FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., June 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. President and CEO Mike Duke laid out four strategies for building the Next Generation Walmart at the company's annual shareholders meeting today. He said Walmart is poised to deliver on Sam Walton's vision of giving "the world an opportunity to see what it's like to save and have a better life." The strategies are:
- Become a truly global company;
- Understand the business challenges that retailers will face and solve them;
- Play an even bigger leadership role on social issues that matter to our customers;
- Keep our culture strong everywhere.
"Our results demonstrate the underlying strength of our business and our strategies of growth, leverage and returns," said Duke. "But as proud as we are of our recent performance, future success is never guaranteed. I want all of you to be able to say that at this moment Walmart committed to being a truly global company and began building the Next Generation Walmart."
In order to be a more global company, Duke discussed the need to serve customers as a local store, share best practices and leverage Walmart's global supply chain. He also stressed the importance of talent: "Just over the next five years, we'll create 500,000 jobs around the world. We need to recruit the best talent and identify the best talent in our ranks. Then we need to develop leaders and help them become global citizens."
Duke highlighted the global challenges that retail will face over the next 20 years, including the impact of technology on shopping habits and, in particular, on pricing. "Retail will soon enter an era of price transparency. And what kind of retailer wins in a time of price transparency? You got it, the price leader," Duke said. "We need to really churn the productivity loop and deliver on our Every Day Low Price business model everywhere. Walmart must widen the gap here. We will win on price leadership, and we will win big."
Duke also committed the company to continued leadership on social issues, saying, "Over the last few years, we've built a model for making a big difference on big issues. We are well into this journey now. No one can doubt our sincerity. No one can question our credibility. But as Sam Walton knew, leadership leads to higher expectations. And you know what? That's fine by me. So we must raise the bar. We must continue to meet the social obligations and expectations ahead. Walmart will never look back."
With the company's plans for future growth, Duke sees Walmart's culture as a competitive advantage and one that needs to stay strong globally. "Our culture is who we are. It isn't just words written on a wall at the Home Office or stapled to the bulletin board in the back room of a store. It makes us special. It sets us apart from the competition. And it appeals to people everywhere. So wherever we go and whatever changes we may make, we must keep our culture strong," said Duke. "I truly believe the retailer that respects individuals, that puts customers first, that strives for excellence, that is trusted will win the future."
Earlier today, the company announced that its Board of Directors approved a new repurchase program that authorizes the company to repurchase $15 billion of its shares. This program replaces the previous $15 billion program, which was announced June 5, 2009, and had approximately $4.7 billion of remaining authorization. Under the program, repurchased shares are constructively retired and returned to unissued status.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., (NYSE: WMT) serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at more than 8,400 retail units under 55 different banners in 15 countries. With fiscal year 2010 sales of $405 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. A leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity, Walmart ranked first among retailers in Fortune magazine's 2010 Most Admired Companies survey. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com and on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/Walmartnews. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com and www.samsclub.com.
SOURCE Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.