Walmart FIA http://news.walmart.com/feed_fia Blost Post Facebook Instant Article (c) 2016 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc (c) 2016 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc Creating Jobs Through What We Buy http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20160310/creating-jobs-through-what-we-buy At Harvard’s Social Enterprise Conference this weekend, the topic on top of everyone’s mind was how to solve big problems. Attendees talked about many ways to create change: whether it’s through launching a startup, investing in green energy, or innovation in education.I spoke about… Wed, 15 Jun 2016 19:44:19 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20160310/creating-jobs-through-what-we-buy 2016-06-15T19:44:19Z

Creating Jobs Through What We Buy

U.S. Manufacturing

Executive Vice President, Consumables and U.S. Manufacturing, Walmart

At Harvard’s Social Enterprise Conference this weekend, the topic on top of everyone’s mind was how to solve big problems. Attendees talked about many ways to create change: whether it’s through launching a startup, investing in green energy, or innovation in education.

I spoke about Walmart’s commitment to buy $250 billion over 10 years in products that support American jobs. Through this commitment, we are empowering our customers to help create jobs and be agents of change through what they buy. 

Since we launched our commitment, we’ve worked with hundreds of suppliers to encourage them to manufacture or assemble their products here. As a retailer, we don’t make anything, but we’re big and want to use our strength to help others. We’ve made good progress.

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Facebook Instant Articles Test 1 http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20160608/facebook-instant-articles-test-1 Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse… Wed, 08 Jun 2016 10:10:59 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20160608/facebook-instant-articles-test-1 2016-06-08T10:10:59Z

Facebook Instant Articles Test 1

Opportunity

EVP and Chief Operating Officer, Walmart Global eCommerce

I am the intro

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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COPY One Nurse, 16 Infants, and a Storm’s Ultimate Test http://blog.walmart.com/community/20150827/copy-one-nurse-16-infants-and-a-storms-ultimate-test During Hurricane Katrina, there were many others she believes are equally deserving of that title. Her fellow medical staff at New Orleans Memorial Medical Center who worked while separated from their families. Her best friend, Monique, who took Medea’s ailing mother to evacuate on her own. Also,… Thu, 02 Jun 2016 12:49:13 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/community/20150827/copy-one-nurse-16-infants-and-a-storms-ultimate-test 2016-06-02T12:49:13Z

COPY One Nurse, 16 Infants, and a Storm’s Ultimate Test

Community

Sr. Director, Walmart Foundation

Medea Gabriel is not a hero, she insists.

During Hurricane Katrina, there were many others she believes are equally deserving of that title. Her fellow medical staff at New Orleans Memorial Medical Center who worked while separated from their families. Her best friend, Monique, who took Medea’s ailing mother to evacuate on her own. Also, the strangers she remembers driving their personal boats to pick up patients and staff from the hospital and navigate them to dry land.

But as a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit, Medea helped wrap up 16 babies and move them to shelter through a hole in the wall that led to a truck bed. The truck bed was to take them to a helicopter and then, safety, but once Medea passed each infant through the wall, she had no idea if outside realities would let that happen.

Today, she knows that nearly all of those babies somehow survived on the way to their destination, Baton Rouge Women’s Hospital. While one of them did pass away, she doesn’t know how or when, because that hospital has since closed. She recently got a Facebook message from one of the mothers who wanted to thank her for what she did that day.

“It was surreal to know how much I impacted her life and that she remembered me,” Medea said. “Just knowing that these kids are now 10 years old lets me go on.”

When Medea transported those infants that day, she says she was simply doing her job. Once the job was complete, she turned her full attention toward her mother, whom she sent with her best friend to get on a boat to safety. She had to pack up her mother’s medicine, waterproof her medical records and dosage instructions and staple them to the inside of her mother’s clothes so they didn’t get lost. She then sent her two loved ones off to stay with a college roommate whom she believed in her heart would take them in, but she didn’t know for sure. It was the second big moment that day where she had to simply act.

Thankfully, two days later – after Medea herself had to leave the hospital not knowing her next resting place – she found out that her mother was, in fact, alive.

While many things have changed for Medea since then, like a new job and also a new husband, she has returned home to New Orleans and works with pediatric patients once again, this time doing HIV research.

“I’m in a totally different place than I was before Katrina,” she said. “I’ve found peace and joy in this recovery.”

Editor’s Note: You can hear more of Medea’s story in a four-part podcast created by Good360, a disaster relief organization that works to improve the way communities can connect with much-needed supplies.    

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COPY A Fish Story from Japan: Meet Seiyu’s Seafood Meister http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20150921/copy-a-fish-story-from-japan-meet-seiyus-seafood-meister As Seafood Meister, Hiroyuki advises fish department associates in 18 stores of District 5 in Tokyo and Saitama. He makes fresh merchandise his top priority, and he has ways of highlighting it.“I create an organized seafood display that shows the colors, and I try to have at least one new product… Thu, 02 Jun 2016 12:23:35 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20150921/copy-a-fish-story-from-japan-meet-seiyus-seafood-meister 2016-06-02T12:23:35Z

COPY A Fish Story from Japan: Meet Seiyu’s Seafood Meister

Opportunity

Director, International Corporate Affairs, Walmart

In Japan, when customers want fresh seafood, they count on Hiroyuki Kikuchi at the Akabane Seiyu store to help them choose the best seasonal fish at the best price. But it’s more than a job for Hiroyuki. It is his passion.

As Seafood Meister, Hiroyuki advises fish department associates in 18 stores of District 5 in Tokyo and Saitama. He makes fresh merchandise his top priority, and he has ways of highlighting it.

“I create an organized seafood display that shows the colors, and I try to have at least one new product every day,” Hiroyuki explains, adding that he always checks the quality and won’t display anything he wouldn’t want to buy himself. He also carefully considers the preferences of local customers.

“The fish in season tastes best and is a good price. In Tokyo, for example, people love tuna, and I cut tuna sashimi every day so local customers can enjoy their favorite fish while it is very fresh and tasty,” he says.

To further ensure he’s giving customers what they want, Hiroyuku spends time talking to them whenever he’s on the sales floor.

“I love it when customers ask questions and I want to share my knowledge with them. If a customer asks me to help them choose between items, I answer honestly and then they start to trust me. They come back and say ‘The sashimi you recommended the other day was good, so I will ask you for advice again,’’’ he explained. And that’s why his customers keep coming back.

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Will I Won't I http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20160613/will-i-wont-i blah Thu, 02 Jun 2016 11:58:47 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20160613/will-i-wont-i 2016-06-02T11:58:47Z

Will I Won't I

Opportunity

Senior Manager – Reverse Logistics, Walmart

blah

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COPY How DisasterRecovery360 is Revolutionizing Relief Efforts http://blog.walmart.com/20150821/copy-how-disasterrecovery360-is-revolutionizing-relief-efforts Editor’s Note: Good360’s disaster recovery platform is playing a major role in relief efforts for those affected by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Read more here and learn how you can help at good360.org/flint.As a director at Good360 – a nonpartisan nonprofit working to connect companies… Thu, 02 Jun 2016 11:57:54 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/20150821/copy-how-disasterrecovery360-is-revolutionizing-relief-efforts 2016-06-02T11:57:54Z

COPY How DisasterRecovery360 is Revolutionizing Relief Efforts

Senior Director – Nonprofit Affairs and Special Projects, Good360

Editor’s Note: Good360’s disaster recovery platform is playing a major role in relief efforts for those affected by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Read more here and learn how you can help at good360.org/flint.

As a director at Good360 – a nonpartisan nonprofit working to connect companies that have products with nonprofits that need them – getting out of bed in the morning is never a difficult task. In 2014 alone, we distributed 4 million diapers, 10,000 mattresses and 8,000 cartons of clothing, shoes and accessories to hundreds of thousands of people via our network of more than 40,000 nonprofits in communities across the U.S.

Our work is about making a difference in the lives of people in need. In doing so, Good360 has provided relief in response to nearly every natural disaster since the turn of the century – Hurricane Katrina included. It’s truly amazing to see how far we’ve come as a nation in building disaster preparedness and resiliency, but there’s always room for improvement. In fact, our eyes were opened to the mountain of opportunity that still exists when we learned the following disaster-related philanthropy stats:

  • A lack of coordinated communication creates chaos, resulting in 60% of donated goods ending up in landfills.
  • The wrong goods are often sent at the wrong time, preventing critical supplies from reaching the people who need them.
  • Because 80% of all donations occur within the first six weeks after a disaster, a lack of sustained giving impedes and delays recovery of communities.

After we let those numbing statistics sink in a bit, we asked ourselves a question. What if technology existed to allow our network of nonprofits – which range from food banks and after-school programs to advocacy groups and veterans organizations – to use a mobile app to communicate the specific needs of the communities they serve in real time in the days, months and years following a natural or man-made disaster?

A few short years ago, that question represented an idea. But through continuous research, trial and error – and financial support from organizations like Walmart and the UPS Foundation – we’ve turned that idea into reality. With DisasterRecovery360, we’ve developed a new technology platform to help ensure the right donated goods get to the right people at the right time until the affected communities are fully recovered. The online platform: 

  • Provides nonprofits working at the site of a disaster with access to a free DisasterRecovery360 mobile app, enabling them to immediately begin identifying their product needs
  • Publishes those needs to the DisasterRecovery360 platform so companies can learn quickly how they can help disaster relief efforts
  • Updates companies as needs change over time
  • Shares stories about how donations are used and how they’re helping
  • Enables Good360 to store, stage and deliver critically needed goods to the right place at the right time through its network of logistics, warehousing and distribution partners

In addition to communicating real-time needs to companies, the tool also aims to help minimize unsolicited donations by connecting individuals with nonprofit organizations in their own communities that have specific needs.

Our excitement is through the roof because this platform has the potential to revolutionize disaster philanthropy in the U.S. – and eventually, around the world. But, just because the tool exists doesn't mean the problem will be solved overnight. On Aug. 21, we’ll be demonstrating DisasterRecovery360 in New Orleans, and following with trainings in Miami, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Wichita, Kan. We’ll remain relentless in our efforts to market and train organizations across the country on the tool, because ensuring the right products end up in the right places expedites the recovery of communities.

And that’s something we can all rally around.    

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FIA Test 1 http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20150605/fia-test Reese Witherspoon, Mariah Carey, and Rod Stewart: Those were only a few of the notable people who joined us for Shareholders 2015. But the true stars worth celebrating, day after day? Walmart’s 2.2 million incredible associates – aka superheroes – around the world. The meeting may be over, but… Thu, 02 Jun 2016 11:37:10 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20150605/fia-test 2016-06-02T11:37:10Z

FIA Test 1

Opportunity

CEO, QRS Recycling

Reese Witherspoon, Mariah Carey, and Rod Stewart: Those were only a few of the notable people who joined us for Shareholders 2015. But the true stars worth celebrating, day after day? Walmart’s 2.2 million incredible associates – aka superheroes – around the world.

The meeting may be over, but we’ve saved several great memories here. Take a look at the slideshow below, and then check out the webcast replay at walmartshareholders.com.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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I have an image gallery lead http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20160510/i-have-an-image-gallery-lead hen I applied for a part-time job at Walmart 22 years ago, it was to earn a little extra money for the holidays. It really was as simple as that – or so I thought.I quickly came to love the people I was surrounded by. Walmart was new to California at the time, so I didn't know a lot about the… Tue, 10 May 2016 11:33:21 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20160510/i-have-an-image-gallery-lead 2016-05-10T11:33:21Z

I have an image gallery lead

Business

CEO, QRS Recycling

hen I applied for a part-time job at Walmart 22 years ago, it was to earn a little extra money for the holidays. It really was as simple as that – or so I thought.

I quickly came to love the people I was surrounded by. Walmart was new to California at the time, so I didn't know a lot about the company. But what I did know was that the people I worked with at my store in Anaheim made it fun. They were like family and that mattered to me.

What began as an opportunity to earn a few extra bucks during the holidays immediately became a full-time job. As I continued to grow my career, my kids grew up with Walmart. They would always stop by after school, so everyone got to know them. The store manager even nicknamed my son, Anthony, the “Tuna Helper,” because he once vowed to help us sell every box of Tuna Helper on the shelves.

Fast-forward more than two decades, and Anthony has gone from Tuna Helper to holding the keys of a supercenter in Irvine. My heart swelled late last year, when Anthony was named manager of his very own store, because he has lived and breathed Walmart since he was a kid. He began as a photo lab associate while attending college and – after a few years away from the company – returned to serve as department manager, assistant manager, co-manager and more at a variety of stores.

But Anthony’s success is just the beginning of our family’s story.

When my brother-in-law lost his job of 30 years, he became a hardware department manager at a supercenter in La Habra. My daughter works as a pharmacy tech in La Habra, and my youngest, Aerin, could very well follow in our footsteps. Even I have to admit that all this could seem a bit made up, but the story that takes the cake is the fact Walmart set the stage for Anthony to meet his future wife and start a family of his own.

I’ll never forget the day Anthony – then a photo lab associate – told me he had a crush on a girl working in the shoe department. So, after talking with Heather’s mom, who also worked at the store, I decided to take a spin by to meet her. We struck up a conversation – and I may or may not have urged her to check out the young man in the photo lab. Several years later, Anthony and Heather are happily married Walmart associates, with two beautiful children.

It really doesn't get any better than that. From day one, Walmart has provided my family and I with much more than jobs. It’s where we’ve found opportunities to grow individually and together. It’s where we continue to make memories we wouldn't trade for anything.

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I have no lead http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20160510/i-have-no-lead hen I applied for a part-time job at Walmart 22 years ago, it was to earn a little extra money for the holidays. It really was as simple as that – or so I thought.I quickly came to love the people I was surrounded by. Walmart was new to California at the time, so I didn't know a lot about the… Tue, 10 May 2016 11:32:21 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20160510/i-have-no-lead 2016-05-10T11:32:21Z

I have no lead

Opportunity

CEO, QRS Recycling

hen I applied for a part-time job at Walmart 22 years ago, it was to earn a little extra money for the holidays. It really was as simple as that – or so I thought.

I quickly came to love the people I was surrounded by. Walmart was new to California at the time, so I didn't know a lot about the company. But what I did know was that the people I worked with at my store in Anaheim made it fun. They were like family and that mattered to me.

What began as an opportunity to earn a few extra bucks during the holidays immediately became a full-time job. As I continued to grow my career, my kids grew up with Walmart. They would always stop by after school, so everyone got to know them. The store manager even nicknamed my son, Anthony, the “Tuna Helper,” because he once vowed to help us sell every box of Tuna Helper on the shelves.

Fast-forward more than two decades, and Anthony has gone from Tuna Helper to holding the keys of a supercenter in Irvine. My heart swelled late last year, when Anthony was named manager of his very own store, because he has lived and breathed Walmart since he was a kid. He began as a photo lab associate while attending college and – after a few years away from the company – returned to serve as department manager, assistant manager, co-manager and more at a variety of stores.

But Anthony’s success is just the beginning of our family’s story.

When my brother-in-law lost his job of 30 years, he became a hardware department manager at a supercenter in La Habra. My daughter works as a pharmacy tech in La Habra, and my youngest, Aerin, could very well follow in our footsteps. Even I have to admit that all this could seem a bit made up, but the story that takes the cake is the fact Walmart set the stage for Anthony to meet his future wife and start a family of his own.

I’ll never forget the day Anthony – then a photo lab associate – told me he had a crush on a girl working in the shoe department. So, after talking with Heather’s mom, who also worked at the store, I decided to take a spin by to meet her. We struck up a conversation – and I may or may not have urged her to check out the young man in the photo lab. Several years later, Anthony and Heather are happily married Walmart associates, with two beautiful children.

It really doesn't get any better than that. From day one, Walmart has provided my family and I with much more than jobs. It’s where we’ve found opportunities to grow individually and together. It’s where we continue to make memories we wouldn't trade for anything.

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The Family Tree That Flourished at Walmart http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20160510/the-family-tree-that-flourished-at-walmart hen I applied for a part-time job at Walmart 22 years ago, it was to earn a little extra money for the holidays. It really was as simple as that – or so I thought.I quickly came to love the people I was surrounded by. Walmart was new to California at the time, so I didn't know a lot about the… Tue, 10 May 2016 11:23:47 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20160510/the-family-tree-that-flourished-at-walmart 2016-05-10T11:23:47Z

The Family Tree That Flourished at Walmart

Opportunity

CEO, QRS Recycling

hen I applied for a part-time job at Walmart 22 years ago, it was to earn a little extra money for the holidays. It really was as simple as that – or so I thought.

I quickly came to love the people I was surrounded by. Walmart was new to California at the time, so I didn't know a lot about the company. But what I did know was that the people I worked with at my store in Anaheim made it fun. They were like family and that mattered to me.

What began as an opportunity to earn a few extra bucks during the holidays immediately became a full-time job. As I continued to grow my career, my kids grew up with Walmart. They would always stop by after school, so everyone got to know them. The store manager even nicknamed my son, Anthony, the “Tuna Helper,” because he once vowed to help us sell every box of Tuna Helper on the shelves.

Fast-forward more than two decades, and Anthony has gone from Tuna Helper to holding the keys of a supercenter in Irvine. My heart swelled late last year, when Anthony was named manager of his very own store, because he has lived and breathed Walmart since he was a kid. He began as a photo lab associate while attending college and – after a few years away from the company – returned to serve as department manager, assistant manager, co-manager and more at a variety of stores.

But Anthony’s success is just the beginning of our family’s story.

When my brother-in-law lost his job of 30 years, he became a hardware department manager at a supercenter in La Habra. My daughter works as a pharmacy tech in La Habra, and my youngest, Aerin, could very well follow in our footsteps. Even I have to admit that all this could seem a bit made up, but the story that takes the cake is the fact Walmart set the stage for Anthony to meet his future wife and start a family of his own.

I’ll never forget the day Anthony – then a photo lab associate – told me he had a crush on a girl working in the shoe department. So, after talking with Heather’s mom, who also worked at the store, I decided to take a spin by to meet her. We struck up a conversation – and I may or may not have urged her to check out the young man in the photo lab. Several years later, Anthony and Heather are happily married Walmart associates, with two beautiful children.

It really doesn't get any better than that. From day one, Walmart has provided my family and I with much more than jobs. It’s where we’ve found opportunities to grow individually and together. It’s where we continue to make memories we wouldn't trade for anything.

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What is Seamless Shopping? Q&A with CEO Doug McMillon http://blog.walmart.com/business/20160420/what-is-seamless-shopping-q-a-with-ceo-doug-mcmillon The following conversation with Walmart CEO Doug McMillon is excerpted from our 2016 Annual Report, which was released today. Read the report.Q: We’re now living in a new period of retail disruption, largely driven by rapid technological advances, and that change is likely to accelerate even… Wed, 20 Apr 2016 21:18:04 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20160420/what-is-seamless-shopping-q-a-with-ceo-doug-mcmillon 2016-04-20T21:18:04Z

What is Seamless Shopping? Q&A with CEO Doug McMillon

Business

The following conversation with Walmart CEO Doug McMillon is excerpted from our 2016 Annual Report, which was released today. Read the report.

Q: We’re now living in a new period of retail disruption, largely driven by rapid technological advances, and that change is likely to accelerate even further. What does the future look like for Walmart?

A: Our work starts and ends with the customer. Technology has changed customer expectations. Customers used to compare us with the store down the street; now they compare us with the best online shopping experience. And beyond retail, they compare us with every business they interact with in their lives. They compare our pickup experience to the speed and friendliness of the best drive-through. They compare our checkout process to the ease of paying with an app.

Customers should be able to shop on their own terms – in a great store or club, with a quick pickup stop on the way home from work, or with items reliably arriving at the front door. And customers want to have some money left over to put toward their priorities: an experience together as a family, a special gift every once in a while, or savings for a rainy day.

