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Wal-Mart Classifies Customers: N.Y. Times

John Fleming, the new chief merchandising officer of Wal-Mart Stores , and Stephen Quinn, its new chief marketing officer, said in The New York Times that after a year of intense research, the discount giant is seeing its 200 million customers as belonging to three groups.

There are "brand aspirationals" (people with low incomes who are obsessed with names like KitchenAid), "price-sensitive affluents" (wealthier shoppers who love deals) and "value-price shoppers" (who like low prices and cannot afford much more), the report in the Times said.

The new categories are significant because for the first time, Wal-Mart thinks it finally understands not just how people shop at its stores, but why they shop the way they do, the newspaper reported.