Ordinary people doing extraordinary things: In my 20 years with
Walmart, I’ve seen this happen many times, and in many ways. But one of the
most powerful examples happened this past year alone, as I transferred to
manage and open one of two new stores in Washington, D.C.
Historically, there haven’t been many shopping options on H Street –
the area where my supercenter opened in December 2013. In the past, if you
lived here and didn’t own a car, you’d need to pay to take a bus to buy
anything other than groceries. Similarly, covering those transportation costs
just to get to work every day could take a bite out of anyone’s paycheck.
Fast-forward to today, and I work at one of two supercenters that have
added not only affordable one-stop shopping to the community, but also closer
local jobs for 700 hardworking associates.
One of those associates, Ernest, had been out of work for two years
prior to our store’s opening and was applying everywhere he could. Because of
his age – early 60s – he said that many businesses gave his application a quick
glance and then passed on hiring him. But we saw him as qualified, outgoing,
energetic and consistent, and so we asked him to join our team – and then
promoted him to a leadership role shortly afterward.
We are truly
saving customers money. A family of four can now save approximately $1,300
per year, 18% of the average Washington, D.C., household’s annual grocery store
more access to better-for-you food. Both new stores in the community were
built within a food desert, an area the U.S. Department of Agriculture
designates where healthy food options make up less than 10% of local retail. We
sell a lot of groceries at my store – in fact, groceries make up 41% of
Walmart’s total sales.
added jobs not just inside, but outside our stores. In addition to the 700
associates employed between both store locations, another 630 construction jobs
were added. A third store location, Fort Totten, is still being completed.
What’s more, a handful of other businesses have opened near our store, creating
even more ways for people to work.
as important:We continue to give
back to the community in other ways. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation
have given $14 million to more than 200 nonprofits in the Washington, D.C. area
– which, in turn, has supported 185 jobs, $16.5 million in total compensation
and $197,000 in tax revenue.
Customers tell me all the time that they’re so
glad we’re here. I feel the same way, and it’s rewarding to know that the
positive benefits aren’t just my own experience – they are reality.
The following letter from Walmart CEO Doug McMillon was taken from our 2017 Annual Report, which was released today. Read the report.
Dear shareholders, associates and customers:
As I sit down to write this year’s letter, I’m feeling proud of the progress we’re making at Walmart and, most specifically, the passion and hard work exhibited by our associates. I’m encouraged by the way we’re moving with greater speed to better serve customers.
Our business is getting stronger. In the U.S., we’ve delivered positive comp store sales for ten consecutive quarters and we’re hearing from our customers that their experience continues to improve. Sam’s Club comp sales improved throughout the year and members are increasingly using our digital tools like Scan & Go and Club Pickup. Outside the U.S., 10 of our 11 markets posted positive comp sales this past year. Across our business segments, e-commerce growth is accelerating. Our strategy to serve customers through e-commerce and our stores in a seamless way is gaining traction. The momentum we’re seeing is real and I’m excited about what the future holds.
We’re clearly living in a time of transformative change. The world is moving faster and the magnitude of the changes, and their influence on business, seem larger than I can remember. In retail, the things made possible by technology are fundamentally transforming this industry. These changes are creating compelling ways for customers to save time and gain easy access to products and services they didn’t have before. At Walmart, we’re harnessing the power of technology and the investments in our associates to create new ways of serving customers and provide associates with more opportunities to grow their careers.
We’ve been preparing ourselves to take advantage of the opportunities presented and we have four objectives that we’re focused on this year. First, we want to make every day easier for busy families. Customers are time-crunched, so we want their shopping experience with us to be fast and easy — truly seamless — in all the ways they want to shop: in stores, on their mobile device, or through pickup and delivery. I’m excited by many of our recent initiatives — like the free 2-day shipping offer with a $35 minimum order from Walmart.com, the expansion of online grocery around the world, and Sam’s Club’s launch of Scan & Go across the U.S. — because of the convenience these initiatives provide. The strategic acquisitions of Jet, ShoeBuy, Moosejaw and ModCloth, as well as the alliance with JD.com in China, provide customers with a broader assortment as well as more ways to save time and money. It’s truly been a significant year of progress on this front.
Our second key objective is to change the way we work. We’re focused on becoming more of a digital enterprise. We’re working to increase productivity with more efficient internal processes and creating more real-time information at our fingertips, supported by more advanced analytics. We’re providing in-store associates with the tools they need, like apps and tablets, to make it easier to gain insight into our performance. Our goal is to increase our speed, effectiveness for customers and productivity throughout the business. We’re also working to strengthen the performance mindset of our culture and fight bureaucracy that can plague large companies. A strong and effective culture is foundational to success and we’re shaping ours to drive performance and create even more opportunity for our diverse group of associates in an inclusive work environment.
Third, we will deliver results and operate with discipline. We were founded on an everyday low-cost mentality but we think we have opportunities to work in new ways and find a path to a lower cost base. This is vital for our future. We’ll be smart with how we allocate capital to drive long-term value for our shareholders. We’re after efficient growth. We will focus on growing more through e-commerce and comp sales in our current store fleet and rely less on new store growth in the U.S. We’ll also continually look at our portfolio to make sure we’re positioned to win. We’ll invest in our core business with store remodels, technology and customer initiatives like online grocery and pickup, while at the same time being open to divest non-core assets if it’s in our best interest.