Retail is not just about putting items on a shelf anymore. It’s about fighting for our customers, cutting out the hassles and advocating for them on price, too. We’re moving beyond just selling products to being the brand customers rely on to make their lives simpler and more meaningful as they save money.

Q: You’ve mentioned “seamless shopping” before. What does that mean, and how will Walmart deliver?

A: It starts with unparalleled assets that only Walmart has – our 2.3 million people; more than 11,500 retail locations; e-commerce websites and apps; and a dynamic, optimized supply chain. But it also requires new capabilities and fresh thinking.

This includes new digital tools for customers and frontline associates, as well as back-end software and platform work that benefits the entire enterprise. The use of data, algorithms, advanced forecasting capabilities – and more – is of extreme strategic significance.

We will put these pieces together in a way no one else can.

Ultimately, customers don’t care about what channel they’re shopping in, or about how we deliver them a product or service. They simply know they’re shopping with Walmart.

Q: What is Walmart already doing to make progress against this seamless shopping strategy?

A: To help our associates succeed and better serve our customers, we’ve made big changes – including investing approximately $2.7 billion over two years in higher wages, education and training to make Walmart U.S. a better place to work and shop. We’re already seeing positive results: our fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 marked six consecutive quarters of positive comps and five straight quarters of positive traffic at Walmart U.S. Everything we’re doing in omnichannel depends on customers having great interactions with us in our stores.

We're also accelerating e-commerce and technology advances globally. We expanded Online Grocery shopping to new markets, ramped up in-store and in-club pickup, fully acquired the Chinese online retailer Yihaodian, and began to add new mobile services such as Walmart Pay. We developed a technology platform that we can scale across the business. We improved our fulfillment capabilities with new centers that are helping us get orders to customers’ doors faster and more efficiently.

Q: It’s clear what these strategic investments mean for customers. How will they affect associates and the communities where Walmart operates?

A: As we work to win with our customers, we will also create a great place to work. We will create tremendous opportunities for people from all walks of life, with all kinds of skill sets and education levels. We’re striving to create a true meritocracy. No matter where you start from or what your unique and special characteristics are, you can fulfill your potential here. We believe in opportunity and that hard work, dedication and talent should be rewarded.

We will also use our size, mindset and policies and help make the world a better place. We create opportunity throughout our global supply chain – on farms and in factories, by buying more from women-owned businesses, by hiring veterans and by strengthening the retail industry workforce.

We work to be more sustainable, both in our own operations and in our supply chain. We have three big goals: creating zero waste, running on 100 percent renewable energy and selling products that sustain people and the environment. And we give back to the communities we serve – supporting American manufacturing, preparing for and responding to natural disasters and fighting hunger.

Q: What does this growth plan mean for investors?

A: We will win with a differentiated, disruptive strategy and a foundation of operational excellence. As we do, we believe shareholders will benefit by receiving above-average returns.

Although this will be another year of foundational investments, we believe we will soon be growing faster than the retail market. We are a growth company; we just happen to be a large one.

The road ahead will not always be easy, but by being customer focused, hungry, fast and accountable, we will win and have a good time doing it.

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In eCommerce Packaging, Sometimes More Equals Less http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20160418/in-ecommerce-packaging-sometimes-more-equals-less About a year ago, Walmart assembled a team from all over the company to focus on ways we could continue improving the online shopping experience. The feedback we received was tremendously helpful, but there was a surprise. An overwhelming majority of customers took it upon themselves to elaborate… Mon, 18 Apr 2016 17:26:28 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20160418/in-ecommerce-packaging-sometimes-more-equals-less 2016-04-18T17:26:28Z

In eCommerce Packaging, Sometimes More Equals Less

Sustainability

VP – eCommerce Operations and Fulfillment, Walmart

About a year ago, Walmart assembled a team from all over the company to focus on ways we could continue improving the online shopping experience. The feedback we received was tremendously helpful, but there was a surprise. An overwhelming majority of customers took it upon themselves to elaborate on an unsolicited topic: The size of our boxes.

Over and over again, our customers expressed a desire for us to reduce our packaging. That’s what they were talking about, so we immediately shifted our focus to follow their lead. And that shift has created the potential for huge results.

In the world of e-commerce, several factors have to be taken into account when reducing packaging. Because these items are being shipped great distances and handled multiple times, we must ensure the proper amount of cushion and protection. Ultimately, it’s about the product arriving at its destination undisturbed.

Through data analysis and extensive testing of potential solutions, we’ve developed a way to improve cardboard box utilization by more than 30%, without sacrificing product protection. If scaled over our entire e-commerce operation in the U.S., this effort has the potential to reduce cardboard box consumption by 7.2 million cubic feet annual, roughly enough to fill 82 Olympic-size swimming pools. It also translates into the ability to pack more products into the tractor-trailers we put on the road.

We took everything from order trends and history, to the size of boxes used at our fulfillment centers, into account. We developed several new box sizes and put them to the test – first with a couple of hundred orders, then with 10,000 orders. Then we piloted the program across an entire fulfillment center and, ultimately, concluded we could maximize efficiency by expanding our assortment of box sizes from 12 to 27.

Soon, we’ll implement the program at a second e-commerce fulfillment center and, eventually, across the organization. But the key to success will be our ability to customize the program to the needs and orders of every facility. In fact, this program will have to be continuously monitored and adjusted to meet changing needs. What is achievable at one facility with an assortment of 27 boxes may require an assortment of 40 boxes at another. And we’re up to that challenge.

The bottom line is, we recognized an opportunity by listening to our customers, and we acted on it. Great things happen when you take time to listen.

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Sharing the Love for Grocery Pickup http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20160413/sharing-the-love-for-grocery-pickup Whether we’re scribbling our shopping lists on scraps of paper or keeping inventory on our phones, many of us find it challenging to add in one critical thing: finding the time to shop.  But what if you could get your grocery shopping done quickly and easily, without having to add more time or… Wed, 13 Apr 2016 04:13:29 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20160413/sharing-the-love-for-grocery-pickup 2016-04-13T04:13:29Z

Sharing the Love for Grocery Pickup

Innovation

EVP and Chief Operating Officer, Walmart Global eCommerce

Of all the activities we cram into a week – work, school, raising children – grocery shopping sometimes gets squeezed in between.

Whether we’re scribbling our shopping lists on scraps of paper or keeping inventory on our phones, many of us find it challenging to add in one critical thing: finding the time to shop.  But what if you could get your grocery shopping done quickly and easily, without having to add more time or take away from other activities that you’d rather spend your time on?  That’s precisely what we’re doing with grocery pickup, a service I wrote about last year. Saving time – and saving money – are both incredibly important to our customers and with our online grocery shopping option, we help them achieve both.

Judging from many of the reactions on social media, customers who use the service are very excited about it:

At the start of this month, we offered free grocery pickup in more than 20 markets, and we’ve continued to see more and more customers use it across the country each week. By the end of April, we’ll expand the service to eight additional new markets, and we’ll add even more locations throughout the year. Here’s where we’re going with it this month:

  • We’re launching free grocery pickup in Kansas City; Boise, Idaho; Richmond and Virginia Beach, Virginia; Austin, Texas; Provo, Utah; Daphne, Alabama; and Charleston, South Carolina.
  • We’re also doubling the number of store pickup locations in markets like Dallas, Houston and Atlanta, where this convenient service is already offered. 

Customers tell us they’re excited about online grocery because they’re putting the time they’re saving back into meaningful parts of their lives (like spending time helping their kids with homework or having a date-night with their spouse). They have the option of shopping whenever and wherever they want – adding to ongoing lists all week, or placing a quick order through our mobile app – putting them in control of the entire process, all the way down to when they pick up. Even better is that our grocery pickup service is 100% free to use. We offer the same everyday low prices found in our stores, and there are no hidden fees.

Ninety percent of our customers are repeat users, and more than 90 percent of our online baskets include fresh grocery items (dairy, produce or meat). That’s exciting because it means that our personal shoppers – associates who are carefully selected and highly trained to pick these foods as if they were choosing for their own families – must be working hard to get things right while strengthening the trust customers place in us to shop for them.

Our personal shoppers are full-time Walmart associates and fully dedicated to this service. They get to know our customers by name and learn what they like.

While grocery pickup isn’t a service our customers specifically asked us to provide, we’re hearing that for many of them, it’s a service they now can’t live without. That’s why I love my job. There’s a ton of satisfaction I take away knowing that we’re helping people by making shopping faster, easier and more convenient. And we do that only as Walmart can, by bringing together digital shopping experiences with our physical stores.

Helping customers save time and money has always been our mission and from their reaction to our service, we’re on the right path. 

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One Giant Leap for Recycling Infrastructure http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20160412/one-giant-leap-for-recycling-infrastructure Consider the fact that only 30% of post-consumer plastics ­– mainly items featuring the No. 1 and No. 2 codes stamped on products to help sort for recycling – are currently being recovered in the U.S. The vast majority of plastics featuring the No. 3 through No. 7 codes, however, are either… Tue, 12 Apr 2016 14:29:49 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20160412/one-giant-leap-for-recycling-infrastructure 2016-04-12T14:29:49Z

One Giant Leap for Recycling Infrastructure

Sustainability

CEO, QRS Recycling

Recycling in the U.S. has come a long way. More communities and companies are utilizing recycling programs than ever before and the infrastructure to support it continues to grow. But the truth of the matter is, we’re still just scratching the surface.

Consider the fact that only 30% of post-consumer plastics ­– mainly items featuring the No. 1 and No. 2 codes stamped on products to help sort for recycling – are currently being recovered in the U.S. The vast majority of plastics featuring the No. 3 through No. 7 codes, however, are either landfilled or baled for exportation. This includes such items as yogurt cups, butter tubs, flowerpots and more.

With the help of several partners, including the Closed Loop Fund – a social impact fund initiated by Walmart and other leading consumer companies to invest $100 million in low- to no-interest loans for entities seeking to develop local recycling infrastructure – QRS Recycling has taken a significant step to embrace this opportunity. CLF recently financed the final $2 million of our state-of-the-art, $11 million recycling facility in Baltimore, which began accepting materials in October.

Specifically designed to account for No. 3 through No. 7 post-consumer plastics and other materials that create hurdles for U.S. recycling efforts, this facility has the potential to serve as a model to be replicated regionally across the country. Created to serve communities within a 700-mile radius of Baltimore, the facility is the largest of its kind in the U.S., with a capacity to recover and process 4,500 tons of recyclable materials per month.

Through the purchase of mixed bales from smaller, single-stream recycling companies, we’ll recover an estimated 324,000 tons of recyclable plastic and metal in our first 10 years of operation. Through the sorting process, we’ll also gather an estimated 216,000 tons of paper, plastic film, non-recyclable plastic and other trash to produce an alternative fuel source to coal. That’s 540,000 tons processed – the equivalent of 27,000 truckloads or 9,000 railroad boxcars of material – in a single decade. And it has the potential to translate into a reduction of 600,000 to 700,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions – equal to taking 140,000 cars off the road.

We’re providing a consistent, responsible option for dealing with post-consumer plastics and other waste. The more we as a country buy into solutions like these, the quicker we build a more sustainable future for everyone. Greater recycling infrastructure produces more raw materials for the products we all need and want. It creates an opportunity to onshore more of our recovery efforts right here in the U.S., stimulating the economy, creating new manufacturing jobs, saving taxpayer dollars and so much more. We’re solving a problem rather than continuing to ship it off.

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Three Ways to Join the Fight Against Hunger http://blog.walmart.com/community/20160328/three-ways-to-help-in-the-fight-against-hunger But for 1 in 7 Americans, it’s a struggle every day, according to the USDA. Kendra, a middle school teacher, has noticed hunger among students in her own classroom. That’s one reason she helps organize occasional trips to a local food bank for them all to volunteer for a day. The other reason, she… Mon, 28 Mar 2016 12:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/community/20160328/three-ways-to-help-in-the-fight-against-hunger 2016-03-28T12:00:00Z

Three Ways to Join the Fight Against Hunger

Community

Sr. Manager, Walmart Digital Communications

Hunger isn’t always a problem we can easily see.

But for 1 in 7 Americans, it’s a struggle every day, according to the USDA.

Kendra, a middle school teacher, has noticed hunger among students in her own classroom. That’s one reason she helps organize occasional trips to a local food bank for them all to volunteer for a day.

The other reason, she says, is that they’re inspired to change the world – and she wants to show them that they can make a difference by starting in their own communities.

“That feeling of giving back and feeling good, it’s really powerful to them,” Kendra says in this video. “You see that they want that feeling again, and that’s really the coolest part.”

Today through April 25, Walmart is offering a simple way for anyone to make that same difference. Through “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.,” you can help families in need by doing any of the following:

Online Act of Support:  Share the hashtag #FightHunger on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, and Walmart will donate 90 cents, enough to help secure 10 meals through Feeding America member food banks, up to $1.5 million. You can also visit Walmart.com/FightHunger to show your support through a click.

Purchase Participating Products: For every purchase of specially marked products both in-store and online, the manufacturer will donate enough to help you secure one meal on behalf of Feeding America member food banks.

Donate at the Register: You can make a donation to Feeding America member food banks at the checkout in any Walmart store.

As a grocer serving millions of customers in America each week, Walmart has been working to positively impact the issue of hunger in the U.S. for many years. By collaborating with our customers and five of the nation’s leading food companies – Campbell Soup Company, General Mills, Kellogg Company, the Kraft Heinz Company and PepsiCo – we hope to generate the equivalent of 75 million meals, enough to make a real difference for families who are struggling with hunger.

To participate or learn more, visit Walmart.com/FightHunger.

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Closing the Loop, from Frosting Buckets to Easter Baskets http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20160321/closing-the-loop-from-frosting-buckets-to-easter-baskets Walmart operates bakeries in the majority of its stores across the U.S., so we produce a lot of cakes and cupcakes. So many, in fact, that frosting is delivered to our stores in 3- to 5-gallon plastic buckets. And the last thing we want is for that constant stream of plastic to end up in a… Tue, 22 Mar 2016 03:19:03 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20160321/closing-the-loop-from-frosting-buckets-to-easter-baskets 2016-03-22T03:19:03Z

Closing the Loop, from Frosting Buckets to Easter Baskets

Sustainability

Senior Manager – Reverse Logistics, Walmart

When your job is helping a company find ways to achieve zero waste across its global operations, you have to look beyond the obvious for opportunities. Who knew that this year, a plastic Easter basket could be one?

Walmart operates bakeries in the majority of its stores across the U.S., so we produce a lot of cakes and cupcakes. So many, in fact, that frosting is delivered to our stores in 3- to 5-gallon plastic buckets. And the last thing we want is for that constant stream of plastic to end up in a landfill, so we started looking for ways to turn something that was once thought of as trash into a valuable commodity.

This year, Olivet International stepped to the plate, helping us turn 119,000 pounds of resin – derived 100% from our empty frosting buckets – into a line of plastic Easter baskets that recently debuted in our stores. In creating them, we found a way to introduce those empty buckets back into the manufacturing stream, while also lowering the retail price of these Easter baskets to just 88 cents.

While this represents a huge win, the best news is that it didn't just start with Easter 2016. Over the past several years, we’ve worked to change the specifications of our frosting buckets to make them as recycle-friendly as possible. As a result, we’re working with suppliers to turn this steady stream of post-consumer resin into 2.5 million plastic pet bowls annually, plastic liners for 4 million soft-sided coolers annually and more.

The opportunities aren’t just tied to our frosting buckets. We already use discarded hangers from our apparel department to manufacture the Mainstays packs of plastic hangers sold in our home department. We’ve gone from contracting with recycling companies to purchase the by-product generated in our stores, to creating solutions directly with suppliers. In doing so, we’re finding opportunities to re-engineer the ways products are made in the first place, making it easier to close the loop on the back end.

I’m proud to work for a company that’s helping create solutions for a better tomorrow. These solutions are good for people, planet – and business.

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One Year Later: How Walmart Has Invested in People http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20160321/one-year-later-how-walmart-has-invested-in-people A little more than year ago, our CEO Doug McMillon shared the exciting news that we’re doing even more to invest in our people. As we head into the second year of our $2.7 billion investment in higher wages, training and education, we’ve made a lot of progress, and I’m pleased to share this update.… Mon, 21 Mar 2016 23:09:56 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20160321/one-year-later-how-walmart-has-invested-in-people 2016-03-21T23:09:56Z

One Year Later: How Walmart Has Invested in People

Opportunity

EVP – Corporate Affairs, Walmart

A little more than year ago, our CEO Doug McMillon shared the exciting news that we’re doing even more to invest in our people. As we head into the second year of our $2.7 billion investment in higher wages, training and education, we’ve made a lot of progress, and I’m pleased to share this update.

Developing our people and creating opportunities for long-term career success is truly one of the most important things we do. And we know that if we take care of our associates, they’ll take care of our customers. As our people grow and succeed, so does Walmart.

In fact, on Friday we launched the third of 200 planned Walmart training academies. Over two weeks, department managers and hourly supervisors will participate in immersive training in the classroom and on the sales floor, which will further develop their skills to run great departments, lead people and deliver a top-notch customer experience.  We’ll be rolling these out across the U.S. this year.

Check out the highlights below on several other ways we’ve invested in people over the past year.

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Meet the New Voices of Walmart Radio http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20160331/meet-the-new-voices-of-walmart-radio The votes are in, and Walmart Radio has not one, but two new DJs!Help us congratulate Bo Woloszyn, field project manager from Meadville, Pennsylvania, and Antonio Williams, co-manager at store 3777 in Frisco, Texas. Both of them rose to the top of nearly 500 video entries in our recent… Sun, 20 Mar 2016 15:23:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20160331/meet-the-new-voices-of-walmart-radio 2016-03-20T15:23:00Z

Meet the New Voices of Walmart Radio

Opportunity

Marketing Manager – Walmart Radio

The votes are in, and Walmart Radio has not one, but two new DJs!

Help us congratulate Bo Woloszyn, field project manager from Meadville, Pennsylvania, and Antonio Williams, co-manager at store 3777 in Frisco, Texas. Both of them rose to the top of nearly 500 video entries in our recent nationwide search.

These two are such a truly dynamic pairing that the prospect of bringing both of them in to carry our newly re-launched radio channel was too great to ignore. Each is a fantastic complement to the other, and we can’t wait to get them on the air broadcasting to customers and associates throughout our U.S. stores.

Bo and Antonio will lead a live, four-hour morning show each weekday. You can expect to hear their voices on the airwaves in stores nationwide by June.

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Collaborating to Crack U.S. Food Waste http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20160318/collaborating-to-crack-us-food-waste Until recently, regulations wouldn’t allow grocers to consolidate cartons if one or more eggs were broken — so the entire carton would end up in the trash. Walmart was concerned about this waste and did not want to compromise food safety, so we worked with regulators to establish a simple, safe… Fri, 18 Mar 2016 16:59:19 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20160318/collaborating-to-crack-us-food-waste 2016-03-18T16:59:19Z

Collaborating to Crack U.S. Food Waste

Sustainability

SVP – Sustainability, Walmart

Eggs are on my grocery list every week. And, like most shoppers, I open the carton to peek for broken eggs before I place it in my cart. It’s a habit I learned as a child shopping with my parents, and I do it without even thinking about it.

Until recently, regulations wouldn’t allow grocers to consolidate cartons if one or more eggs were broken — so the entire carton would end up in the trash. Walmart was concerned about this waste and did not want to compromise food safety, so we worked with regulators to establish a simple, safe process to remove only the broken eggs and consolidate the undamaged eggs into whole cartons. As a result, just last year we prevented 37 million eggs from being thrown away. This has been a team effort and is working well thanks to the leadership of Roger Snelgrove, Adam Bradley and Dan Engdahl from Walmart’s merchant team, and the continued stewardship of Walmart egg buyer Zach Aho, and waste and recycling manager Kate Worley.

Reducing waste is a priority for Walmart, and food waste is an important area of focus. In the U.S., more than one-third of edible food ends up discarded. Food loss occurs at all points throughout the supply chain from the farm to your table, and it takes a collective effort to reduce the amount of food wasted. As the world’s largest grocer, Walmart is doing its part to affect change.

Working toward our corporate sustainability goal of zero waste, we have made changes in our own operations and have influenced changes in our supply chain. In the U.S., Walmart has diverted just over 82% of the materials that flow through our facilities.

We’ve been able to reduce food waste in our operations by doing things like consolidating egg lots or diverting peaches that do not meet Walmart’s specs for the produce bins to suppliers that make jams and jellies. We also work with several organizations to recycle our inedible food waste into animal feed, compost or energy through anaerobic digestion.

If more retailers and food suppliers take similar steps, we can make a dent in overall food waste. That’s why we, along with Sodexho and Feeding America, have been working with ReFED, a collaboration of more than 30 business, nonprofit and government leaders committed to reducing U.S. food waste by up to 50% by 2030. ReFED recently released the Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste, the first-ever national economic study of food waste to provide a guide for action. Retailers and food companies can take steps to improve inventory management and prevent spoilage throughout the supply chain. The first step is to start tracking and measuring waste because you have to know where you stand before you can map your plan for reduction.

We learned that lesson with eggs and have applied it to many other food items. So, the next time you’re picking up eggs at Walmart, know that you’re an important part of the cycle to help reduce food waste, which saves money and reduces environmental impact. And we thank you for your contributions!

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A TV Host with an Associate Passion http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20160314/a-tv-host-with-an-associate-passion It helps to have a friendly face show you the ropes and offer support as you settle into your new job. At Walmart, we provide that support through Welcome to Walmart, an orientation program hosted by associates who are interested in the company and love helping others. That’s where I come in. With… Mon, 14 Mar 2016 15:01:04 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20160314/a-tv-host-with-an-associate-passion 2016-03-14T15:01:04Z

A TV Host with an Associate Passion

Opportunity

Sr. Business Development Manager, Walmart Services

Imagine your first day of work at a brand new company. You probably didn’t know where anything was, or who could answer certain questions. Now, imagine that first day being at the world’s largest retailer. That’s quite a bit to take in.

It helps to have a friendly face show you the ropes and offer support as you settle into your new job. At Walmart, we provide that support through Welcome to Walmart, an orientation program hosted by associates who are interested in the company and love helping others.

That’s where I come in. With the last name Peoples, it’s kind of fitting that people are my passion – especially when they’re my coworkers. I’ve been a culture ambassador for Welcome to Walmart for two years now (and a Walmart associate for four and a half). I feel like I’m giving back, but it also gives me an opportunity to meet people who may someday represent the future of the company.

Being an ambassador isn’t my full-time job or my only volunteer project. My actual role is senior business development manager in the Walmart services division. That’s a fancy way of saying that I get to work on projects like Walmart Pay, Walmart MoneyCenter and front-of-store services like salons and restaurants. Most recently, I’ve also been volunteering as co-host of the Walmart Today associate show.

When I heard that an associate-focused series was in the works – I wanted to be part of it. I had hosted a few large meetings in the past, but nothing to the scale of an actual broadcast production. It seemed like a great match for my experience and passion, so I decided to audition. I was thrilled to be chosen as one of the hosts.

You may have noticed that the name of the show is the same as this blog. That was on purpose. The Walmart Today banner represents not only a destination for new and fresh stories from the world’s largest retailer, but also a source for understanding how what’s happening today is shaping Walmart’s future. The show was created as an expansion of this brand to touch our associates – celebrate and appreciate them – as well as keep them updated on hot topics and allow them to hear directly from our leadership.

The way I see it, the Walmart Today series is a great opportunity to reach our associates in a way we never have before. It feels great to be a part of that. I hope you’ll check it out and get to know a little more about Walmart and our associates. 

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The Drive to Showcase Alternative Career Paths http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20160310/the-drive-to-showcase-alternative-career-paths Millions of jobs across the country provide an opportunity to earn above-average salaries and benefits without a B.S. or B.A. Unfortunately, it’s often a challenge for businesses to find people with the right skills, training or interest. An estimated 5.6 million jobs – such as construction,… Fri, 11 Mar 2016 00:19:42 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20160310/the-drive-to-showcase-alternative-career-paths 2016-03-11T00:19:42Z

The Drive to Showcase Alternative Career Paths

U.S. Manufacturing

President & CEO, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Arkansas

For too long, we’ve shortchanged a lot of young people with the perception that the only way to success is through a four-year baccalaureate degree.

Millions of jobs across the country provide an opportunity to earn above-average salaries and benefits without a B.S. or B.A. Unfortunately, it’s often a challenge for businesses to find people with the right skills, training or interest.

An estimated 5.6 million jobs – such as construction, manufacturing and trucking– remain unfilled throughout the U.S. today. Arkansas, my home state, accounts for roughly 60,000 openings.

It’s clear that skilled professionals are in great demand. But what isn’t always clear is how to get the message out to young people that these jobs are ones they can be proud to pursue – or that these positions are also viable paths to long-term careers.

This week in Arkansas, we launched a new initiative that will literally drive this notion to students across the state. Through a traveling mobile workshop, “Be Pro Be Proud” will showcase jobs available today and encourage students to consider becoming skilled professionals. Targeting high school students, parents, career coaches and other adults in positions to influence the career choices of young people, the workshop places visitors into these fields, features videos for 12 careers, and incorporates a variety of simulators designed to demystify the tools used in welding, machining, diesel tech, plumbing and electrical management.

“Be Pro Be Proud,” developed and executed by the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas – in collaboration with state and federal agencies as well as Walmart and several other private entities – is a statewide effort, as skilled professionals are needed everywhere. Northwest Arkansas, for example, has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state but a high demand for skilled professionals. The businesses are there, they are in a position to grow, but they need the talent to make it happen.

The shortage of these professionals will become more acute as the existing workforce reaches retirement age in increasing numbers. It’s imperative that we prepare students and current workers for all the opportunities available to them – not only to better their own lives but to accelerate economic performance in Arkansas and across the nation.

There's nothing wrong with pursuing a four-year degree. But, equally important are the paths that don't require one, not to mention lead to higher wages at a lower cost and sometimes at a quicker pace. Through “Be Pro Be Proud,” we will direct young people to the training and resources they need to take themselves down one of many existing and fulfilling paths.

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Writing a New Future for Women in India http://blog.walmart.com/community/20160307/writing-a-new-future-for-women-in-india Supporting women-owned businesses and increasing our sourcing from women around the world isn’t only something we believe in – it’s a concrete goal. Through Walmart's Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative, we aim to train nearly 1 million women, increase Walmart's sourcing from women, and, in… Tue, 08 Mar 2016 14:43:45 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/community/20160307/writing-a-new-future-for-women-in-india 2016-03-08T14:43:45Z

Writing a New Future for Women in India

Community

Sr. Manager – Women’s Economic Empowerment, Walmart

Supporting women-owned businesses and increasing our sourcing from women around the world isn’t only something we believe in – it’s a concrete goal. Through Walmart's Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative, we aim to train nearly 1 million women, increase Walmart's sourcing from women, and, in doing so, improve the lives of underserved women.

In India, we are proud to support Luxor, a women-owned business that makes pens for our stores in India and our Walmart business around the world. Watch this video and see how executive director Pooja Jain is using her signature brand of leadership to inspire women to learn, grow their confidence, and eventually, achieve their dreams.

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An Appetite for Helping Families Eat Better http://blog.walmart.com/community/20160222/an-appetite-for-helping-families-eat-better We’re not talking rare, exotic foods. We’re talking kiwi, parsnip, pomegranate, celery root and other items you can find at most any grocery store. Then, there are the staggering number of families that talk about grabbing fast food far more often than preparing a meal at home. One family explained… Mon, 22 Feb 2016 17:37:12 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/community/20160222/an-appetite-for-helping-families-eat-better 2016-02-22T17:37:12Z

An Appetite for Helping Families Eat Better

Community

Chef and Volunteer Instructor, Cooking Matters

The eye-opening moment came when I realized nobody in the room could identify nine of the dozen fruits and vegetables I’d spread across the counter.

We’re not talking rare, exotic foods. We’re talking kiwi, parsnip, pomegranate, celery root and other items you can find at most any grocery store.

Then, there are the staggering number of families that talk about grabbing fast food far more often than preparing a meal at home. One family explained they ate from the dollar menu at a fast food restaurant 11 times per week, mainly because that was the only option they felt like they could afford with their limited budget.

That’s why thousands of chefs, like me, and others across the country serve as volunteer instructors for Cooking Matters. The six-week program – created by Share Our Strength and supported by organizations like the Walmart Foundation – teaches participants to shop smarter, make healthier choices and cook delicious, affordable meals. An integral part of the No Kid Hungry campaign, Cooking Matters has helped more than 350,000 low-income families since 1993.

I graduated from cooking school at 19. I’ve worked everywhere from 300-seat steakhouses and catering companies to leading prepared food services for Foodie’s Urban Markets in the Boston metropolitan area. I can remember growing up cooking with my mom. We weren’t preparing elaborate, gourmet meals, but it's what sparked my love for cooking. So nothing compares to the feeling I get when I see that light go on for families through Cooking Matters.

The amenities I have to work with vary from class to class. I’ve been in church kitchens, YMCAs, school cafeterias, Boys & Girls Clubs, even a health center in downtown Boston. And the participants range from moms, dads and grandparents to kids, teens and caregivers. What I’ve learned is that a lot of people – regardless of age – don't realize things can be tasty, healthy and affordable at the same time. By taking the time to show them the basics, it can have a profound and lasting impact on their lives.

While the participants continue to gain confidence, having the opportunity to work with them also gives me a great sense of satisfaction. It has opened my eyes to the real challenges people face every day. Single parents trying to work and support their children. So many people wonder where their next meal will come from. Not everyone has had the luxury of growing up cooking alongside mom or dad, so they need someone to help.

We talk a lot about working more whole grain items into our diets and the benefits of brown rice over white rice. We get very hands on, learning how to make a healthier macaroni and cheese, turning popular traditional dishes into great salads, and creative ways to make the most of leftovers. And it’s amazing when we walk into a grocery store and challenge participants to round up everything they need to prepare a great family dinner – using only a $10 gift card. When they realize it really can be done, it’s a transforming moment.

I’ve always had a passion for creating with food. Through Cooking Matters, I’m able to use that passion to help people live healthier lives. 
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Why LED Bulbs Are Stealing the Spotlight http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20160217/why-led-bulbs-are-stealing-the-spotlight The switch to LEDs directly links to one of Walmart’s sustainability goals: sell products that sustain people and the environment. Our priority is always to provide our customers with the best shopping experience possible while minimizing our impact on the environment. With that in mind, we have… Wed, 17 Feb 2016 23:30:32 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20160217/why-led-bulbs-are-stealing-the-spotlight 2016-02-17T23:30:32Z

Why LED Bulbs Are Stealing the Spotlight

Sustainability

SVP – Sustainability, Walmart

This year, you’ll notice a change in the lighting aisle: we’re phasing out CFL bulbs and shifting to LEDs.

The switch to LEDs directly links to one of Walmart’s sustainability goals: sell products that sustain people and the environment. Our priority is always to provide our customers with the best shopping experience possible while minimizing our impact on the environment. With that in mind, we have worked closely with our suppliers to make LED bulbs more accessible and affordable for our customers, so you don’t have to choose between a product’s sustainability and affordability.

GE has embraced this commitment, too, and recently announced that they will discontinue manufacturing CFL bulbs in the U.S., and focus consumer lighting efforts on the LED bulb. This February, GE created an advertising campaign to share how they’re “breaking up” with CFL because they fell in love with LED. Walmart has grown fond of LED too.

LED prices have come down dramatically over the past five years to be comparable with CFL bulbs. In addition, LEDs outperform CFL bulbs when it comes to features such as instant brightness, light quality and the ability to dim.

As LED bulbs grow more accessible, more customers are making the switch.

In turn, customers are enjoying more energy-efficient and longer-lasting bulbs – and, as a result, are saving money. 

We’re excited to provide this option for our customers, because we know from our own experience how LEDs can impact the bottom line. Walmart is one of the early adopters of LED in retail. We pioneered the use of LED signage in 2003, worked with GE to rollout LED freezer case lighting in 2005, and began installing LED parking lot lights in 2008.

Our freezer case lighting alone has reduced energy consumption by 70%, and LED has become the industry standard across the grocery industry today. LEDs have become the standard in Walmart facilities around the world, as well. For example:

  • In 2009, we retrofitted our Puerto Rico and Central America store parking lots with LED lighting. To date, Walmart has converted parking lot lighting at 350 stores in Central America to LED, and LED parking lot lights are now part of our store prototypes in nearly all global markets.
  • In 2011, we opened a Neighborhood Market in Wichita, Kansas, and a store in Acapulco, Mexico, with 100% LED sales floor lighting.
  • In 2013, we opened the first all-LED lit store in South Euclid, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland, serving as a model and pilot for future 100% LED-lit stores.
  • All-LED GE ceiling lighting fixture installations kicked off in April 2014 at Asda, Walmart’s business in the U.K.

Our use of energy efficient technology and LED lighting throughout our operations and our supply chain results in lower operational costs. All of these savings go back to you, our customers, and enable Walmart to offer the everyday low prices that you expect.

We’ll continue to bring new products into stores to help customers realize savings in their homes, as well. We believe a business should strive for not just the lowest prices, but the lowest true cost for all, because low true costs —savings in both money and environmental impact – benefit everyone.

Editor’s note: Laura Phillips recently discussed this same topic in an interview with GE Reports, which you can read here.

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How GEDWorks Boosted My Career and Earning Potential http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20160216/how-gedworks-boosted-my-career-and-earning-potential It was always something in the back of my mind. So the fact that I acted on it and now have my GED certificate is a huge weight off my shoulders. And new doors are already opening. I’ve always enjoyed learning, but I never felt comfortable in the traditional classroom setting. I dropped out during… Tue, 16 Feb 2016 21:54:24 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20160216/how-gedworks-boosted-my-career-and-earning-potential 2016-02-16T21:54:24Z

How GEDWorks Boosted My Career and Earning Potential

Opportunity

Department Manager, Walmart #941

It was always something in the back of my mind. So the fact that I acted on it and now have my GED certificate is a huge weight off my shoulders. And new doors are already opening.

I’ve always enjoyed learning, but I never felt comfortable in the traditional classroom setting. I dropped out during my junior year of high school and tried an online school program, but didn’t finish. Around that same time, I moved from California to Florida and started working at the Walmart store in Lakeland. I enjoyed the people I was working with and felt like I was making a difference. 

Last year, I came across some information about the new GEDWorks program, where Walmart was offering associates, like me, an opportunity to earn their high school equivalency. There was no out-of-pocket cost and a personal advisor was assigned to help guide me. There was also a rewards program for milestones achieved along the way.

I'd always intended to go back and earn my diploma or high school equivalency, but this new program made doing it an easy decision. Don't get me wrong, I had to put in the work. But a handful of months later, that hard work earned me a GED certificate.

At first, it provided a sense of pride because, at age 21, I had something on paper that proved I could do it. The skills I gained immediately opened new doors. First, I earned a promotion to bakery department manager, where I have added responsibility and I’m earning more money.

A year ago, I wasn’t even thinking about college. But I have that opportunity now. After several months in my new supervisor position, I can earn free college credits for my in-store experience. And I can use those credits to get a jump on my college degree, while continuing to work. Through partnerships with accredited colleges and universities, Walmart offers online and traditional higher education opportunities for associates. That’s something I’m already taking a serious look at.

I feel like I’ve found my place and that I’m going somewhere. I can see myself as a co-manager or store manager some day. I’ve always had the support. Now I have the confidence.

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This Store is Helping Reimagine the Supercenter http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20160212/this-store-is-helping-reimagine-the-supercenter Last year, supercenter #5260 in Rogers, Arkansas, got a facelift. Added into the refreshed look were several new approaches to technologies, services, products and layouts, which are currently being tested with customers. Early reports are positive, but it’s too soon to tell what’s working and what… Fri, 12 Feb 2016 14:55:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20160212/this-store-is-helping-reimagine-the-supercenter 2016-02-12T14:55:00Z

This Store is Helping Reimagine the Supercenter

Innovation

Last year, supercenter #5260 in Rogers, Arkansas, got a facelift. Added into the refreshed look were several new approaches to technologies, services, products and layouts, which are currently being tested with customers. Early reports are positive, but it’s too soon to tell what’s working and what isn’t. What’s clear: Things that seem straightforward could show up in new stores or remodels. Store 5260 is simply the first step toward the supercenter of the future, but it’s critical to informing upcoming tests.

Room to Play: The electronics and entertainment areas have a sleek, modern look that customers say feels very welcoming and on-trend. “One of the things that we noticed early on as people walk by electronics is that they stop and look, and then they get drawn in," said Sherry Curtis-Swenson, the store’s manager.

A New Angle on Fresh: A reorganization (along with improved sight lines and angled aisles) puts berries — a growing category — in the front of the department. Bananas, already a huge draw, are toward the back to help lead customers through. Purple signage in Fresh and throughout the store connects to an increase in organic products.

Car Care, Customer Care: Along with new digital menu boards and signage in automotive, there’s a comfortable customer waiting area — furnished with items from Walmart.com. Customers can watch TV, enjoy a coffee, charge their phones, and see their cars being serviced.

Pickup, Up Front: In-Store Pickup and Walmart Services share space up front at Store 5260. It’s clearly marked so customers can find it and get their orders quickly.

Check Out Your Way: There are multiple options for checkout. Scan & Go supplies a wand so customers can scan items as they’re shopping. Hybrid registers can be self-service or manned by associates, depending on the need. And high-velocity checkouts — where a cashier scans items while the customer moves through the line to pay — are more than three times faster than conventional checkouts.

One-Stop Baby Shop: The new baby department combines it all in one space. There’s even a stroller garage for hands-on tryouts. “Customers love being able to move the strollers around,” Sherry said.

Local Eats: A local food truck operator, Big Rub BBQ, has restaurant space in the store, with lots of glass and natural light — and even seating on an outdoor patio! 

Editor’s note: A version of this story originally appeared in Walmart World, the magazine for Walmart associates.

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Hello, Nicaragua! Welcoming Walmart to Managua http://blog.walmart.com/business/20160210/hello-nicaragua-welcoming-walmart-to-managua My team ended 2015 in a big way. After months of hard work, we opened the first Walmart store in Nicaragua, offering our everyday low prices on a wide assortment of 40,000 products – a very significant value proposition for the Nicaraguan market. We know this to be true because people are welcoming… Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:28:14 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20160210/hello-nicaragua-welcoming-walmart-to-managua 2016-02-10T21:28:14Z

Hello, Nicaragua! Welcoming Walmart to Managua

Business

SVP and COO, Walmart Central America

My team ended 2015 in a big way. After months of hard work, we opened the first Walmart store in Nicaragua, offering our everyday low prices on a wide assortment of 40,000 products – a very significant value proposition for the Nicaraguan market. We know this to be true because people are welcoming us with open arms.

The day we opened, literally hundreds of enthusiastic people attended the grand opening of our supercenter in Managua, ready to save money on everything from clothes, electronics and paint to toys, appliances and groceries. Watching the excitement and knowing that this store is making a difference for these people reminded me once again of our mission to help people live better by simply paying less for the things they need.

This is a $17 million investment in a modern, comfortable store of 5,890 square meters (over 63,000 square feet) that created 150 direct jobs (the associates that will work in the supercenter) and 1,575 estimated indirect jobs (jobs as a result of the supercenter such as cleaning crews and suppliers). And, because we strongly encourage the growth of local businesses, a great majority of our assortment comes from small and medium-sized Nicaraguan suppliers.   

