Walmart to share inventory data with suppliers in battle with Amazon

The Wal-Mart company logo is seen outside a Wal-Mart Stores Inc company distribution center in Bentonville, Arkansas June 6, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc WMT.N said on Tuesday the company will share more data with suppliers to move faster in replenishing out-of-stock items as it tries to better compete with rivals like Inc AMZN.O

The company, which does business as Walmart, said its On Shelf Customer Availability (OSCA) data, which was only accessible internally, will be shared at the Supplier Growth Forum, a two-day event at Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We have reduced inventory in stores in order to have the right amount of stock and have made significant progress in the past few years,” said Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer at Walmart U.S., told Reuters. “We want to focus on improving that even more.”

The retailer will also tighten deadlines for delivery. In 2017 the company told suppliers it ultimately wanted orders delivered on time 95 percent of the time or they would pay a fine. The company hoped to add $1 billion to revenue by improving product availability at stores.

Wal-Mart has been implementing that goal in phases.

It will now require large suppliers to deliver full orders within a specified delivery window 85 percent of the time or face a fine of 3 percent of the cost of goods.

Previously, large suppliers had to hit a 75 percent threshold to avoid fines.

For smaller suppliers the delivery threshold will move to 50 percent, up from 33 percent. The change will take effect in April, Bratspies told Reuters.

Reporting by Nandita Bose in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe