Inside This Issue - News
‘Walmart is strong, and we are getting stronger’
October 29th, 2012
ROGERS, Ark. – Walmart’s business is building momentum and delivering strong financial results, executives said at the company’s annual meeting with investors here earlier this month.
"Walmart is strong, and we are getting stronger," president and chief executive officer Mike Duke told those gathered for the company’s 19th annual meeting with investors. "We have momentum in our business that’s producing top-line and bottom-line results.
"We’re delivering on the productivity loop and being even more disciplined about operating expenses and capital spending," he said. "We’re making investments that are creating a better business. I believe that the combination of momentum, investment and discipline will continue to deliver growth, leverage and returns for our shareholders."
Duke pointed to the progress Walmart is making with what he calls its “productivity loop” and how it is successfully leveraging expenses, noting that the company has a lot of “open road ahead” even beyond current plans.
He said Walmart would bring the same discipline to capital expenditures and to the investments that the company is making in such areas as e-commerce and shared services, systems and global processes.
Domestically, Duke said, Walmart is “in a very good place” and making progress on a number of fronts that are driving strong comparable sales.
He added that he was impressed by both the plan and the energy he is seeing throughout the company’s U.S. organization as the holiday season approaches.
Internationally, Duke said that Walmart is in the right markets and those markets present significant opportunities for growth.
"Our growth is strong, and we are winning customers and gaining share in almost every country in which we operate," he said. "While the quality of openings is our priority, we will still expand at an aggressive rate in international, and add between 21 million and 23 million total square feet in the international business this fiscal year at Sam’s Club."
The company’s warehouse clubs, Duke noted, continue to be a strong point in Walmart’s overall operation, and the company continues to test new ways to engage existing and prospective members and to increase membership renewals and revenue.
A key part of Walmart’s success going forward, he stressed, will come from the company showing fiscal discipline.
"You’re going to see us bring the same increased discipline to our capital expenditures that we have been bringing to operating expenses," Duke said, citing the company’s 11 consecutive quarters of leveraging expenses.
"We are driving efficiencies in new stores and remodels by reducing construction costs while keeping our square footage growth where we want it to be," he said. "We are smarter about matching our systems investments to the size of the box and the need of the market."
The discipline over investments extends to ensuring that any money Walmart spends will position the company to succeed in both the short term and long term.
"I believe we are playing to win in a very real way now," Duke said, "driving innovation, working together across the entire business and investing in our vision."