Walmart operates 87 stores in Nicaragua under other formats like Palí (discount), Maxi Palí (warehouse) and La Union (supermarket), but this is the first Walmart-branded location. We are now offering the distinctive standard of service, price and assortment through our iconic Walmart supercenter. And the excitement we’ve seen is definitely our major reward. 

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The Dish on Gumbaya: A Foodie Follows a Dream http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20160209/the-dish-on-gumbaya-a-foodie-follows-a-dream When I moved from Michigan to Myrtle Beach, S.C., five years ago, it marked a new beginning for me. I was stepping away from 20 years in the insurance business, into a warmer climate and yearning to return to my culinary roots. When I was growing up, my family owned a food processing plant. I was… Tue, 09 Feb 2016 16:15:05 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20160209/the-dish-on-gumbaya-a-foodie-follows-a-dream 2016-02-09T16:15:05Z

The Dish on Gumbaya: A Foodie Follows a Dream

U.S. Manufacturing

Chief Operating Officer – Carolina Gumbaya

When I moved from Michigan to Myrtle Beach, S.C., five years ago, it marked a new beginning for me. I was stepping away from 20 years in the insurance business, into a warmer climate and yearning to return to my culinary roots.

When I was growing up, my family owned a food processing plant. I was running a restaurant up north by the time I was 19. I’ve always been curious about flavors and what’s out there. Whenever I travel, I’m that guy who only eats local cuisine. And when I began digging into my new surroundings, I discovered the history of gumbo in the U.S. – which people naturally associate with Louisiana – can actually be traced back to South Carolina in the 1600s.

The first recipe I developed when I set foot in Myrtle Beach was my own gumbo. There were so many beautiful ingredients down here – fresh shrimp, whitefish, Andouille sausage, okra – and when I dipped my spoon into that first bowl, I had a moment. I thought, “This is it. I’ve really got something here.”

I knew this was a recipe that would make South Carolina proud. My gumbo immediately started winning people over at local farmers markets and festivals. I looked into opportunities to get my product on the market, from selling to local restaurants to partnering with a delivery service in the area. But the day the district manager at our local Walmart gave me 15 minutes of his time – that was the day everything changed.

That was Dec. 17, 2013. When I walked out 45 minutes later, it was with the understanding we had a deal. By May 2015, my Carolina Gumbaya was being sold in the frozen section of 17 Walmart stores in South Carolina. Today, that’s grown to 137 Walmart stores in five states, including Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

It really has been an amazing experience, to see so many people embrace this recipe I created in the kitchen of my own home. But when people ask me if it has taken me by surprise, I have to tell them, “Honestly, no.”

Frozen food has come a long way in recent years. Carolina Gumbaya – a name drawn from the words gumbo and jambalaya – isn’t packed with fillers and preservatives. The label doesn’t have words you can’t pronounce. There are 12 whole, wild-caught shrimp in every one-quart container. And the blonde roux I developed, along with my secret spices, are a few of the differentiating factors.

Turn on any food channel or open a food publication and you’re going to hear about the flavor of the South. It’s the South’s time to shine on the culinary stage – so products like mine have an opportunity to spread across the country. Along the way, Walmart’s commitment to domestic manufacturing is opening the door for small entrepreneurs like my business partner, Laura Spencer, and me. Products like Carolina Gumbaya are helping create jobs at growing U.S.-based companies like Duke Food Productions, the company who helps produce our product. These kinds of stories are a win-win for everyone. And we’re just getting started.

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From Lanterns to Lions, Ringing in Chinese New Year http://blog.walmart.com/life/20160205/from-lanterns-to-lions-ringing-in-chinese-new-year Feb. 8 marks the start of Chinese New Year, China’s most important celebration for families. Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is a weeklong public holiday during which families celebrate a year of hard work and wish for good luck in the coming year. Those shopping in our stores… Fri, 05 Feb 2016 21:38:52 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20160205/from-lanterns-to-lions-ringing-in-chinese-new-year 2016-02-05T21:38:52Z

From Lanterns to Lions, Ringing in Chinese New Year

Life

Vice President, Walmart China

Feb. 8 marks the start of Chinese New Year, China’s most important celebration for families. Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is a weeklong public holiday during which families celebrate a year of hard work and wish for good luck in the coming year.

Those shopping in our stores in China see lots of Chinese New Year decorations and traditional foods stocked for this busy time. For readers who aren’t in China, here’s some background on the celebrations.

Traditional Family Meals

Before the first day of the first month in the lunar calendar, people all over China travel to their hometowns to unite with their families and decorate their homes in red — a color that symbolizes good luck and joy — and prepare for Chinese New Year celebrations. The night before the Chinese New Year, we prepare a feast made up of symbolic foods:

  • In Chinese culture, a fish course represents wealth in the future, while peanuts signify longevity and good health.
  • Some food symbolism in Chinese New Year dishes is more visual, such as hot pot, which involves simmering meat and vegetables in a round pot at the center of the table. The shape of the pot represents perfection and satisfaction.
  • Dumplings are an example of a food with a more historical tie because they resemble the gold currency — Yuanbao — used in ancient China. Today, dumplings are still thought to signify wealth in the coming year and are a delicious treat stuffed with different fillings.

Celebrations

Like with New Year’s Eve in the U.S. and other western countries, Chinese New Year involves staying up late. We light firecrackers at midnight, a tradition that dates back to ancient folklore. Though the New Year is a cause for celebration now, legend has it that Chinese villagers used to stoke their fires with bamboo to keep away a terrifying, sharp-toothed monster that arose from the sea at the end of the lunar year to prey on people and livestock. Now, we use firecrackers to celebrate the new year and also scare off any bad luck that might be on the horizon.

Celebrations culminate in the Lantern Festival, where people gather to admire the illuminated lanterns (some floating, some carried by children, some fixed as decorations) and guess riddles written on them. On New Year’s Day, people also watch lion dances, in which participants don elaborate, mythical lion costumes that seem larger than life — and eat rice dumplings.

One of our family traditions is for children and grandchildren to wish elders in the family good wishes for the new year and, in turn, the elders will give children a red envelope of money for good luck and to buy toys and books.  Children often sleep with the red envelope under the pillow to bring good luck throughout the year.

The Year of the Monkey

This year is the year of the monkey, the ninth of 12 animals in the recurring 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle. People born in the year of the monkey are believed to be energetic, witty and mischievous. I look forward to greeting the year of the monkey surrounded by my family and enjoying the snacks and festivities that come with the celebrations. No matter your Chinese zodiac, may the New Year bring good fortune to you and your family!

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How One Small Business Entered Success Mode http://blog.walmart.com/community/20160122/how-one-small-business-entered-success-mode Ciara knew other moms-to-be were having a similar problem, so she decided to turn that challenge into a business opportunity. Although she didn’t have any retail experience, Ciara and her husband, Jim, followed their entrepreneurial spirit and opened a high-end maternity store, Mama Mia, in 2006.A… Fri, 22 Jan 2016 19:21:47 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/community/20160122/how-one-small-business-entered-success-mode 2016-01-22T19:21:47Z

How One Small Business Entered Success Mode

Community

Sr. Manager, The Walmart Foundation – Sam’s Club Giving Program

When Ciara Stockeland, a mother of two children, couldn’t find stylish maternity wear in her hometown of Fargo, North Dakota, she found herself driving several hours to Minneapolis to get it.

Ciara knew other moms-to-be were having a similar problem, so she decided to turn that challenge into a business opportunity. Although she didn’t have any retail experience, Ciara and her husband, Jim, followed their entrepreneurial spirit and opened a high-end maternity store, Mama Mia, in 2006.

A year later, the success of Mama Mia led to another opportunity when Jim and Ciara were approached by a company storing a large quantity of designer overstock merchandise that needed to be liquidated. In February 2007, Jim and Ciara took that product and opened a second retail store next door to Mama Mia, calling it MODE. Word spread quickly that MODE carried designer products at discounted prices, and business boomed. Ciara and Jim decided to merge the two concepts, and created a designer outlet store in a boutique environment.

With plenty of tenacity and hard work, they made MODE a success. After five years, they turned MODE into a franchise, and it grew from one location to 11 across the Midwest and in South Carolina.

Their growth and success has not slowed down. In fact, MODE was named one of 102 winners of a national contest, the 2015 American Small Business Championship. The company was awarded accelerated training and access to a mentor from SCORE, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting small business, and resources from Sam’s Club. MODE also received the 2015 SCORE Awards Outstanding Franchise Small Business Award.

Through mentoring from SCORE and resources from Sam’s Club, the Stockelands took MODE to the next level. MODE’s Chief Operations Officer has worked closely with a SCORE mentor to learn key best practices when growing a business, and recently made technology updates to allow for more efficient communication with franchisees.

Ciara has learned valuable small business lessons over the past decade and is spreading her knowledge to others. “At MODE, I believe that with each franchisee I am given the opportunity to develop a leader,” she said. “We mentor, train and work with our franchisees to create a successful business in their community. We want them to grow their leadership skills so that they too can give back to other entrepreneurs.”

MODE continues to take big steps to achieve small business success. If you own a small business and are ready for growth, check out the 2016 American Small Business Championship. Now through Feb. 12, you can enter and share your story at www.score.org/championship. Two small businesses per state will win training from SCORE, a $1,000 Sam’s Club Gift Card, publicity, a chance to be the grand prize winner of $25,000 and more.

The American Small Business Championship is open to any small business, and is just one of several ways Sam’s Club and the Sam’s Club Giving Program are helping small business owners access capital and training to grow and succeed. 

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In the News: Comparing Online Grocery Services http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20151208/in-the-news-comparing-online-grocery-services What if restocking your pantry was as easy as shopping online? For Walmart customers in several markets across the U.S., it can be. In Denver in particular, we offer grocery delivery as well as in-store pickup, and customers can shop from an assortment with the same prices as their local Walmart… Wed, 09 Dec 2015 03:05:03 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20151208/in-the-news-comparing-online-grocery-services 2015-12-09T03:05:03Z

In the News: Comparing Online Grocery Services

Innovation

Sr. Director of Field eCommerce – Online Grocery, Walmart

What if restocking your pantry was as easy as shopping online? For Walmart customers in several markets across the U.S., it can be. In Denver in particular, we offer grocery delivery as well as in-store pickup, and customers can shop from an assortment with the same prices as their local Walmart stores. 

As an associate supporting pickup and delivery services in the Western half of the U.S., I’m excited to see how customers respond to these new options that save them time and money. But don’t just take my word for it – check out this recent story from a Denver 7NEWS reporter, who compared Walmart’s grocery delivery service with others available in the area.

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2 Dreams, 2 Degrees, and 1 Unconventional Path http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20150930/two-dreams-two-degrees-and-one-unconventional-path “I’ll never forget the day Joey came to me and said, ‘Mom, I’m going to go to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,’” Lisa said. “He was only 11 years old when he told me, but his mind was made up. I wanted to help make it happen but, as a single mother, I honestly didn't know where the… Wed, 25 Nov 2015 19:08:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20150930/two-dreams-two-degrees-and-one-unconventional-path 2015-11-25T19:08:00Z

2 Dreams, 2 Degrees, and 1 Unconventional Path

Opportunity

Coordinator, Walmart Foundation

Like most moms, Lisa Moore has always bent over backward to put her son Joseph “Joey” Moore in a position to make his dreams come true. But there was one such dream that weighed especially heavy on her.

“I’ll never forget the day Joey came to me and said, ‘Mom, I’m going to go to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,’” Lisa said. “He was only 11 years old when he told me, but his mind was made up. I wanted to help make it happen but, as a single mother, I honestly didn't know where the money was going to come from.”

When Joey neared the end of high school, Lisa’s manager at the Walmart store in Mooresville, N.C. where she worked turned her onto the Associate and Dependent Scholarship Programs offered by the Walmart Foundation. Not only could associates like Lisa apply for scholarship assistance, but so could their high school senior dependents.

That was 2007.  Joey applied for and received a scholarship, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  And he’s used his chemistry degree to springboard into a successful career with Henkel Corporation.

But that isn't where the story ends with the Moore family.

“It wasn’t long before Joey started telling me I could do the same thing – that it's never too late to go to college,” said Lisa, 52. “A light came on inside me.”

Already a pastor at Scott’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Statesville, N.C., Lisa recently decided to apply to the Associate Scholarship Program to help finance her enrollment at Hood Theological Seminary School. She, like her son, was awarded a scholarship and is on track to graduate in 2018 with her Masters of Divinity degree. At that point, she plans to focus her efforts full time on the church, pursuing her dream of becoming an elder and possibly even a chaplain.

And she has quite the cheering section behind her.

“There are so many people lifting me up and cheering me on,” Lisa said. That’s why I’ve been with Walmart for 16 years. My job at Walmart has helped put a roof over my head and raise my son, and now it has [helped to support] both of our college educations.

“When I enrolled in seminary, Walmart allowed me to cut back some of my hours to concentrate on school,” she said. “Walmart has always been flexible with my schedule, no matter what was happening in my life and I’m so thankful for that. I’m the biggest cheerleader for this company, not just because of the scholarship program, but because of how it has looked out for me and my family.”

For more than three decades, the Walmart Foundation has made resources available to help U.S. associates and their high school senior dependents fulfill their educational goals through scholarships. More information is available here. 

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Finding Meaning After the Marine Corps: Larry’s Story http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20151112/finding-meaning-after-the-marine-corps-larrys-story Shifting from soldier to civilian comes with challenges, and there’s probably no better person to help veterans find their way than someone who’s been down that road themselves. Larry Briar started his career in retail after more than 20 years in the Marine Corps. Now, he uses his military skills… Thu, 12 Nov 2015 22:51:38 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20151112/finding-meaning-after-the-marine-corps-larrys-story 2015-11-12T22:51:38Z

Finding Meaning After the Marine Corps: Larry’s Story

Opportunity

Walmart Digital Communications

Shifting from soldier to civilian comes with challenges, and there’s probably no better person to help veterans find their way than someone who’s been down that road themselves.

Larry Briar started his career in retail after more than 20 years in the Marine Corps. Now, he uses his military skills to not only manage in a Walmart distribution center, but also to mentor and motivate other associates.

But his desire to give back doesn’t stop there. He also uses his personal time to provide for families in need.

Watch Larry explain why his post-military work is a perfect fit for him, see how he is continuing a life of service, and learn how and why he plans to help Walmart reach its goal of hiring 250,000 veterans by 2020.

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The Bazaar of Bad Dreams http://blog.walmart.com/life/20151026/the-bazaar-of-bad-dreams I've made some things for you, Constant Reader; you see them laid out before you in the moonlight. But before you look at the little handcrafted treasures I have for sale, let's talk about them for a bit, shall we? It won't take long. Here, sit down beside me. And do come a little closer. I don't… Mon, 26 Oct 2015 18:30:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20151026/the-bazaar-of-bad-dreams 2015-10-26T18:30:00Z

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams

Life

I've made some things for you, Constant Reader; you see them laid out before you in the moonlight. But before you look at the little handcrafted treasures I have for sale, let's talk about them for a bit, shall we? It won't take long. Here, sit down beside me. And do come a little closer. I don't bite.

Except . . . we've known each other for a very long time, and I suspect you know that's not entirely true.

Is it?

I

You'd be surprised—at least, I think you would be—at how many people ask me why I still write short stories. The reason is pretty simple: writing them makes me happy, because I was built to entertain. I can't play the guitar very well, and I can't tap-dance at all, but I can do this. So I do.

I'm a novelist by nature, I will grant you that, and I have a particular liking for the long ones that create an immersive experience for writer and reader, where the fiction has a chance to become a world that's almost real. When a long book succeeds, the writer and reader are not just having an affair; they are married. When I get a letter from a reader who says he or she was sorry when The Stand or 11/22/63 came to an end, I feel that book has been a success.

But there's something to be said for a shorter, more intense experience. It can be invigorating, sometimes even shocking, like a waltz with a stranger you will never see again, or a kiss in the dark, or a beautiful curio for sale laid out on a cheap blanket at a street bazaar. And, yes, when my stories are collected, I always feel like a street vendor, one who sells only at midnight. I spread my assortment out, inviting the reader— that's you—to come and take your pick. But I always add the proper caveat: be careful, my dear, because some of these items are dangerous. They are the ones with bad dreams hidden inside, the ones you can't stop thinking about when sleep is slow to come and you wonder why the closet door is open, when you know perfectly well that you shut it.

II

If I said I always enjoyed the strict discipline shorter works of fiction impose, I'd be lying. Short stories require a kind of acrobatic skill that takes a lot of tiresome practice. Easy reading is the product of hard writing, some teachers say, and it's true. Miscues that can be overlooked in a novel become glaringly obvious in a short story. Strict discipline is necessary. The writer has to rein in his impulse to follow certain entrancing side paths and stick to the main route.

I never feel the limitations of my talent so keenly as I do when writing short fiction. I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy, a souldeep fear that I will be unable to bridge the gap between a great idea and the realization of that idea's potential. What that comes down to, in plain English, is that the finished product never seems quite as good as the splendid idea that rose from the subconscious one day, along with the excited thought, Ah man! I gotta write this right away!

Sometimes the result is pretty good, though. And every once in awhile, the result is even better than the original concept. I love it when that happens. The real challenge is getting into the damned thing, and I believe that's why so many would-be writers with great ideas never actually pick up the pen or start tapping away at the keys. All too often, it's like trying to start a car on a cold day. At first the motor doesn't even crank, it only groans. But if you keep at it (and if the battery doesn't die), the engine starts . . . runs rough . . . and then smooths out.

There are stories here that came in a flash of inspiration ("Summer Thunder" was one of those), and had to be written at once, even if it meant interrupting work on a novel. There are others, like "Mile 81," that have waited their turn patiently for decades. Yet the strict focus needed to create a good short story is always the same. Writing novels is a little like playing baseball, where the game goes on for as long as it needs to, even if that means twenty innings. Writing short stories is more like playing basketball or football: you're competing against the clock as well as the other team.

When it comes to writing fiction, long or short, the learning curve never ends. I may be a Professional Writer to the IRS when I file my tax return, but in creative terms, I'm still an amateur, still learning my craft. We all are. Every day spent writing is a learning experience, and a battle to do something new. Phoning it in is not allowed. One cannot increase one's talent—that comes with the package—but it is possible to keep talent from shrinking. At least, I like to think so.

And hey! I still love it.

III

So here are the goods, my dear Constant Reader. Tonight I'm selling a bit of everything—a monster that looks like a car (shades of Christine), a man who can kill you by writing your obituary, an e-reader that accesses parallel worlds, and that all-time favorite, the end of the human race. I like to sell this stuff when the rest of the vendors have long since gone home, when the streets are deserted and a cold rind of moon floats over the canyons of the city. That's when I like to spread my blanket and lay out my goods.

That's enough talk. Perhaps you'd like to buy something, now, yes? Everything you see is handcrafted, and while I love each and every item, I'm happy to sell them, because I made them especially for you. Feel free to examine them, but please be careful.

The best of them have teeth.

August 6, 2014

  

 

Editor’s Note: Does this post seem Bazaar? We’re celebrating the spooky season with our biggest passion: great storytelling. Many thanks to Stephen King for sharing the foreword from his upcoming book, as well as this cool extra: exclusive audio of the man himself reading it. If you like that, check out the audio book here

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Sam’s Club Says ‘YEA!’ to Novel Ideas http://blog.walmart.com/community/20151005/sams-club-says-yea-to-novel-ideas Eight months into his business, Shreyas has revenues of $3,500 and expanded his team of one to nine salespersons in two states. Very impressive for a 14 year old. Yes, Shreyas Parab is 14 and balances his CEO demands with homework as a full-time 10th grader at Archmere Academy, where he is… Mon, 05 Oct 2015 21:04:42 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/community/20151005/sams-club-says-yea-to-novel-ideas 2015-10-05T21:04:42Z

Sam’s Club Says ‘YEA!’ to Novel Ideas

Business

Small Business Initiatives – Communications, Sam’s Club

Shreyas Parab, CEO of NovelTie, is a licensed small business owner from the suburbs of Philadelphia who is working hard to grow his novelty necktie company. He started NovelTie to “turn the occasion of having to wear a tie to the event where you get to wear your NovelTie.”

