But look at the deeper context here.
First, the executives who did this were looking at customer experience, which did improve. People liked it more. But customer experience turned out not to be the measure of success (although I suspect those executives were told that it was at the outset). The only measure was the profit curve. That went down in the short and medium term (which happened to also coincide with the 2008 recession) and so the experiment was considered a failure.
Second, the executives who tried the experiment were fired. This sends a very clear message: "Don't try anything new. Risk-taking behavior is punished in the most extreme fashion." Those executives who might have learned something from the experiment have only learned that it's a bad idea to experiment, and anything they might have learned is now lost to the company. More importantly, the rest of the company has learned to keep their heads down and never try anything new. Can you imagine the response when, sometime in the future, the CEO declares that Walmart needs to become more innovative? Everyone will remember what happened the last time someone took a risk and failed. It's not worth it, so no one will do it.
This will ultimately put Walmart in a downward spiral over the long term, and senior management won't be able to figure out why. "We say we want to be innovative, why isn't it happening? And why can't we hire innovators?" You can talk all you want, but if experimentation is expensive and failure is punished, no one will do it.