The fourth objective is to be the most trusted retailer. During this time of change, customers are watching the companies they spend their time and money with more closely than ever. The way we earn their trust is through our associates doing the right thing every day — being creative, curious, ethical, service oriented and embodying our purpose of making lives better for others. If everyone could see inside the company I’ve come to love, they would feel even better about the company.
We’re doing things people would expect from Walmart: focusing on lowering prices — not by cutting corners, but by being better at delivering great items more efficiently than our competitors; and constantly innovating to save customers time as well as money. We’re also doing things that might surprise some people. We’ve made significant investments in our associates, providing the career opportunities they deserve and skills necessary to be successful at Walmart or wherever their career takes them. Over the last decade, we’ve become one of the most environmentally sustainable retailers (and companies) in the world and we’re raising the bar even higher. We’re investing in making our supply chain safer and more transparent so customers can be confident that the products they purchase are sourced the right way. And, we have embraced the journey towards the concept of “shared value” as espoused by Dr. Michael Porter of Harvard Business School, which challenges us to create a business model that is not just good for shareholders but better for everyone: customers, associates, suppliers, communities and society in general.
We’ve worked hard over the years to earn the trust of those we serve and do business with around the world. By no means am I saying Walmart is perfect. We’ll make honest mistakes along the way, but we won’t let up until we get it right. Our purpose is simple: we save people money so they can live better. We take both aspects of our purpose seriously.
We want to thank you for believing in us…for investing in our future. We are a company of the future. As I stated earlier, we’re operating from a strong foundation built by those before us and taking action aimed at strengthening our business this year and beyond. We’ll continue to strengthen our stores around the world, we’ll continue to build our e-commerce and digital capabilities, and we’ll put them together in a way that saves customers time and money. And as they choose to shop with us, we’ll be doing things behind the scenes to create shared value for all so they are confident that their trust in us is well-placed.
Strive for more. Most people seek that in their careers. Wouldn’t it be great if your company backed you in your effort, even provided you with the resources and training to do it?
We created a place for our associates that does just that. It’s called Walmart Academy.
We’ve put a lot of support behind our people, especially over the last two years, as we’ve committed to help them do more and be more successful in their careers. Developing the Walmart Academy training program was a big part of that.
Everyone wants to do their best, feel confident in their job and know there’s a path to grow their career. This is where Walmart Academy comes in. It’s a dedicated location, in or near a Walmart Supercenter, where our front-line hourly supervisors, department managers and assistant managers receive two to six weeks of training.
And it’s more than just training. It helps our associates see a clear path to advancement. Just look at recent graduates Lee Griffin and Kinder Kaur, who both have grown in their careers. There are many more stories just like theirs – more than 52,000 associates have graduated since our first academy opened in 2016.
Margie started as an Overnight Stocker, was recently promoted to GM Support Manager and last week graduated from the...
We have a lot of passionate associates, and we’ve seen great success with this program so far. It’s exciting to see our people feeling confident and even more empowered to take charge of their careers. Our customers are seeing a benefit, too. As these graduates are going back to their stores and implementing their new skills, they’re helping transform our shopping experience to be a consistently positive one.
Every single week, Walmart helps millions of people get everything from bananas to books and baby gear.
But did you know that at the same time we’re getting that stuff to you, we’re also working behind the scenes to support our associates and serve our communities?
Each year, Walmart releases a Global Responsibility Report (GRR) that details all of those efforts. From investing in opportunity for our associates, to purchasing more products that support American jobs, we’re committed to making a difference.
The full report is available here, but if you’ve only got a few minutes, Walmart associate Kyle Jones breaks it down in this video – all in the time it takes for him to get to his desk in the morning.
What is sustainability? For businesses and consumers alike, it means finding cleaner, renewable sources of energy like solar panels and wind turbines, and reducing waste using the three R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle.
Companies like Walmart and our suppliers can go one step further by setting a goal to sell products that are sourced and produced with people and the environment in mind.
Since Walmart first began incorporating sustainability into our everyday work years ago, we have learned that it’s not just good for people and good for the environment – it’s good for business, too. It has made us a better company and showed us that when we work with others, we can make a greater impact.
One specific way we’re aiming to do that is through Project Gigaton, a platform that will help our suppliers make progress in reducing emissions from their operations. Our collective goal is to eliminate 1 gigaton worth of emissions by 2030. That’s equal to three times the annual emissions of the state of California.
We’re excited about the positive actions already happening with some of our suppliers. Land O’Lakes, for example, by 2025 will enroll 20 million acres of land in the SUSTAIN program, a sustainable agriculture initiative in which farmers are reducing soil erosion, conserving water and cutting their carbon emissions by keeping more carbon in the ground.
We’re proud of the improvements we’ve made to date, but even more so, we’re inspired by the commitment of our suppliers. We look forward to continuing our efforts that seek to address some of our global challenges and to improve people’s lives.
Check out the graphic below to learn about Project Gigaton and what reducing greenhouse gas emissions looks like.
Editor’s note: To learn more about Project Gigaton and our sustainability efforts, watch the replay of our recent Sustainability Milestone Summit here.