Restoring Wal-Mart

With U.S. sales growth lagging, the huge retailer is trying to execute a massive overhaul of its discount outlets and get closer to its customers--and its employees

Romain Blanquart for TIME

Eduardo Castro-Wright, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores USA, was photographed at the new Wal-Mart Supercenter, in Elyria, Ohio in an aisle featuring products all made in the state of Ohio.

Eduardo Castro-Wright could see the problem instantly. One of his first exercises as the newly appointed president of Division No. 1, the highfalutin internal designation for Wal-Mart's 3,500-unit domestic discount chain, was to map every underperforming store in the country. Most of the worst were clustered around big coastal cities like Boston and Los Angeles. As he toured those stores, Castro-Wright could sense they weren't connecting with their neighborhoods. And neither were the managers--they weren't in Arkansas anymore. "You'd talk to managers and they'd ask, 'If I do a good job, can I come home in two years?'" he says. Who...

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