I have read in the newspaper recently that Wal-mart Stores may be planning to move design and development of its apparel to New York. Wal-mart may close the product development and sourcing divisions for men's, women's, and children's clothing at its Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters. It appears that the retailer is expanding its New York design division in the effort to lure shoppers with a more fashionable selection of clothing.
Wal-Mart's New York office has grown from a small fashion-spotting outpost several years ago to an operation with an increasing number of employees. In my opinion, Wal-mart should leave all of its design and manufacturing divisions in Arkansas. They should concentrate on being "retailers" and not try to become "designers". Moving people to New York and hiring New York designers is NOT necessarily going to keep them on the forefront of fashion (it can help, but may not be the best alternative). If you want to stay on trend with fashion, let your "buyers" do their jobs. Give them the freedom to shop the market (New York, Las Angeles, Chicago, Miami, etc.). Stay mobile and find the fresh product around the country and the globe. Creating your own office in New York and bringing more responsibility in house does not keep you on trend. For heavens sake, you are large enough to have fashion come to you. Don't try to develop fashion on your own...
We can not all be experts at everything. Retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, designers etc., all have unique functions and skill sets. Don't try to become a design studio when you really should be concentrating on being a merchant selling clothing... Dealing with fashion design and dealing with consumers is two entirely different areas of expertise.
Wal-mart and other top retailers have spent so much time cutting out the middleman, and now they wonder why design may not be up to par.
Anyway, my personal thoughts are that Wal-mart is an amazing retailer. However, I simply do not like the fact that they do not allow the wholesalers / designers, to manage the "design" function of the programs.
If you agree or disagree, you are welcome to post your thoughts in the comments section.