catch the consumers by positioning the watches and related "lifestyles" onto a "trendier younger newer" audience - witness the "Shock The World Tour" and the many variations along "Youth Culture", "Crazy Colors" and such, as well as the hype'ing of "G-Shock Life" along these same lines.

    As a not-so-subtle marketing reinforcement of this very strategy, please check Casio's press release of "CASIO UNVEILS ITS FIRST-EVER TOURNEAU CONCEPT SHOP". But one needs not to go any further than Shigenori Itoh, Vice President of Casio's Timepiece Division, own declaration:

    "Casio has long been an industry leader in technology," said Shigenori Itoh, Vice President of Casio's Timepiece Division. "By closely working with Tourneau, we have created a space to enlighten and educate consumers not only on Casio's entire timepiece portfolio but also to inform consumers that our timepieces are more than just a watch; we have integrated innovativeCasio technologythat's packed in a slim and fashionable timepiece." [The boldfacing is mine.]

    For all the above and more, I am more worried than most regarding the exodus of Casio and others from the shelves of Wally World and their ilk. There are powerful currents and tides at work on the markets right now, and not all of them work to our collective advantage, watch-wise.

    YMMV and those were my two cents under German Pre-WWII times' inflation. 'Sorry for the rant and here's the soapbox for anyone who wants it...
    Cheers,

    Marcello GT
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    From top to bottom, we are now @ 14270 meters deep in watches and still counting!

  11. #10
    Member CeeJay's Avatar
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    Re: Is Wal-Mart getting out of the watch business?

    Gah I hate WalMart but my urge to see actual real live G-shocks took me into one a couple weeks ago to see what they stocked. They had a small selection and they were all black in color. Happily I wasn't forced to purchase anything from them

    On another note Kohl's carries Casio watches and it's the big tax free weekend here in Texas. While I don't think watches are included on the tax free items list they are still on sale for around 35% off retail and they're giving gift cards with purchases over $50. I think I'm going to head over there today and see what they have.

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