Eight months into his business, Shreyas has revenues of $3,500 and expanded his team of one to nine salespersons in two states.

Very impressive for a 14 year old. Yes, Shreyas Parab is 14 and balances his CEO demands with homework as a full-time 10th grader at Archmere Academy, where he is required to wear a uniform. Thanks to an after-school program called the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), Shreyas wrote a real business plan, launched NovelTie and found investors in just 30 weeks.

His ties are meant “for teens by teens” – his best sellers, for example, are titled “stud muffin” and “chick magnet” – and his salesmen are students at neighboring schools with similar dress codes. Soon, he’ll also have an even bigger audience: NovelTies will be available to members in his local Sam’s Club through our ShowCase Events program, a limited-time merchandising opportunity for small or new business suppliers.

As a finalist at the June 2015 YEA! national competition,  Shreyas recently joined five YEA! scholars at Sam’s Club’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, to pitch his business to buyers, participate in supplier workshops, visit with CEO Rosalind Brewer and experience the Walmart culture. In preparation for the trip, Shreyas did his homework: he read Made in America, Sam Walton’s autobiography. “I learned from the book ... that no matter where I was or what I was doing, I need to stay true to my intentions and who I am,” Shreyas wrote in a letter to Sam’s Club executives. “Even as Mr. Walton got older, he never forgot the values that he had grown up with and held true to his heart.”

33 years ago, “Mr. Walton” founded Sam’s Club to help small business owners save money, and today we continue working to help entrepreneurs of every age realize the American dream. Our club associates met thousands of YEA! scholars in more than 100 communities this year as they served as lead judges at local YEA! business pitch competitions. Sam’s Club also contributed startup funds to expand YEA! to 13 new communities in collaboration with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

You or a teen you know could launch the next NovelTie or even the next Walmart: YEA! classes start this fall. To find a YEA! chapter near you, visit yeausa.org.

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Georgia Governor on ‘The Silicon Valley of the South’ http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20151001/gov-deal-on-the-silicon-valley-of-the-south As Walmart opens a new e-commerce fulfillment center in Atlanta, we caught up with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal for a quick chat about his home state – and its growing reputation as a tech incubator. WMT: What is the most exciting thing about being governor of Georgia? Deal: Our… Thu, 01 Oct 2015 18:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20151001/gov-deal-on-the-silicon-valley-of-the-south 2015-10-01T18:00:00Z

Georgia Governor on ‘The Silicon Valley of the South’

Innovation

Sr. Manager, Walmart Digital Communications

As Walmart opens a new e-commerce fulfillment center in Atlanta, we caught up with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal for a quick chat about his home state – and its growing reputation as a tech incubator.

WMT: What is the most exciting thing about being governor of Georgia?

Deal: Our economy is seeing positive growth with thousands of new jobs added every month. We’re seeing the telltale signs of cranes and bulldozers humming on newly cleared land. We’re seeing home values recover and Georgia families rebuild their savings. In fact, since the start of my first term in 2011, we’ve helped create more than 400,000 private sector jobs. Companies representing a wide variety of industries continue to expand and relocate here. This growth strengthens local communities and our state as a whole.

WMT: What, if anything, can the public and private sectors teach each other about innovation?

Deal: Early in 2011, we put in place what we call the Competitiveness Initiative, a joint effort with leaders from government, universities and technical colleges and the private sector. The initiative examined six key factors identified by site selectors as the most important influencers in corporate location and expansion decisions:

  • Infrastructure
  • Innovation
  • Education and workforce development
  • Friendly business climate 
  • Global commerce
  • Government efficiency

Based on the recommendations from public and private stakeholders, we’ve been able to implement several positive policy changes and programs. This innovation and collaboration has served — and will continue to serve — Georgians well.  

WMT: What does the Walmart e-commerce fulfillment center opening mean for Atlanta’s identity as a burgeoning tech hub?

Deal: Georgia has experienced rapid growth in the tech sector in the past several years. In fact, Atlanta has been dubbed the “Silicon Valley of the South” due to our growing reputation as a technology hub. With the addition of Walmart’s fulfillment center, Georgia continues to cement its reputation as a tech incubator and innovator. These well-paying, high skills jobs are indeed the jobs of the future. We know that between now and the year 2020, STEM field occupations will introduce more than 79,000 new jobs to Georgia. In response, we’ve made significant investments and policy changes in order to prepare our students and workforce for these future jobs. I’m excited that Walmart has chosen to bring these cutting-edge jobs to Georgia, and I look forward to its continued growth in this industry. 

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Why This Tiny Chip Has Huge Security Benefits http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20151001/why-this-tiny-chip-has-huge-security-benefits Because this tiny chip offers much greater security benefits versus traditional signature-based, magnetic stripe technology, on Oct. 1 many retailers, including Walmart, will begin prompting customers not to swipe, but to “dip” – aka insert and briefly leave the card in the payment terminal. … Thu, 01 Oct 2015 12:53:23 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20151001/why-this-tiny-chip-has-huge-security-benefits 2015-10-01T12:53:23Z

Why This Tiny Chip Has Huge Security Benefits

Innovation

SVP – Finance and Assistant Treasurer, Walmart U.S.

If you’ve received any new credit cards in the last year or so, take a close look: There may be a microchip right above the card number. While that tiny chip can be easy to miss, soon it won’t be – starting this week, many retailers are using it to make a small change in your checkout process.

Because this tiny chip offers much greater security benefits versus traditional signature-based, magnetic stripe technology, on Oct. 1 many retailers, including Walmart, will begin prompting customers not to swipe, but to “dip” – aka insert and briefly leave the card in the payment terminal. 

Here’s how it works:

Using a chip card to pay means the chip assigns a dynamic code that changes each time consumers use the card. Even if the code were obtained, it could not be used to make an additional purchase.  So when considering the risk of counterfeit, a chip is much more difficult to duplicate. 

So why the significance of Oct. 1? That’s the date set by Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover for the liability of credit card fraud to shift from credit card issuers to retailers. Merchants that haven’t changed their terminals to read chips could be responsible for fraud.

Walmart has long been pushing toward payments that give our customers more security than the traditional signature-based, magnetic stripe technology. In fact, here’s something else you may not know:  We began installing hardware that had the capability of accepting microchip cards more than nine years ago, and we activated the functionality on Nov. 1, 2014. Additionally, in 2014, both Walmart and Sam’s Club issued chip-enabled MasterCard cards to our branded cardholders. 

While the cards are changing, you will still have the quick, simple checkout experience you're accustomed to at Walmart and Sam’s Club. If you don’t have a microchip card, you can continue using your magnetic stripe card at Walmart and Sam’s Club just the same. In fact, when it comes to debit cards, many banks have not issued chip-enabled cards anyway: Only 25% of debit cards will be transferred to the new system by the end of 2015, according to a recent study by Pulse, a PIN debit network.

Walmart was among the first retailers to implement chip technology to better secure payments for credit card holders, and now, we’re finally starting to see this shift take place.

For additional resources regarding chip-enabled payments, visit the news section of our website.

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Grocery Shopping That Works with Your Schedule http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20150929/grocery-shopping-that-works-with-your-schedule Have you ever wished for a grocery drive-up service? Whether you only need a few things, or you actually need several things but only have a few minutes to get them, shopping online for groceries and then choosing a time to have them handed to you (or better yet, loaded into your trunk) is a… Tue, 29 Sep 2015 07:02:05 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20150929/grocery-shopping-that-works-with-your-schedule 2015-09-29T07:02:05Z

Grocery Shopping That Works with Your Schedule

Innovation

EVP and Chief Operating Officer, Walmart Global eCommerce

Have you ever wished for a grocery drive-up service? Whether you only need a few things, or you actually need several things but only have a few minutes to get them, shopping online for groceries and then choosing a time to have them handed to you (or better yet, loaded into your trunk) is a fantastic convenience.

At Walmart, we know this for a fact because our customers continually ask for it. We’ve tested online grocery options – both pickup and delivery – in a handful of markets across the U.S., and each time we’ve added a new city, our customers begin using the service faster than they did in the previous one.

Free pickup in particular has been very popular, and so I’m pleased to share that starting this month, we’ll begin offering free online grocery pickup at select stores in new markets, including:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Charlotte and Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado

Customers can simply shop their grocery lists online, choose a time to pick up their orders and then pull in to a designated parking area at their local stores, where associates will load the items into their cars. It’s all the convenience of a specially trained personal shopper, plus the things you’d expect from Walmart: the same low prices we offer every day in our local stores; no extra fees or charges; and the ability to place an order and pick it up the very same day.

With 70% of the U.S. population living within 5 miles of an existing Walmart store, this is an idea that simply makes sense for us. We have the locations already in place, and with our website and mobile app expertise, we’re able to combine those things in a way that helps our customers save time and still take advantage of our everyday low prices.

This new, easy shopping experience is an innovation that’s helpful for anyone with a busy schedule – particularly moms with small children. They can shop online and choose the pickup time that works for them, and they never have to unbuckle anyone’s seat belt.

In the coming weeks, we’ll add stores in even more markets to our list of pickup locations. We’re excited to make this new option available to even more of our customers, and to use our existing assets in a way that offers not only convenience, but another great way to save.

Is Walmart online grocery available in your area? Visit walmart.com/grocery to learn more and place an order – and receive 10% off your first purchase by using the code NEWORDER during checkout.

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A Closer Look at Your Walmart Vision Center http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150925/a-closer-look-at-your-walmart-vision-center Here’s a statistic to note next time you’re standing in a crowd: 64% of U.S. adults —more than 157 million people — wear prescription eyeglasses. And because Walmart is the nation’s largest producer of finished prescription eyewear, there’s a good chance many of those glasses came from… Fri, 25 Sep 2015 16:00:42 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150925/a-closer-look-at-your-walmart-vision-center 2015-09-25T16:00:42Z

A Closer Look at Your Walmart Vision Center

Business

Sr. Director – Optical Manufacturing & Distribution, Walmart U.S.

Here’s a statistic to note next time you’re standing in a crowd: 64% of U.S. adults —more than 157 million people — wear prescription eyeglasses. And because Walmart is the nation’s largest producer of finished prescription eyewear, there’s a good chance many of those glasses came from Walmart. In fact, it’s the only product that we manufacture start-to-finish in-house.

Earlier this year, we announced an investment of $10 million to upgrade the manufacturing equipment at our Fayetteville, Arkansas, optical lab. Similar upgrades are slated to occur at facilities in Crawfordsville, Indiana, and Dallas in the next few years.

The ultimate goal, both with Walmart’s eyeglasses and with the upgrades, is to serve more customers, more quickly, with even better quality.

Looking Back to Look Ahead

When Walmart first entered the optical business in 1991, Walmart was known for its affordable prices on lenses that were similar to other big box stores and eyeglass chains. Then, in 2000, Walmart started offering premium lenses like Carl Zeiss. Customers noticed the difference—and the company’s efforts to become a leader in eyeglass quality continued from there.

“Walmart was at the forefront of putting anti-reflective and anti-scratch coating on lenses,” said Ed Greene, the recently retired CEO of The Vision Council and past president of Carl Zeiss Optical Inc., the maker of Carl Zeiss Lenses.

When Walmart first invested in anti-reflective equipment in 2001, Ed said, other large retailers didn’t have the coatings or were using no-name or store-brand products. From the beginning, Walmart took steps to offer the best products on the market — products at a level of quality that exceeds industry standards. The upgrades happening now continue the commitment.

A View of the Lab

The Walmart Optical Lab in Fayetteville, Arkansas, stands next to a highway on-ramp. The sign outside is small, and the brick building looks relatively unremarkable—a notable contrast to what happens inside.

Production at the lab runs 24 hours a day, with more than 620 associates working in rotating shifts. The record for a single day of eyeglasses production at the lab: 11,000 pairs.

A single pair of glasses starts its journey on a conveyor belt where the lenses are shaped to the appropriate thickness and curve by a generator and polisher before going through several coating processes for premium scratch resistance and anti-reflection. From there, the lenses are placed into frames by hand by “mounters.” (Quality control happens throughout; if any flaws are discovered, the process starts over.) It takes about eight hours from start to finish.

So where do the upgrades fit in?

Walmart is replacing all of its anti-reflection equipment (remember, this is the first key differentiator for the optical business) with newer machines so customers will experience even less glare. Surfacing machinery and edgers are also being replaced to enhance quality and improve capacity so the lab will be able to produce more glasses and serve more customers.

Seeing the Customer Experience

The real difference, of course, is what our customers experience — and are able to purchase — in 3,000 Vision Centers at Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs. Along with Walmart-produced lenses, Vision Centers sell premium lenses like those from Nikon, Seiko, and Zeiss. The frame selection is large and includes designer frames like Drew Barrymore’s just-released Flower line.

What customers notice is: Walmart’s low price. Our glasses start at $38 for a complete set of eyewear and come with a one-year warranty—something that other retailers charge extra for. Given that the average cost of prescription eyeglasses in 2014 was $274.20, according to The Vision Council, shoppers can save big at Walmart. David Puchala, New York state-licensed Optician and Vision Center manager at Store 1744 in Webster, N.Y., agrees.

“The biggest reward,” David says, “is seeing the smile on mom’s face when she is quoted $200 or more for her child’s first pair of glasses somewhere else, and then comes to us and pays less than $70.” 

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the September issue of Walmart World, the magazine for Walmart associates.

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A Fish Story from Japan: Meet Seiyu’s Seafood Meister http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20150921/a-fish-story-from-japan-meet-seiyus-seafood-meister As Seafood Meister, Hiroyuki advises fish department associates in 18 stores of District 5 in Tokyo and Saitama. He makes fresh merchandise his top priority, and he has ways of highlighting it.“I create an organized seafood display that shows the colors, and I try to have at least one new product… Mon, 21 Sep 2015 21:31:29 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20150921/a-fish-story-from-japan-meet-seiyus-seafood-meister 2015-09-21T21:31:29Z

A Fish Story from Japan: Meet Seiyu’s Seafood Meister

Opportunity

Director, International Corporate Affairs, Walmart

In Japan, when customers want fresh seafood, they count on Hiroyuki Kikuchi at the Akabane Seiyu store to help them choose the best seasonal fish at the best price. But it’s more than a job for Hiroyuki. It is his passion.

As Seafood Meister, Hiroyuki advises fish department associates in 18 stores of District 5 in Tokyo and Saitama. He makes fresh merchandise his top priority, and he has ways of highlighting it.

“I create an organized seafood display that shows the colors, and I try to have at least one new product every day,” Hiroyuki explains, adding that he always checks the quality and won’t display anything he wouldn’t want to buy himself. He also carefully considers the preferences of local customers.

“The fish in season tastes best and is a good price. In Tokyo, for example, people love tuna, and I cut tuna sashimi every day so local customers can enjoy their favorite fish while it is very fresh and tasty,” he says.

To further ensure he’s giving customers what they want, Hiroyuku spends time talking to them whenever he’s on the sales floor.

“I love it when customers ask questions and I want to share my knowledge with them. If a customer asks me to help them choose between items, I answer honestly and then they start to trust me. They come back and say ‘The sashimi you recommended the other day was good, so I will ask you for advice again,’’’ he explained. And that’s why his customers keep coming back.

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Hello, Kenya! 6 Facts About Our Newest Market http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150819/hello-kenya-6-facts-about-our-newest-market I recently visited Nairobi, Walmart’s newest retail market, and had the opportunity to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and events surrounding President Obama’s recent visit to Kenya. Besides meeting the President (it was awesome!) and moderating a panel discussion on how small and medium… Fri, 04 Sep 2015 17:43:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150819/hello-kenya-6-facts-about-our-newest-market 2015-09-04T17:43:00Z

Hello, Kenya! 6 Facts About Our Newest Market

Business

President and CEO, Walmart EMEA

I recently visited Nairobi, Walmart’s newest retail market, and had the opportunity to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and events surrounding President Obama’s recent visit to Kenya. Besides meeting the President (it was awesome!) and moderating a panel discussion on how small and medium size suppliers can access Walmart’s global supply chain, I also participated in a graduation ceremony with 40 trainees from EARN, the Walmart Foundation’s retail training program, toured our new Game store in Nairobi and met our four local International Procurement Logistics (IPL) associates.  After my week spent in the area, I learned a few things about our new market:

1.       The two official languages in Kenya are English and Swahili. We had a great guide around Nairobi who told us to call him Peter, but his Swahili name was Towet.

2.       Agriculture is important to Kenya's economy, and Walmart’s sourcing arm, International Procurement Logistics, purchases vegetables and flowers from Kenya for Walmart stores around the world.

3.       In Africa, our subsidiary is Massmart, and we operate stores under multiple banners, including Game, DionWired, Makro, Jumbo, Builders and others.

4.       Our first store in Kenya is a Game store, a general merchandise store with grocery, serving the capital city of Nairobi with more than 3.1 million people.

5.       Kenya gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1963, but some traditions from the U.K. still persist, like a love for tea.  In most meetings I attended, tea was offered instead of coffee.

6.       Kenya is known for its parks and wildlife sightings – no coincidence that the best-selling category at our Nairobi Game store is camping gear.

Walmart serves 27 countries outside the U.S. with more than 6,100 stores under 65 banners.  Every trip I take allows me to learn more about the markets we serve and the people who shop with us, as well as the good Walmart can bring to the communities we call home. 

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5 Splendid Surprises About Walmart’s Fresh Bakery http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150901/5-splendid-surprises-about-walmarts-fresh-bakery A few weeks ago, a self-described foodie called into NPR’s The Splendid Table with a dilemma: She’d tasted a Walmart birthday cake at an office party recently, and while she is typically a fan of home-baked cakes, she loved it and was now struggling to recreate the flavor.While we’re absolutely… Tue, 01 Sep 2015 18:29:04 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150901/5-splendid-surprises-about-walmarts-fresh-bakery 2015-09-01T18:29:04Z

5 Splendid Surprises About Walmart’s Fresh Bakery

Business

Sr. Buyer - Cakes and Celebrations, Walmart U.S.

A few weeks ago, a self-described foodie called into NPR’s The Splendid Table with a dilemma: She’d tasted a Walmart birthday cake at an office party recently, and while she is typically a fan of home-baked cakes, she loved it and was now struggling to recreate the flavor.

While we’re absolutely flattered, we have to keep our delicious recipe a secret.  Still, the mention made me think. There are many other scrumptious surprises in our fresh bakery, so we should share a few that our customers may not know.

1. How do we ensure that all of our cakes give that same wow factor? It’s one of the reasons I have an amazing job: We taste them over and over. Seriously – our products go through several taste panels to ensure quality. We ask detailed questions, too, about attributes. Is it moist?  Is it soft and fluffy enough?

2. We’re not only a destination for standard sheet cakes – we’ve also upped our game with premium dessert cakes.  For my sister’s birthday this year, she wanted something beyond our current assortment offering.  She specifically asked for decadent and gourmet chocolate cake.  This has inspired us to expand our assortment.  We are making specialty cakes even better, increasing them to three layers versus two and including indulgent ingredients like rich chocolate cream cheese and chocolate ganache. These desserts are something you can be proud to share with family and friends.

3. If you’re more of a pie fan, take note: Our pumpkin pie won the blue ribbon for the American Pie Council’s National Pie Championships. That means out of all commercial entries, Walmart’s pie was selected as No. 1. So not only do we think they’re amazing – official bakery judges do, too.

4. Enjoy apple instead? Then you should know that our family-size apple pie contains over 70% fruit, which is 40% more than the average. It’s two and a half pounds of pure awesomeness, and it’s made with excellent fresh orchard apples. In fact, our supplier maintains 130,000 apple trees each year to support this homestyle double-crust favorite.

