BENTONVILLE, Ark., April 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) today issued its 2010 Annual Report and proxy statement in preparation for its Annual Meeting of Shareholders on June 4. The report highlights the company's achievements of the past year and its priorities for the current fiscal year.
"I'm really proud of the performance of our team around the world and the results Walmart delivered for fiscal year 2010 in a year challenged by a difficult economy in all of our markets," said Mike Duke, Walmart president and chief executive officer, in his letter to shareholders. Duke noted Walmart reported net sales of more than $405 billion for the year, with International net sales exceeding $100 billion for the first time in the company's history.
"Our results reflect the underlying strength of our business and our strategies to improve shareholder value," Duke continued in his letter. "As amazed as I've been by the global growth I've seen during my 15 years at Walmart, I'm even more impressed by the opportunities that are ahead both in the United States and around the world. Specifically, we're focused on enhancing shareholder value by driving three important priorities: growth, leverage and returns."
According to Duke the company will deliver on these priorities by:
- Growing around the world as we enter new markets, make acquisitions, open new stores and develop new, innovative formats;
- Leveraging our scale and best practices to create competitive advantages while leveraging operating expenses by using our global scale, talent and expertise;
- Delivering strong shareholder returns through consistent performance of each operating segment.
In the U.S., Duke pointed to opportunities in major metropolitan markets with innovative new formats and plans to make the company's existing assets more productive. Growth in Walmart International will be driven by efforts to accelerate increases in square footage, by entering new markets and through acquisitions. Sam's Club will drive growth through initiatives that will attract new members.
"We'll continue to expand into new channels," Duke added, "so customers can shop and experience Walmart when, where and how they want."
Duke underscored the company's focus on leverage, both in terms of taking advantage of the company's scale and delivering on the goal of growing operating income faster than sales.
"By lowering expenses, passing those savings on to customers, bringing more customers in our doors, and selling more merchandise, we're reenergizing the 'productivity loop' that's been so vital to Walmart throughout our history," said Duke.
Each of the company's operating segments, Duke added, has a long-term plan to contribute to strong company returns.
"Our goal also is to continue to produce significant free cash flow to drive our ROI performance and deliver greater shareholder value," said Duke.
Duke also noted the company's opportunity to lead on big issues. He pointed to Walmart's progress in becoming a more sustainable company, making health care in the United States more affordable and accessible, and creating economic opportunity through jobs and investments in communities.
"With our reach and the people, communities and customers we represent, we must continue to make a difference on the issues that matter," said Duke.
The company also began distributing its proxy statement today with details of its Annual Meeting of Shareholders scheduled for June 4 in Fayetteville, Ark.
Walmart's annual report and proxy can be read online at Walmartstores.com/annualmeeting.
Separately, the company announced today that Walmart board member Allen Questrom will not seek re-election this year. Former PepsiCo chief executive officer Steven Reinemund has been nominated for election to the board.
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 two 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. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com and www.samsclub.com.
SOURCE Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.