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Walton Leaving Walmart Board

Walmart Leads in CPG Share

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Rob Walton stepped away from the Walmart board last week, a generational changeover for a company far different than the one he assumed leadership of in 1992.

Walton, 79, announced that he will not seek re-election to the Walmart board of directors. He’s been on the board since assuming the chairman role following the death of his father, Sam Walton, in 1992.

Rob Walton served as chairman of the board until 2015, when he handed the chair position to son-in-law Greg Penner. Penner remains as chairman.

Walton’s announcement comes ahead of the annual shareholder meeting June 5. The virtual-format meeting will include multiple shareholder and company proposals, as well as the nomination of Brian Niccol, CEO and Chairman of Chipotle Mexican Grill, to replace Walton on the board.

The other 10 directors have been re-nominated to continue their board roles. Niccol would be the fifth new independent director to join the board since 2017.

The meeting comes as industry tracker Numerator reports that Walmart captured 21.2 percent of all US retail spending on consumer packaged goods, well above competitors Costco (7.8 percent), Kroger (6.9 percent), Amazon (5.3 percent) and Albertsons (4.3 percent.)

Kroger and Albertsons planned merger would bring them into second place at 11.2 percent of CPG spend, although the proposal would require them to sell several hundred stores. The merger faces regulatory and legal challenge, however.

Amazon, meanwhile, has made steady gains in CPG sectors, and has already surpassed Walmart’s market share in several other consumer categories. The online retailer was founded two years into Rob Walton’s board tenure, and the two retailers remain industry giants.

The battle for CPG dollars is expected to continue, as grocery sales are forecast to grow through 2028, with online sales leading the way. Brick Meets Click estimates 1.3 percent growth for in-store grocery sales, but 4.5 percent growth in online sales in that time frame. That would equate to $120 billion in online grocery sales, or 12.7 percent of all grocery spending.

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