5. As a mom of two, I realize how memorable first birthday parties are for the family. We are making it even easier, by offering a free smash cake with a cake purchase of at least $15. Let’s make the first party amazing! 

I admit it, my job is pretty sweet!  I get to taste and buy fresh bakery merchandise for Walmart stores all over the country.  My favorite part, though, is what the products represent:  happy times in our customers’ lives that I indirectly get to be a part of.

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One Nurse, 16 Infants, and a Storm’s Ultimate Test http://blog.walmart.com/community/20150827/one-nurse-16-infants-and-a-storms-ultimate-test During Hurricane Katrina, there were many others she believes are equally deserving of that title. Her fellow medical staff at New Orleans Memorial Medical Center who worked while separated from their families. Her best friend, Monique, who took Medea’s ailing mother to evacuate on her own. Also,… Thu, 27 Aug 2015 18:40:37 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/community/20150827/one-nurse-16-infants-and-a-storms-ultimate-test 2015-08-27T18:40:37Z

One Nurse, 16 Infants, and a Storm’s Ultimate Test

Community

Sr. Director, Walmart Foundation

Medea Gabriel is not a hero, she insists.

During Hurricane Katrina, there were many others she believes are equally deserving of that title. Her fellow medical staff at New Orleans Memorial Medical Center who worked while separated from their families. Her best friend, Monique, who took Medea’s ailing mother to evacuate on her own. Also, the strangers she remembers driving their personal boats to pick up patients and staff from the hospital and navigate them to dry land.

But as a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit, Medea helped wrap up 16 babies and move them to shelter through a hole in the wall that led to a truck bed. The truck bed was to take them to a helicopter and then, safety, but once Medea passed each infant through the wall, she had no idea if outside realities would let that happen.

Today, she knows that nearly all of those babies somehow survived on the way to their destination, Baton Rouge Women’s Hospital. While one of them did pass away, she doesn’t know how or when, because that hospital has since closed. She recently got a Facebook message from one of the mothers who wanted to thank her for what she did that day.

“It was surreal to know how much I impacted her life and that she remembered me,” Medea said. “Just knowing that these kids are now 10 years old lets me go on.”

When Medea transported those infants that day, she says she was simply doing her job. Once the job was complete, she turned her full attention toward her mother, whom she sent with her best friend to get on a boat to safety. She had to pack up her mother’s medicine, waterproof her medical records and dosage instructions and staple them to the inside of her mother’s clothes so they didn’t get lost. She then sent her two loved ones off to stay with a college roommate whom she believed in her heart would take them in, but she didn’t know for sure. It was the second big moment that day where she had to simply act.

Thankfully, two days later – after Medea herself had to leave the hospital not knowing her next resting place – she found out that her mother was, in fact, alive.

While many things have changed for Medea since then, like a new job and also a new husband, she has returned home to New Orleans and works with pediatric patients once again, this time doing HIV research.

“I’m in a totally different place than I was before Katrina,” she said. “I’ve found peace and joy in this recovery.”

Editor’s Note: You can hear more of Medea’s story in a four-part podcast created by Good360, a disaster relief organization that works to improve the way communities can connect with much-needed supplies.    

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How DisasterRecovery360 is Revolutionizing Relief Efforts http://blog.walmart.com/community/20150821/how-disasterrecovery360-is-revolutionizing-relief-efforts Editor’s Note: Good360’s disaster recovery platform is playing a major role in relief efforts for those affected by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Read more here and learn how you can help at good360.org/flint.As a director at Good360 – a nonpartisan nonprofit working to connect companies… Fri, 21 Aug 2015 13:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/community/20150821/how-disasterrecovery360-is-revolutionizing-relief-efforts 2015-08-21T13:00:00Z

How DisasterRecovery360 is Revolutionizing Relief Efforts

Senior Director – Nonprofit Affairs and Special Projects, Good360

Editor’s Note: Good360’s disaster recovery platform is playing a major role in relief efforts for those affected by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Read more here and learn how you can help at good360.org/flint.

As a director at Good360 – a nonpartisan nonprofit working to connect companies that have products with nonprofits that need them – getting out of bed in the morning is never a difficult task. In 2014 alone, we distributed 4 million diapers, 10,000 mattresses and 8,000 cartons of clothing, shoes and accessories to hundreds of thousands of people via our network of more than 40,000 nonprofits in communities across the U.S.

Our work is about making a difference in the lives of people in need. In doing so, Good360 has provided relief in response to nearly every natural disaster since the turn of the century – Hurricane Katrina included. It’s truly amazing to see how far we’ve come as a nation in building disaster preparedness and resiliency, but there’s always room for improvement. In fact, our eyes were opened to the mountain of opportunity that still exists when we learned the following disaster-related philanthropy stats:

  • A lack of coordinated communication creates chaos, resulting in 60% of donated goods ending up in landfills.
  • The wrong goods are often sent at the wrong time, preventing critical supplies from reaching the people who need them.
  • Because 80% of all donations occur within the first six weeks after a disaster, a lack of sustained giving impedes and delays recovery of communities.

After we let those numbing statistics sink in a bit, we asked ourselves a question. What if technology existed to allow our network of nonprofits – which range from food banks and after-school programs to advocacy groups and veterans organizations – to use a mobile app to communicate the specific needs of the communities they serve in real time in the days, months and years following a natural or man-made disaster?

A few short years ago, that question represented an idea. But through continuous research, trial and error – and financial support from organizations like Walmart and the UPS Foundation – we’ve turned that idea into reality. With DisasterRecovery360, we’ve developed a new technology platform to help ensure the right donated goods get to the right people at the right time until the affected communities are fully recovered. The online platform: 

  • Provides nonprofits working at the site of a disaster with access to a free DisasterRecovery360 mobile app, enabling them to immediately begin identifying their product needs
  • Publishes those needs to the DisasterRecovery360 platform so companies can learn quickly how they can help disaster relief efforts
  • Updates companies as needs change over time
  • Shares stories about how donations are used and how they’re helping
  • Enables Good360 to store, stage and deliver critically needed goods to the right place at the right time through its network of logistics, warehousing and distribution partners

In addition to communicating real-time needs to companies, the tool also aims to help minimize unsolicited donations by connecting individuals with nonprofit organizations in their own communities that have specific needs.

Our excitement is through the roof because this platform has the potential to revolutionize disaster philanthropy in the U.S. – and eventually, around the world. But, just because the tool exists doesn't mean the problem will be solved overnight. On Aug. 21, we’ll be demonstrating DisasterRecovery360 in New Orleans, and following with trainings in Miami, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Wichita, Kan. We’ll remain relentless in our efforts to market and train organizations across the country on the tool, because ensuring the right products end up in the right places expedites the recovery of communities.

And that’s something we can all rally around.    

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The Science of Sampling at Sam’s Club http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150805/the-science-of-sampling-at-sams-club Behind the scenes, there’s a group whose job is to ensure that every food product on Sam’s Club shelves is as close to perfect as possible. And they’ve got some help: nearly every associate who works at the Sam’s Club corporate office. Thirty-six products per week are put through a taste panel… Wed, 05 Aug 2015 21:36:27 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150805/the-science-of-sampling-at-sams-club 2015-08-05T21:36:27Z

The Science of Sampling at Sam’s Club

Business

Sr. Manager, Walmart Digital Communications

Food samples have long been part of the fun of strolling through a warehouse club. But did you know that at Sam’s Club, each of those items goes through an extensive taste test before they ever hit the demo booth?

Behind the scenes, there’s a group whose job is to ensure that every food product on Sam’s Club shelves is as close to perfect as possible. And they’ve got some help: nearly every associate who works at the Sam’s Club corporate office.

Thirty-six products per week are put through a taste panel where a team of food scientists receives feedback on flavor, texture, appearance and more. It happens at the Sam’s Club Sensory Lab, a test kitchen with sampling booths where associates are invited each day to come try items that are new, in development or in need of tweaking.

The team – Angela Hebert, Claire Aucella and Emily Luciano – then gives the results to Sam’s Club’s merchants and suppliers, who use the data to inform their work.

In July, the group hit a milestone: 10,000 items tested since the panels began in 2008. It’s quite a landmark for Angela, a senior product development manager who started the process to help solve a debate over a new item: roast beef deli meat. A steak-like piece of beef was being proposed for slicing, but Angela told the merchant team it was too fatty. Fat isn’t an attribute that consumers want in a sandwich meat, she explained, and to get her point across, she suggested testing the proposed product against the leading deli meat. The leading deli meat won, showing that consumer data was helpful for settling these types of decisions.

“Say you’re in bakery, and you have a buyer who hates cheesecake, but he or she still has to buy that,” Angela said. “If you’ve got lots of companies coming to you, saying, ‘I’ve got the best cheesecake in the world!’ it makes it difficult to pick one for our members. Let’s allow the consumer to choose.”

The process also helps guide the creation of new items, allowing the team to refine each detail before putting something on the shelf. When developing a new frozen pepperoni pizza, for example, the team researched other leading brands in a comprehensive way: They weighed them, picked off all the pepperonis, weighed those separately, washed the cheese, measured how much was on the pizza, and created percentages for all those data points. They also took a look at the packaging. Was it resealable? How big was the cardboard circle supporting it?

“Food or cooking is always the center of any home,” Angela said. “If you ever cook a meal, the one thing you look forward to is knowing, did they like it? Walking through the club, seeing an item and knowing that’s my formula – that’s a cool feeling. That’s why we look at every little aspect to ensure it’s perfect for our members. They are paying for their memberships, and they should get something in return.”

Some days that means tasting steak and lobster ravioli; other days it means sampling dried prunes. No matter what’s on the panel menu for the day, associates who frequently participate say it’s a perk. With two panels of four items each happening every day but Friday, those who get creative could almost make a whole meal of the experience.

Joe Calvin, who works in Sam’s Club finance, says he is a “frequent flier” who participates in at least one sampling every day. “That’s what I’m here for. The company needs me,” he joked after submitting his questionnaires.  “I would even come on the weekends if I could.” 

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A Simple Sponge, and My Second Chance http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20150724/a-simple-sponge-and-my-second-chance While it happened quickly, it wasn’t completely unexpected. I had been diagnosed with diabetes back in Jamaica and couldn't afford the proper medication, which led to my vision loss. So I found myself trying to navigate life without the benefit of eyesight and, soon, without my husband, who left… Fri, 24 Jul 2015 13:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20150724/a-simple-sponge-and-my-second-chance 2015-07-24T13:00:00Z

A Simple Sponge, and My Second Chance

U.S. Manufacturing

Manufacturing Employee, Alphapointe, Inc.

I’ll never forget the day in 2003 when everything went red. I was in my 30s, watching television with a friend in my living room when it happened. Three surgeries and several weeks later, I was declared legally blind.

While it happened quickly, it wasn’t completely unexpected. I had been diagnosed with diabetes back in Jamaica and couldn't afford the proper medication, which led to my vision loss. So I found myself trying to navigate life without the benefit of eyesight and, soon, without my husband, who left me. It was just my daughter and me. Years later, I moved to New York City in search of opportunity, but questioned whether I'd made the right decision after going unemployed for more than three years. That changed when I found National Industries for the Blind.

Statistics show more than 70% of the more than 4 million legally blind adults in the U.S. are not employed. As the nation’s largest employment resource for people who are blind, NIB is working to change those statistics, and my story is one example. Eight years ago, I discovered New York City Industries for the Blind, which later became Alphapointe, one of NIB’s associated nonprofit agencies. I began manufacturing SKILCRAFT® Speedy Scrubber sponges at Alphapointe’s facility in Brooklyn. And I’ve been counting my blessings ever since.

All of a sudden, I had a steady income. I wasn’t wondering how I was going to pay my bills and support my daughter. I take great pride in operating my sewing machine on the manufacturing line because I know the military and government customers who use our product depend on us for quality. In May, we were excited when our sponges began hitting the shelves of select Walmart stores throughout the Northeast as part of the retailer’s commitment to U.S. manufacturing. I’m part of a team with more than 100 employees, each one legally blind, just like me.

NIB and Alphapointe believed in me, and that’s the second chance I was looking for. I’m confident again and I have a support system around me. I’ve made friends for a lifetime – friends I go out to dinner with and hang out with on the weekends. I even met the love of my life, Ronnie McNeil, here. We were married earlier this month, which kind of completes my dream come true.

For more than 76 years, NIB has created jobs for people who are blind through the sale of thousands of SKILCRAFT products. The Speedy Scrubber sponges are manufactured by people who are blind working at Alphapointe – one of 95 nonprofit agencies associated with NIB – in its Brooklyn facility. 

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In the Baby Department, a Mom’s Work is Never Done http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20150723/in-the-baby-department-a-mothers-work-is-never-done New parents tend to over-prepare because they’re nervous to get everything right. I know this firsthand because two years ago, I had my first son. And I thought I needed every possible item to take care of him – including tooth wipes. So many of us are familiar with this feeling, and for me, it’s a… Thu, 23 Jul 2015 15:42:06 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20150723/in-the-baby-department-a-mothers-work-is-never-done 2015-07-23T15:42:06Z

In the Baby Department, a Mom’s Work is Never Done

Innovation

Vice President – Baby, Walmart U.S.

Have you ever heard of tooth wipes? If you’ve never brought home a baby, then probably not – unless you’ve shopped for a gift for a first-time mom and noticed such a lesser-known item on her gift registry.

New parents tend to over-prepare because they’re nervous to get everything right. I know this firsthand because two years ago, I had my first son. And I thought I needed every possible item to take care of him – including tooth wipes.

So many of us are familiar with this feeling, and for me, it’s a life experience that translates well to my day job overseeing baby merchandise at Walmart. My team takes care of people in the happiest, but also the most stressful time of their lives. We’re constantly asking ourselves, how can we make that easier? One key – but coincidental – way is that many of the associates on the baby team have intuition from parenting babies and young children themselves.

These perspectives have helped us make simple, but important changes to our assortment – like ensuring our customers can find popular brands like Britax and Plum Organics, and launching Urbini exclusively at Walmart. (It also applies to items like tooth wipes. When I needed them two years ago, Walmart didn’t carry them. Now we do, and they are even assembled in the U.S.!) Our parenting experience has also given us ideas to take to our suppliers that address important concerns, like a car seat with technology that alerts you when your child is still in the back seat if the ignition is switched off.

Talking to our customers, we see our personal insights proven right in many different scenarios. First-time moms like me want everything perfect and brand-name, while second-time moms tend to focus on just getting through the day. Second-time moms also concentrate more on functionality, which applies to their shopping experience, too. They’ve reduced the places they shop from a handful to only a couple, meaning convenience is important. That’s one reason we’ve expanded our assortment not just in-store but also online, and we’ve recently updated our baby registry to be easily accessible with the Walmart mobile app. I love now being able to shop for friends using my phone whether I’m in the store or in transit somewhere.

Research has shown my team that the needs of moms globally are really the same: They all want the very best for their children. I love that we’re able to provide that not just from business experience, but from personal experience, too. We’re able to learn about products and what works well, and then influence that for other parents. Just a few months ago, I took home all the diapers Walmart carries to try on my son and then gave feedback to our suppliers on quality. It helps to be so close to the category to be able to improve our assortment and customer experience.

It’s an intriguing circle, how many of my team members’ jobs influence our parenting and how being parents influences our jobs. Whether it’s updating our mobile registry, adding distinct items like tooth wipes, or ensuring we carry great private-label options like the Parent’s Choice training pants we just launched in partnership with Dreamworks, we’re working hard to make the hardest job in the world – parenting – a little easier.

You can read more about Walmart’s expanded assortment of baby products and services here.    

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U.S. Secretary of Commerce: Let’s Keep America Open for Businesses http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20150716/us-secretary-of-commerce-lets-keep-america-open-for-businesses Last week, we at Walmart were honored to welcome U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to speak at our third U.S. Manufacturing Summit. Afterward, we caught up with her for a brief conversation. WMT: Why is U.S. manufacturing important, and why do you think it makes a difference for communities… Thu, 16 Jul 2015 20:16:26 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20150716/us-secretary-of-commerce-lets-keep-america-open-for-businesses 2015-07-16T20:16:26Z

U.S. Secretary of Commerce: Let’s Keep America Open for Businesses

U.S. Manufacturing

Sr. Manager, Walmart Digital Communications

Last week, we at Walmart were honored to welcome U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to speak at our third U.S. Manufacturing Summit. Afterward, we caught up with her for a brief conversation.

WMT: Why is U.S. manufacturing important, and why do you think it makes a difference for communities across America?

Pritzker: I have a history of manufacturing in my family’s background of business, so I have seen up close and personally the implications of manufacturing on families and communities. Manufacturing is a critical sector of our economy. It employs about 12 million people directly and 16.7 million people at large, and what we know is that we have a resurgence in both employment and output in American manufacturing. We have had about 900,000 new jobs since 2010.

What I am struck by is if you look at Walmart’s policies to increase the purchasing of American-made goods and their commitment to lower their carbon footprint, they are actually related to one another.  With these two policies, I think Walmart is being both closer to its customer and closer to its supply chain, and I think that means that the products and goods and services that get created by Walmart are more in touch with what the customer wants.

American manufacturing is an important source of jobs, and it is also an important source of exports. We had about $2.34 trillion worth of exports last year which is a record. $1.4 trillion of that was American-manufactured goods. And so while it is a significant part of the economy that we export, it is also an important part of our GDP, and it is also an important part of our innovation. So whether it is the innovation that goes on between the Walmart buyer and the supplier or it is the innovation that goes on in the factory floor of either improving how the product is made or creating new products … that is very good for our economy.

WMT: This wasn’t your first time at Walmart’s U.S. Manufacturing Summit. What have you noticed now versus the first time you were here – what’s different?

Pritzker: Anecdotally, it seems that … there is a greater breadth of what is being brought to market. I think the aspiration to do more textiles here in the U.S. seems to be coming to fruition, and no one really knew if that was possible. It seems to me that [Walmart is] seeing more products and that is encouraging. I was talking with Michelle [Gloeckler] that the [Walmart] buyers are more often on the factory floor, so they are understanding the implications of the changes they are asking for as a buyer to a supplier. As a result, they better understand the implications on the line or the costs of something that seems easy to ask for when you are sitting in your office and the factory is half the world away. The flipside is, being on the factory floor allows for more collective innovation. They are saying, ‘Hey, if you want this, what if we did X’. That’s something that could be good for the manufacturing sector. And also good for Walmart. I think it is very exciting what is happening.

WMT: What are some specific ways that your office is working to help boost manufacturing in the U.S.?

Pritzker: We are working every day to connect manufacturers with the resources they need to succeed and thrive. One specific initiative is the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a national network with hundreds of specialists who understand the needs of America's small manufacturers. Our experts connect businesses with the resources and services they may need to become more competitive, meet a new market challenge, improve production processes, adopt a new technology, or take a new good to market. For every dollar of federal investment, MEP clients generate nearly $19 in new sales. This is an exciting example of smart and effective government working specifically on behalf of America’s businesses.

Another program created by the Department of Commerce and our current presidential Administration is Manufacturing Day – a series of events across the country that is designed to excite young people about the potential of a career in manufacturing. Too many people view manufacturers as outdated factories filled with line jobs – not as innovative, inventive businesses, where workers develop and use the latest technology and build lasting, middle class careers. We are changing this perception by inviting students, career guidance counselors, parents, and workers to open houses, public tours, and career workshops at plants and factories across the country. Last year’s Manufacturing Day brought 400,000 Americans to over 1,600 events. 

The Department of Commerce is committed to being partners with America’s manufacturers as this vital sector of economy continues its remarkable resurgence. Working together, we can ensure America’s manufacturers remain at the center of our nation’s prosperity and keep America open for businesses. 

