Deanah Baker, senior vice president of apparel for adults, kids, baby and shoes, is retiring from Walmart after 32 years with the retail giant. Her last day will be July 31, according to an internal memo circulated by Denise Incandela, Walmart’s executive vice president of apparel.
Baker’s experience spans three decades after joining Walmart as an associate buyer from a regional department store just one year out of college. Baker has been responsible for U.S. Walmart stores’ total apparel business for several years. Incandela said Baker has been successful in delivering sales, profits and market growth in the category she has managed. She was also instrumental in orchestrating the new apparel omni structure and was an architect for the apparel store of the future.
The company said Baker grew sales for the business while also successfully adding brands such as Reebok, Justice and U.S. Polo Association. She was also responsible for procuring (personal protection equipment) PPE gowns for U.S. health care workers in the early days of the pandemic. Walmart said her work resulted in 186 million PPE gowns delivered to the medical community.
Earlier in her career, Baker was key to ushering RFID (radio frequency identification) technology in stores to improve inventory accuracy. That technology is now used in other business units at Walmart, Incandela said. Baker also is on the board of directors for the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter, and she is a member of the Network of Executive Women and women’s officer caucus leadership team at Walmart.
“Deanah has been a true partner and a trusted advisor to so many of us, and I can’t thank her enough for her countless contributions to Walmart and the Apparel organization,” the memo stated.
Walmart said it is working to fill Baker’s position and will share more on that in the coming weeks. Baker has not said what her plans for retirement include except she is ready to enjoy the rest of the summer with her family, according to the memo.