Manolo Reyes, a veteran with Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco, has taken over Ron McCormick’s old position of vice president/divisional merchandise manager of produce and floral at Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart hires Costco veteran to head produce and floral

With the shakeup in the produce department at the giant Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer that took place last summer, it’s not known whether Reyes holds the exact same title or responsibilities as McCormick, who shifted to a new position with the company dealing with sustainability and locally grown initiatives.

However, Dick Spezzano, an independent retail analyst and president of Spezzano Consulting Services in Monrovia, Calif., confirmed that Reyes had been hired in that position.

“In talking to a lot of different vendors who work with Wal-Mart … they’ve all told me they’re aware of it,” Spezzano said.

Spezzano said he’s heard Reyes came from a Costco location in Mexico, and that with his appointment Wal-Mart might be trying to improve its Hispanic consumer relations when it comes to perishables.

“That’s why nobody knows who this guy is,” Spezzano said. “Wal-Mart — not just Wal-Mart, but all supermarket chains here — are slow to market to a Hispanic audience. When you compare them to independent retailers on the grocery side, they fall short, especially where independents are big in produce."