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Wal-Mart announced today that it has decided to significantly cut back on its SKU count in nonfood sections where, according to one senior executive, "it just doesn’t matter."

The Bentonville Behemoth said that starting today, April 1, it will only carry two brands of laundry detergent - Tide, and a new private label brand, "Roy's Best Shot," which is named after founder Sam Walton's dead dog. These two brands will be carried in just two sizes apiece - a two-gallon jug, and a one-gallon jug.

Once this roll out is completed, the anonymous executive said, the same philosophy will be applied to other categories in the traditional supermarket mix where taste is not an issue: toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, dishwasher detergent, and the like.

"It's really very simple," the executive told MNB in an exclusive interview conducted in the deserted parking lot of a Kmart. "We think there are simply too many products out there, so we're just going to carry the number one national brand in these non-taste categories, and our own label. Do you seriously think for a moment that anyone will stop shopping at Wal-Mart because we have an edited selection in these products? No way. They will choose between the national brand and our brand, which will be about half the price."

Asked if the company was concerned about the impact on all the other laundry detergents that counted on Wal-Mart for a significant percentage of their sales, and now could be facing financial ruin, the executive snorted. "Heck, no," he said. "If it weren't for us, they'd have been out of business years ago.

"What none of these manufacturers seemed to comprehend," he added, "was that while everyone was worried about us putting a lot of smaller retailers out of business, they should have been figuring out how to keep us from putting manufacturers out of business."

The spokesman said that Lee Scott, the Wal-Mart CEO, has made it a priority to apply this philosophy to taste categories such as cookies and cereal, where customers are used to a lot more choice and where taste is a prime motivator. "Lee told us that he only eats private label cookies, and doggone it, the rest of America might just have to learn to live the same way." And if that goal cannot be achieved, the spokesman said, there remains one more alternative: "We might just have to buy Kraft."
KC's View:
With any luck, everyone read the headline on this story and realized what today's date is.

If not…well, we're probably gonna get a lot of angry emails.

Happy April Fool's Day, everybody.