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Why Every Day is Low Price Day at Walmart http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150713/why-every-day-is-low-price-day-at-walmart If you’ve shopped Walmart.com, you’ll know that every day is a special day where everyone has access to the same low prices we offer.  We mean everyone: you, your neighbor, your boss, your best friend … all of whom are looking for the best price on the things they want and need. We’ve… Thu, 16 Jul 2015 04:01:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150713/why-every-day-is-low-price-day-at-walmart 2015-07-16T04:01:00Z

Why Every Day is Low Price Day at Walmart

Business

President and CEO of Walmart.com

If you’ve shopped Walmart.com, you’ll know that every day is a special day where everyone has access to the same low prices we offer.  We mean everyone: you, your neighbor, your boss, your best friend … all of whom are looking for the best price on the things they want and need. We’ve heard some retailers are charging $100 to get access to a sale. But the idea of asking customers to pay extra in order to save money just doesn’t add up for us.

We’re kicking off some awesome deals this week that will be available for everybody with no hidden costs or admission fees, and they won’t be available for just one day. Our customers will see thousands of great deals on Rollback beginning this week along with some special atomic deals (more on that in the days to come). In addition, we’re rolling back our free shipping minimum order to $35 from $50, making it even easier for customers to save on shipping all summer long. 

Low prices, no hidden fees or premiums, plus savings for everyone – now that’s something we can all celebrate.

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A Seat at the Table for U.S. Textile Manufacturing http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20150715/a-seat-at-the-table-for-us-textile-manufacturing Who doesn’t enjoy plopping onto a patio chair, kicking their feet up and sipping on an ice-cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer day? Odds are, you probably focus the majority of your attention on the lemonade. But when’s the last time you considered the comfy cushion on that patio chair? Where… Wed, 15 Jul 2015 13:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20150715/a-seat-at-the-table-for-us-textile-manufacturing 2015-07-15T13:00:00Z

A Seat at the Table for U.S. Textile Manufacturing

U.S. Manufacturing

Sr. Manager, Walmart Foundation

Who doesn’t enjoy plopping onto a patio chair, kicking their feet up and sipping on an ice-cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer day? Odds are, you probably focus the majority of your attention on the lemonade. But when’s the last time you considered the comfy cushion on that patio chair? Where exactly does it come from? How is it made?

The colors and designs on the cushions of your favorite patio furniture – and so many other products – are still screen printed. The majority of these fabrics are laboriously printed overseas, cut, sewn into cushions and shipped to the U.S. Often times, up to seven months pass from the time a retailer places an order until the product arrives on its shelves. Digital fabric printers have existed since the early 1990s, but they’ve never been fast enough to meet the demands of mass production. And, even then, implementing digital printing into cut and sew manufacturing would require a complete overhaul of the process currently being used around the world.

For years, a team of experts at the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University has been collaborating with print and color science professionals to not only advance the technology but develop a process map to effectively integrate digital printing with cut and sew once and for all. Last year, NC State’s work to advance textile production received a boost with a grant from the U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund, which helped complete a 2,600-square-foot, on-campus, digital print, cut and sew facility.

“So much trial and error has gone into testing new technology and optimizing a process that has the potential to transform the textile manufacturing industry,” said Dr. Lisa Chapman, who specializes in digital technology research at NC State. “Every detail – from speed of printing, to the development of pigments for industrial use – has been carefully examined.

“We’re running successful print trials right now,” she said. “That’s very exciting news for U.S. manufacturing because, all of a sudden, it has a competitive advantage in the marketplace. The speed is finally there. This process is going to allow domestic textile manufacturers to not only print digitally, but print on demand rather than waiting seven months for an order to process and ship.”

What does “print on demand” mean? It means the days of eating up valuable space in warehouses with backlogs of large patio furniture are almost behind us. It means retailers and manufacturers will be able to adapt quicker to evolving trends – and that the cost of a 10- to 20-color fabric will cost no more than a single-color fabric. Fabrics will now be printed to specific size specifications, minimizing waste and driving energy, cost and other efficiencies.

The team at NC State continues to work closely with industry partners, such as Expand Systems, to integrate digital printing with cut and sew operations to bring new products to market. Some of these products could arrive in stores – including Walmart – as early as next spring. NC State feels confident this technology and process could be adapted to meet the needs of other product categories, such as bedding. It's a win for U.S. manufacturing with the potential for even bigger and better things ahead.

Editor’s Note: In January 2014, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation, along with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, announced the creation of a $10 million U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund to award those who create new processes, ideas and jobs that support America’s growing manufacturing footprint. To date, $4 million in grants has been awarded to seven leading research and development institutions, including NC State, to help solve manufacturing challenges related to small motor assembly, plastic injection molding and advanced textiles. The second grant cycle was announced last week at Walmart’s U.S. Manufacturing Summit, and you can learn more here

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The Makeup of Makeup and More: Improving Ingredient Transparency http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150714/the-makeup-of-makeup-and-more-improving-ingredient-transparency You are not alone. A lack of product ingredient information is a very common problem. Fortunately, the situation is improving. In the past few years, more and more companies have taken action to make product information more transparent to consumers, including the sharing of ingredients online.… Tue, 14 Jul 2015 13:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150714/the-makeup-of-makeup-and-more-improving-ingredient-transparency 2015-07-14T13:00:00Z

The Makeup of Makeup and More: Improving Ingredient Transparency

Sustainability

Environmental Defense Fund

Imagine you’re standing in a store aisle looking for a new brand of lotion that won’t irritate your baby’s skin. You find yourself surveying at least a dozen different lotion labels trying to understand and compare product ingredients. The process is frustrating, slow, and confusing – what are some of these things even used for?

You are not alone. A lack of product ingredient information is a very common problem. Fortunately, the situation is improving. In the past few years, more and more companies have taken action to make product information more transparent to consumers, including the sharing of ingredients online. Walmart is one of these companies.  

As outlined in its Sustainable Chemistry Policy, Walmart has started an effort to list the ingredients contained within its private label consumable products – personal care and household products that you use up, such as aftershave, baby lotions, cleaners, or pet shampoo – on walmart.com. Walmart’s policy also asks national brand suppliers, like Procter and Gamble, Revlon and Pro-Sense, to follow this lead and include product ingredient information on their own websites.

Sharing lists of ingredients on Walmart’s website is a positive development for customers. Greater online access to this information makes it easier to find out what’s in products and to compare ingredients across products so that customers can ultimately make more informed purchasing decisions. For an example, consider cleaning products.  If you’ve ever tried to figure out what’s inside a cleaning product while shopping, you know it can be difficult – for the most part, ingredients are not required to be disclosed on the packaging of cleaning products.

Today, you can find on Walmart.com a list of ingredients for most private label products covered by the policy.  See for example, “ingredients” listed under “about this item” for a bottle of Equate body wash. According to Walmart’s implementation guide, product ingredients are to be listed in descending order of concentration using a standard naming convention called INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients). This standard is already in use by many product manufacturers and helps create consistency that is designed to allow for easier identification and comparison of ingredients across products. Walmart’s policy is being implemented in steps, so not all of Walmart’s product listings disclose ingredients as outlined in the policy and implementation guide.  Walmart continues to build and improve upon this important first step.  

We’re encouraged to see that product ingredient transparency is becoming more standard practice in the marketplace. We’re especially pleased with companies like Clorox and Seventh Generation that have taken leadership steps on ingredient disclosure by providing ingredient information in multiple languages and identifying an ingredient’s function, or purpose, in a product. This is good news for the growing number of consumers interested in making informed decisions about the products we buy and use every day.

But the benefits of ingredient disclosure may well extend far beyond our everyday shopping trips. Businesses that commit to consumers on ingredient disclosure provide valuable information that can ultimately help drive safer chemicals into the marketplace.

Jennifer McPartland, Ph.D., is a senior scientist, and Alissa Sasso is a research consultant. Both contributors work for the Environmental Defense Fund.    

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Driving Toward a Dream: Inside Walmart Open Call http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20150708/driving-toward-a-dream-inside-walmart-open-call-2015 Mini motorcycles. Insect-repelling dog vests. An attachment that turns your charcoal grill into a pizza oven. There was no shortage of inventions, handy products, simply cool stuff to be seen at our open call for products that support American jobs. But the best stuff wasn’t brought in a box – it… Wed, 08 Jul 2015 21:37:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20150708/driving-toward-a-dream-inside-walmart-open-call-2015 2015-07-08T21:37:00Z

Driving Toward a Dream: Inside Walmart Open Call

U.S. Manufacturing

Mini motorcycles. Insect-repelling dog vests. An attachment that turns your charcoal grill into a pizza oven. There was no shortage of inventions, handy products, simply cool stuff to be seen at our open call for products that support American jobs. But the best stuff wasn’t brought in a box – it was this: the potential for any one of these items to make a difference for not just the manufacturer, but the communities where they are made.

At open call, Walmart buyers heard more than 1,000 pitches for products made, assembled, sourced or grown in the U.S. Behind all of those items is a story, Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran said today at our U.S. Manufacturing Summit. Check out this video for a quick look at just a few.

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Introducing a Refreshed Look for the Walmart Blog http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150706/introducing-a-refreshed-look-for-the-walmart-blog We’ve simply made these stories easier to discover, and complemented them with bigger, more seamlessly integrated pictures and video. We hope you like the new design, as we spent months researching and thinking through the best way to structure it for our readers. Ultimately, our new name and new… Mon, 06 Jul 2015 21:53:45 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150706/introducing-a-refreshed-look-for-the-walmart-blog 2015-07-06T21:53:45Z

Introducing a Refreshed Look for the Walmart Blog

Business

Sr. Manager, Walmart Digital Communications

If you frequent this blog, you may have noticed that the look has changed a bit. Not only that, but it has a new name, too – Walmart Today. What hasn’t changed is our purpose: bringing you real stories about our customers, associates and the thousands of communities around the globe that we call home.

We’ve simply made these stories easier to discover, and complemented them with bigger, more seamlessly integrated pictures and video. We hope you like the new design, as we spent months researching and thinking through the best way to structure it for our readers.

Ultimately, our new name and new look represent not only a destination for new and fresh stories from the world’s largest retailer, but also a source for understanding how what’s happening today is shaping Walmart’s future.

Those changes aren’t limited to this blog. We’ve also taken our new approach over to Twitter, where you’ll find that we’re communicating through a handle of the same name.

Thanks for reading, and we’re excited to have a refreshed place to continue doing what we love: telling real stories you may not have heard, and bringing to light the voices that make us Walmart Today.

Let us know what you think! Leave a comment below, or join the conversation on Twitter.    

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6 Walmart Artifacts to See at the Smithsonian http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20150702/6-walmart-artifacts-to-see-at-the-smithsonian This year, the Smithsonian has a special birthday present for Walmart: Inclusion in the American Enterprise exhibit at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Open July 1, the exhibition “chronicles the tumultuous interaction of capitalism and democracy that resulted in the… Thu, 02 Jul 2015 14:22:59 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20150702/6-walmart-artifacts-to-see-at-the-smithsonian 2015-07-02T14:22:59Z

6 Walmart Artifacts to See at the Smithsonian

Heritage

Sr. Director, Walmart Heritage Group

The beginning of July is always a great time to reflect back on Walmart history. After all, it was July 2, 1962, when Sam Walton opened his very first Walmart discount store in Rogers, Arkansas.

This year, the Smithsonian has a special birthday present for Walmart: Inclusion in the American Enterprise exhibit at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Open July 1, the exhibition “chronicles the tumultuous interaction of capitalism and democracy that resulted in the continual remaking of American business – and American life.”    

The exhibition is an 8,000-square-foot space “focused on the role of business and innovation from the mid-1700s to the present.”  So if you’re heading to our nation’s capital this summer, take a look at where our country’s curators see Walmart’s place in American history.

Before you visit, here are a few things to know:

1.     Sam’s Walton’s Cap

This iconic piece of headgear is now on display in the Smithsonian. According to Peter Liebhold, Chair and Curator, Division of Work and Industry, if an artifact is in the Smithsonian archives, it’s officially in America’s collective memory. Of the more than 3 million artifacts in the archives, only about 1% are ever on display at one time. Sam’s cap is part of that 1%.

One other identical cap that’s been confirmed to have been worn by Sam in his final days is located in his office, on display at The Walmart Museum. Rob Walton donned it at Walmart’s shareholders meeting last month.

2.     Photo of Sam

The photo of Sam Walton that accompanies the display of Sam’s trucker ball cap is one that had been selected by associates in a Walmart World poll to be their favorite. While in the photo he’s not wearing the hat that’s on display, it was selected because of the disarming warmth the photo exudes.

3.     Rosalind Brewer, “Game Changer”

Also part of the American Enterprise exhibit is a video of Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer. In this particular display, visitors select from a gallery of business leaders that the Smithsonian’s curators deem “Game Changers.” For good reason, Roz Brewer is included in the gallery, having been recognized repeatedly as one of the world’s most influential businesspersons.

4.     Valeda Snyder

Walmart’s very first 50-year associate is featured in a timeline along with other retail and industry employees out there on the front lines. Sadly, Valeda passed away in 2012 in her hometown of Lebanon, Missouri, before her inclusion in the Smithsonian.

5.     Save money. Live better.

In its section on marketing and advertising, the American Enterprise exhibit includes the best-known and most important taglines and slogans in the history of the industry. Of all of them, SMLB stands out because of its simplicity and its origin: Sam Walton.

6.     Walmart Organic Produce

In the “Green Business” section of the exhibit, a colorful and vibrant photo of organic produce is on display as part of the story of the greening of American grocery.

Can’t make it this summer? No worries. American Enterprise is a permanent exhibition set to be open to the public for at least the next 20 years.     

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With This Ring, We Grew Our Business http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20150701/with-this-ring-we-grew-our-business Just one year ago, having all hands on deck for us meant 12 employees. But between then and now, something exciting gave our jewelry manufacturing work a boost.Today, we often find ourselves bringing on 10 to 15 additional temporary employees just to keep pace with demand. We’re working through… Wed, 01 Jul 2015 20:38:29 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20150701/with-this-ring-we-grew-our-business 2015-07-01T20:38:29Z

With This Ring, We Grew Our Business

U.S. Manufacturing

CEO, Luxurien International

Just one year ago, having all hands on deck for us meant 12 employees. But between then and now, something exciting gave our jewelry manufacturing work a boost.

Today, we often find ourselves bringing on 10 to 15 additional temporary employees just to keep pace with demand. We’re working through details to build a new, larger facility near Salt Lake City, because we're bursting at the seams working to fill orders. By the end of this year alone, we’ll be hiring up to 35 new full-time employees.

Luxurien has long been recognized as one of the premier suppliers of contemporary metal wedding bands in the U.S. But a few years back, we recognized a growing demand for something unique: high-quality jewelry with camouflage inlays, so we committed to filling that gap. We signed license agreements with Mossy Oak & Realtree, two of the most popular camouflage brands in the world, and began to make and distribute camouflage rings.

While that set the stage for bigger and better things, the real game-changing moment was set in motion when Walmart began promoting its 2014 Open Call for products that support American jobs. Luxurien was one of very few jewelry manufacturers based right here in the U.S. – and we knew we had something to offer. So we submitted our application to see if they’d meet with us, and it's been nothing short of a snowball effect ever since.

We found ourselves face-to-face with Walmart buyers, pitching our contemporary metal bands, camouflage rings and exotic wood jewelry. Within weeks, we were on our way to San Bruno, Calif., where Walmart.com committed to selling about 150 of our products online. The response from customers has been so positive that our online deal with Walmart recently expanded to include the sale of our rings in more than 600 of its U.S. stores.

It’s a pretty big undertaking – particularly for a small business like ours. But the way Walmart committed to walking side-by-side with us from day one has been just as valuable as the orders it has placed. The buyers have been there to make suggestions and inject ideas. We’ve added efficiencies that simply weren’t there before, our margins have gone up considerably, and we’ve been able to raise wages for our employees. All this has, without a doubt, contributed to making us a stronger company for the long term.

This was undoubtedly what Walmart had in mind when, in January 2013, it pledged to purchase an additional $250 billion in products that support American jobs over 10 years. And Luxurien is proud to be part of this growing success story. 

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Opening Our Doors – to Open Even Bigger Ones Across America http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20150623/opening-our-doors-to-open-even-bigger-ones-across-america That’s 100 people who can now choose local employment in De Kalb, Miss., a town of less than 1,000 where Emilia – one of the largest manufacturers of private label and contract health and beauty products in the world – chose to re-shore its merchandise from Israel. Emilia PC’s decision is the kind… Thu, 18 Jun 2015 21:46:17 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20150623/opening-our-doors-to-open-even-bigger-ones-across-america 2015-06-18T21:46:17Z

Opening Our Doors – to Open Even Bigger Ones Across America

U.S. Manufacturing

VP, U.S. Manufacturing, Walmart

100 new hires. That’s how many Emilia PC expects to add by the end of this year, all resulting from one step the beauty product manufacturer took roughly 12 months ago: attending Walmart’s Open Call for products that support American jobs.

That’s 100 people who can now choose local employment in De Kalb, Miss., a town of less than 1,000 where Emilia – one of the largest manufacturers of private label and contract health and beauty products in the world – chose to re-shore its merchandise from Israel.

Emilia PC’s decision is the kind of win we’re working hard to help make happen more often in the months ahead. When we pledged to buy an additional $250 billion in products made, assembled, sourced or grown in the U.S. through 2023, we recognized it was bold. But we’re committed to growing U.S. manufacturing and encouraging the creation of American jobs. Supported, in part, by two previously unprecedented events – our Open Call to suppliers and U.S. Manufacturing Summit – we’re on target to reach this goal.

On July 7 and 8, we’re going to make a good thing even better by bringing both of these events together under one roof. We’ll host the “Made in USA” Open Call and U.S. Manufacturing Summit, at the Walmart home office in Bentonville, Ark.

Hundreds of current and potential suppliers from across the country will be face to face with our buyers, pitching their products for the chance to get on shelves at Walmart, Sam’s Club and Walmart.com. Meanwhile, Walmart executives and industry experts will be making valuable connections with suppliers, state representatives and economic development organizations.

Separately, our Open Call and U.S. Manufacturing Summit events sparked countless success stories. Hugh and Nicole Jarratt of Jarratt Industries pitched their plastic taco plates, 1 million of which are now for sale on the shelves of Walmart stores across the country. What began for Luxurien International as an opportunity to sell its contemporary metal bands, camouflage rings and exotic wood jewelry on Walmart.com has grown to include 600 Walmart stores. Luxurien expects to hire an additional 35 employees in 2015 and will break ground on a state-of-the-art production facility near Salt Lake City. And these are just a few from a growing list of examples.

Imagine the possibilities with all of these relationships and opportunities now being hatched at the same time, under one roof. This is how business – and innovation – gets done.    

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Fluent in Determination, I Mastered Both English and a Career http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20150617/fluent-in-determination-i-mastered-both-english-and-a-career At the encouragement of my husband, I applied anyway at our local Walmart store in Miami. And to my surprise, it all worked out, because what I was able to communicate – determination – pulled me through.Growing up in Mongolia gave me plenty of experience being the manager of my household, as I… Thu, 18 Jun 2015 13:30:56 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20150617/fluent-in-determination-i-mastered-both-english-and-a-career 2015-06-18T13:30:56Z

Fluent in Determination, I Mastered Both English and a Career

Opportunity

Store Manager, Walmart #725

Thirteen years ago, I wanted to work, but I was afraid to fill out a job application. If I got a call for an interview, I’d risk exposing a major hurdle: I didn’t speak English.

At the encouragement of my husband, I applied anyway at our local Walmart store in Miami. And to my surprise, it all worked out, because what I was able to communicate – determination – pulled me through.

