After a solid first quarter, Walmart executives were upbeat in addressing analysts during the company’s annual meeting here.


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Bullish outlook offered by execs

June 18th, 2012

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – After a solid first quarter, Walmart executives were upbeat in addressing analysts during the company’s annual meeting here.

President and chief executive officer Mike Duke was particularly positive about the company’s ability to further improve profitability by leveraging expenses, especially with comparable-store sales in the United States on the upswing. "We have a long-term strategy to continue to leverage expenses year after year," he said. "And so over the next five years we plan to take an additional 100 basis points out of total corporation’s expense percent to sales."

One of the areas in which the company can further reduce costs, he went on, is in store development, where Walmart expects to be able to build outlets at 10% lower cost with no impact on the customer ­experience.

Chief financial officer Charles Holley told analysts that there are four key things that Walmart must achieve to have a great year in the current 2013 fiscal year:

• Continue to leverage expenses.
• Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club continue their current positive momentum.
• Improved return on investment in Walmart International, particularly in Brazil and China.
• Continued growth and investment in e-commerce technology.

The strategic goal, Duke explained, is to integrate e-commerce and the stores in a way that will enable customers to shop in the manner they want in the future.

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