Growing up in Mongolia gave me plenty of experience being the manager of my household, as I shopped and cared for my younger sister and brother while my parents worked nearly 24 hours a day. But I wanted something more for myself and them, so I started a retail store in my home country to help out. A few years in, I met my husband, an American who was in Mongolia teaching English. We married and moved to the United States, where different social norms gave me the inspiration to run with a new dream: having a career that allows me to be independent and also provide enough for my children.

Starting at Walmart at entry level, I set a goal for myself to be promoted every two years. And that has actually happened. More than a decade later, I have worked my way up to the position of store manager, leading a Supercenter in Haines City, Florida.

How did I do it? Aside from personal grit, I made my first steps forward with Walmart's training program for new hires. Next, I talked to as many people as I could – having regular conversations with other associates helped me learn English pretty quickly. Later, having the support of mentors – like my market manager who saw that I had high expectations for myself – kept me moving further and further.

In the back of my mind, the stark separation of roles between women and men in Mongolia did impact my self-esteem a little bit. Even though my hard work was paying off at my job, I still feared things like public speaking, thinking others would make fun of my accent. But last year, I participated in another Walmart training program called Champions for Development, where we covered women and confidence. I sat in the back, quiet, as every woman in my group got up and spoke about themselves.  I thought to myself, if they can do it, why not me? And I made a personal commitment to no longer be afraid.

In March, that pledge became very real as I addressed a full auditorium at Walmart’s corporate office for International Women’s Day. My message was my story, which was this: If I can accomplish all of this in 13 years without knowing English at the start, then anyone can do it.

The language I knew all along, perseverance, has paid off, and now I’m speaking and teaching it confidently to nearly 380 associates in my home store.    

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Idea, Action, Impact: 3 Ways Walmart International Associates are Making a Difference http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20150616/idea-action-impact-3-ways-walmart-international-associates-are-making-a-difference Every year at our annual Shareholders Meeting, I’m inspired to meet some of our most innovative associates who are actively working to benefit our customers and our stores. This year, these three stories stood out for me. Walmart Canada Not only are our associates creative, they also demonstrate… Tue, 16 Jun 2015 19:48:15 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/opportunity/20150616/idea-action-impact-3-ways-walmart-international-associates-are-making-a-difference 2015-06-16T19:48:15Z

Idea, Action, Impact: 3 Ways Walmart International Associates are Making a Difference

Business

President and CEO, Walmart International

Everyone has ideas, and at Walmart International, I’m lucky to be surrounded by amazing people with ideas that help make our business better. But these ideas are only valuable if they turn into actions.

Every year at our annual Shareholders Meeting, I’m inspired to meet some of our most innovative associates who are actively working to benefit our customers and our stores. This year, these three stories stood out for me.

Walmart Canada

Not only are our associates creative, they also demonstrate tremendous integrity. In our store in Sarnia, Canada, a couple was shopping for Christmas gifts to give their grandchildren. At the register, the couple couldn’t find the envelope of cash they’d saved to buy the presents. Disappointed, the couple feared the money was gone.

The couple was thrilled when Ephie Smith, a morning cashier, found the money and turned it in. When offered a reward, Ephie responded, “I don’t need a reward. I just hope you have a good Christmas.” I’m sure Ephie was the talk of their Christmas dinner. Great job, Ephie. 

Asda

One thing I’ve learned in my years as a retailer is that more often than not, the simplest solution is the best solution. I’m all for a no-fuss, uncomplicated, let’s get the job done approach.

A few years ago at our United Kingdom retailer Asda, our customers rated us last when it came to a quick and easy checkout experience. We began investing in checkout line-busting technology, but a quicker fix was just around the corner – thanks to one of our innovative associates. In our Nuneaton, England, store, our associate Paul Hedley had the simple but effective idea to use a sign shaped like a finger, which acts as a traffic control management system to help guide customers to empty checkouts and the shortest line. The results were dramatic: Within three short months, customers reported that line service at Asda was ranked first place.

Regrettably, Paul passed away last year as a result of a long-term illness, but his creativity and problem solving left a wonderful legacy:  Today, the low-tech pointy stick is being introduced in other Walmart markets around the world.

Walmart India

And at Walmart India, associates are improving the lives of others. Deepak Gandhi, along with team members Abhay and Anoop, was inspired by the Society for Child Development’s “Trash to Cash” initiative, which provides opportunities for differently-abled women and men while creating consumer products from waste. The group collects old flowers from temples and hotels, and creates organic colored powder solutions, Gulal, used to celebrate Holi — one of the most popular festivals in India. Our initial order for one ton of “Holi Herbal Gulal” helped provide a livelihood for 45 women with disabilities.

The program grew 150% in 2013 alone, and has been so successful that the Department of Environment in Delhi now supports the initiative and provides vans for collection of waste flowers. As part of Walmart’s commitment to Women’s Economic Empowerment, Abhay and Anoop have provided guidance to SFCD Director Madhumita Puri for the last three years, helping to strengthen the organization, increase its capacity and expand product offerings. Hats off to Deepak, Abhay and Anoop.

Thank You

At Walmart, there’s no doubt our associates are an integral part of our global success.  They make us a better business. While Shareholders Week is an official financial meeting, my favorite bit is getting to meet our associates from all over the world who show creativity, integrity and dedication to helping others—it is a privilege to work with all of you.

Interested in joining our team of 2.2 million Walmart associates around the world? Check out our latest job opportunities here.

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Shareholders 2015: It's a Wrap! http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150605/shareholders-2015-its-a-wrap Reese Witherspoon, Mariah Carey, and Rod Stewart: Those were only a few of the notable people who joined us for Shareholders 2015. But the true stars worth celebrating, day after day? Walmart’s 2.2 million incredible associates – aka superheroes – around the world. The meeting may be over, but… Fri, 05 Jun 2015 20:27:51 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150605/shareholders-2015-its-a-wrap 2015-06-05T20:27:51Z

Shareholders 2015: It's a Wrap!

Opportunity

Reese Witherspoon, Mariah Carey, and Rod Stewart: Those were only a few of the notable people who joined us for Shareholders 2015. But the true stars worth celebrating, day after day? Walmart’s 2.2 million incredible associates – aka superheroes – around the world.

The meeting may be over, but we’ve saved several great memories here. Take a look at the slideshow below, and then check out the webcast replay at walmartshareholders.com.

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More Than a Nametag: A Throwback Returns to Walmart http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150603/more-than-a-nametag-a-throwback-returns-to-walmart If you want something to happen, the simplest thing to do is ask. But how many of us really take that advice? Walmart market manager Peter Abbott did, and to his surprise, it worked. In February, he wrote a letter to Chief Operating Officer Judith McKenna requesting that a phrase that once… Wed, 03 Jun 2015 15:46:49 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150603/more-than-a-nametag-a-throwback-returns-to-walmart 2015-06-03T15:46:49Z

More Than a Nametag: A Throwback Returns to Walmart

Business

Sr. Manager, Walmart Digital Communications

If you want something to happen, the simplest thing to do is ask. But how many of us really take that advice? 

Walmart market manager Peter Abbott did, and to his surprise, it worked. In February, he wrote a letter to Chief Operating Officer Judith McKenna requesting that a phrase that once appeared on associate name badges – “Our People Make the Difference” – be added once again. Today, not only did Judith announce that this will happen, but she brought Peter onstage at a meeting of nearly 3,000 U.S. associates to appreciate him for making the request.

“We've not had a badge that says ‘Our People Make the Difference’ for some time, but when I'm out and about, I’m amazed at how many of our associates are still wearing them … and I know it’s because you love them,” Judith said.

Peter made the request because he feels the words truly matter. “It reminds me that I make a difference every day and impact the company,” he said.

”Our People Make the Difference” is more than a Walmart slogan – it’s an expression that carries some history, according to this video shown during the announcement today. The phrase was Sam Walton’s personal philosophy of how Walmart should think of its associates. “Isn’t this the great edge that this company has?” he said in one past address. 

The throwback slogan will once again grace badges in all U.S. stores by the end of the year.

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Helping Customers Know More About How Food is Raised http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150522/helping-customers-know-more-about-how-food-is-raised The “safe and transparent” component involves promoting human rights and animal welfare among suppliers and across food chains. It means putting customers in charge of their food choices, and ensuring they have clear, accurate information about food ingredients and production methods. Our customers… Fri, 22 May 2015 12:04:32 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150522/helping-customers-know-more-about-how-food-is-raised 2015-05-22T12:04:32Z

Helping Customers Know More About How Food is Raised

Sustainability

Chief Sustainability Officer and President, Walmart Foundation

At Walmart, we view food sustainability as a commitment to help the world feed a quickly-growing population through the four-pillar approach of making food more affordable, more accessible, healthier, and more safe and transparent.

The “safe and transparent” component involves promoting human rights and animal welfare among suppliers and across food chains. It means putting customers in charge of their food choices, and ensuring they have clear, accurate information about food ingredients and production methods.

Our customers have told us that they want to know more about where their food comes from, and how it was sourced. Today, we are announcing updated positions regarding animal welfare and the responsible use of antibiotics in farm animals. You can view them here.

We view these positions as a positive step forward for our company, and for the food industry overall. Yet it is ultimately our suppliers who are leading on safety and transparency. As a retailer that sells products but does not produce them, we can use our strengths to influence change across our supply chain. The most impactful change, however, happens through partnerships.

Sustainability is an ongoing journey for our company, and full food transparency will not happen overnight. It will come through long-term innovation, hard work, and partnership.

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12 Things You Might Not Know About the Walmart Museum http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20150518/12-things-you-might-not-know-about-the-walmart-museum 1. Teeth marks from Ol’ Roy, Sam Walton’s dog, can be seen on the steering wheel of Sam’s pickup on display in the museum.2. The galleries of the museum were designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, who also did the Clinton Presidential Center, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Newseum, and… Mon, 18 May 2015 14:29:08 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20150518/12-things-you-might-not-know-about-the-walmart-museum 2015-05-18T14:29:08Z

12 Things You Might Not Know About the Walmart Museum

Heritage

Sr. Director, Walmart Heritage Group

Even the most frequent visitor to The Walmart Museum during our 25th anniversary this month can’t know everything there is to know. Whether you make a trip there often or never have, here’s some trivia about the historic museum that shares the history of Walmart.

1. Teeth marks from Ol’ Roy, Sam Walton’s dog, can be seen on the steering wheel of Sam’s pickup on display in the museum.

2. The galleries of the museum were designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, who also did the Clinton Presidential Center, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Newseum, and many other top museums.

3. The painting in Sam’s office does not hang straight despite numerous attempts at adjusting it. It was, by the way, hanging crooked on the day Sam left his office for the last time.

4. A sparrow once made its way into Sam’s hermetically sealed office exhibit. All vents, filters, joints, and fittings were inspected and found to be in museum-quality condition: airtight with no damage.

5. In 2014, former President George W. Bush came by the museum for a meeting.  He had visited once before years earlier.

6. The flowers in the exhibit case displaying Helen Walton’s wedding dress are changed every Feb. 14 to honor Sam and Helen’s marriage. (They were married on Valentine's Day.)

7. Since 1990, approximately 2 million people have visited the museum. The visitor count increased from approximately 60,000 per year to a high of 330,000 last year alone. Each year, approximately 7,000 associates visit the Museum during the four days of Shareholders week.

8. In 2014, The Walmart Museum’s Spark Café served 12,417 gallons of ice cream – that’s 529,792 scoops! 46,720 of those scoops were Spark Cream ice cream, an exclusive flavor developed just for The Walmart Museum. The Spark Café serves Yarnell’s ice cream, the first brand of ice cream Sam Walton ever sold. His favorite flavor? Butter Pecan.

9. There are 1,807 buttons and lapel pins in our button/lapel pin exhibit, including one that has Doug McMillon’s face covered in ketchup.

10. The original green and red floor tiles still there today in the 5&10 were installed in 1951. Many are slightly mismatched because Sam grabbed an opportunity to save some money by installing the “off” lot. The start of EDLC?

11. The 1979 Ford F150 pickup parked in front of the 5&10 is a replica but is often mistaken for Sam’s actual pickup (which is on display inside the museum gallery). The replica is used for parades, grand openings and special events.

12. During the renovation in 2010, it was discovered that the century-old roof timbers of Walton’s 5&10 needed to be replaced. The timbers were saved and are used to create handcrafted pens often used as awards and gifts by those who purchase them at The Walmart Museum.

Want to learn more about Walmart and The Walmart Museum? Visit WalmartMuseum.com and experience the online version of the birthplace of Walmart.    

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Food Waste: A Yucky Problem That’s on All of Our Plates http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150515/food-waste-a-yucky-problem-thats-on-all-of-our-plates Good food shouldn’t go in the garbage. But inadvertently, one-third of the food our society produces is ending up there – and a good percentage of that is happening in our homes. It isn’t intentional, of course – whether a dish spoils in the refrigerator, or we prepare a little more than we need,… Fri, 15 May 2015 21:30:24 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150515/food-waste-a-yucky-problem-thats-on-all-of-our-plates 2015-05-15T21:30:24Z

Food Waste: A Yucky Problem That’s on All of Our Plates

Sustainability

and Janelle Kearsley - Sustainability, Walmart

Good food shouldn’t go in the garbage. But inadvertently, one-third of the food our society produces is ending up there – and a good percentage of that is happening in our homes.

It isn’t intentional, of course – whether a dish spoils in the refrigerator, or we prepare a little more than we need, no one brings groceries home thinking they aren’t going to eat them. So, how can we stop feeding the landfill? We offer three simple suggestions:

  • Consider date labels carefully
  • Plan grocery shopping by making a list
  • Freeze food for later

At Walmart, we’ve found that date labeling confusion is a huge contributor to food waste in the average consumer’s home. Because there isn’t currently one standard regulation for how food companies must date their products, you might see “sell by,” “best by,” “use before” or many other variations throughout your shopping cart. This is an issue that has been top-of-mind in food safety at Walmart for a while now, and so last year we worked with the Institute of Food Technologists to release this call for a simpler, more uniform solution.

But what’s happening in our homes is only one piece of the puzzle. Food businesses like restaurants and retailers play a role, too. As the nation’s largest grocer, Walmart recognizes our responsibility to help end food waste. We have programs in place to donate good, unsold food to those who need it – and also to work with our suppliers to produce more food with fewer resources

Ultimately, food waste is a problem that’s on all of our plates. But if we all take a harder look at what we’re buying, eating and throwing away, we not only keep food out of our garbage cans – with food waste costing us each between $28 and $43 per month, we can keep more money in our wallets, too. 

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How Walmart is Advising President Obama on Food Supply in Africa http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150430/how-walmart-is-advising-president-obama-on-food-supply-in-africa As a major food retailer, we are concerned that almost one-third of all food produced globally is lost or wasted every year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa have been found to lose as much as 36% of their harvested food,… Thu, 30 Apr 2015 21:12:24 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150430/how-walmart-is-advising-president-obama-on-food-supply-in-africa 2015-04-30T21:12:24Z

How Walmart is Advising President Obama on Food Supply in Africa

Business

President and CEO, Walmart EMEA

As a major food retailer, we are concerned that almost one-third of all food produced globally is lost or wasted every year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa have been found to lose as much as 36% of their harvested food, mainly during processing and distribution. With our company’s retail footprint in sub-Saharan Africa—almost 400 stores in 12 countries on the continent—we’re committed to helping improve Africa’s perishable supply chain.

Last year, I was appointed to the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa with a mandate to provide recommendations that encourage commercial engagement between the U.S. and Africa, and I chair the subcommittee on trade and supply chain development.

So, on April 8, our council met at the White House, and I presented some important supply chain recommendations related to trade facilitation and agriculture cold chain development.  Our recommendations were based on conversations with subject matter experts within Walmart, from our global sourcing teams to our transportation leaders, including multiple divisions within Massmart. It was truly a team effort!

We proposed, among other things, that the U.S. government lead a study on the current state of perishable food marketing in Africa. The study will identify efficiencies along the supply chain for all products and enable new distribution opportunities across the continent by addressing perishable food loss.

It makes sense that a key driver toward producing more food is minimizing food waste, yet building a perishable food supply chain in Africa poses particular challenges:

  • Poor logistics service can lead to time-consuming and expensive workarounds.
  • Lack of adequate transport and treatment facilities can mean products must be shipped by air instead of by sea, making them more expensive adding costs that diminish competitiveness.
  • Without full consideration for the market demand for different products, opportunities can be lost as a result of misplaced investment, increased spoilage and limited consumer choice.

Improvements in ways to keep food cold during transport - the cold chain - and food storage could significantly reduce food waste, increase agricultural exports and help develop local and regional supply chains for all food, including grains and perishables like meat, fish, vegetables and dairy, all important nutritional products to the people of Africa.

As a council member, Walmart is demonstrating its commitment to Africa and highlighting the important role retail can play in building supply chains and helping consumers, small businesses and farmers while also advocating for priorities that drive business efficiency. We have three more meetings with the council, and I look forward to reporting back to you on additional ways we are helping the African food supply chain.

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Offering Support to Nepal Earthquake Victims http://blog.walmart.com/community/20150428/offering-support-to-nepal-earthquake-victims The Walmart Foundation is donating $250,000 to support relief efforts in Nepal – $100,000 to International Medical Corps and $150,000 for the American Red Cross. These funds will provide immediate medical needs, food and shelter for the people affected by the earthquake, and will be delivered by… Tue, 28 Apr 2015 23:12:37 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/community/20150428/offering-support-to-nepal-earthquake-victims 2015-04-28T23:12:37Z

Offering Support to Nepal Earthquake Victims

Community

Sr. Manager, Operations Support & Disaster Relief, Walmart Foundation

My heart is heavy about the earthquake that struck Nepal recently. At the same time, I couldn’t be more thankful to work for a company that’s ready to help.

The Walmart Foundation is donating $250,000 to support relief efforts in Nepal – $100,000 to International Medical Corps and $150,000 for the American Red Cross. These funds will provide immediate medical needs, food and shelter for the people affected by the earthquake, and will be delivered by two well-respected organizations that have a long history in that country.

One of the best things about Walmart and the Walmart Foundation is how we use our strengths to help others. Part of that commitment includes being a global leader in disaster relief and resiliency, responding quickly and holistically to natural disasters where and when they happen. Over the last 10 years, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have provided more than $43 million in financial support to communities impacted by disasters around the world.

Since I began helping direct disaster response efforts for Walmart eight years ago, I have had the opportunity to work with a countless number of wonderful associates as we’ve supported communities impacted by disaster. I’m always amazed at their passion and dedication to assist those in need. That passion to help others is actually why I joined the company.

If you are interested in donating money to support Nepal, you can do so directly via Walmart.com and SamsClub.com. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this tragedy.

You can learn more about how Walmart and the Walmart Foundation give back during natural disasters by visiting the 2015 Global Responsibility Report.

Photo credit: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

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Remembering Rana Plaza, and Working for a Brighter Future http://blog.walmart.com/community/20150424/remembering-rana-plaza-and-working-for-a-brighter-future Today in Dhaka, Bangladesh, people will pay their respects to more than 1,130 Bangladeshi garment workers who lost their lives two years ago when the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed. Since 2013, we have seen Rana Plaza survivors move forward with strength and perseverance. As they work to… Fri, 24 Apr 2015 21:18:22 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/community/20150424/remembering-rana-plaza-and-working-for-a-brighter-future 2015-04-24T21:18:22Z

Remembering Rana Plaza, and Working for a Brighter Future

Community

President and CEO, BRAC USA

Today in Dhaka, Bangladesh, people will pay their respects to more than 1,130 Bangladeshi garment workers who lost their lives two years ago when the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed.

Since 2013, we have seen Rana Plaza survivors move forward with strength and perseverance. As they work to make better lives for themselves, they also constantly honor and remember co-workers and loved ones whose lives were taken away. We should do so, too.

On the anniversary of this heartbreaking day, I want to bring to light the story of Ankhi, a Rana Plaza survivor.

Ankhi’s Story

Ankhi has no recollection of when or how she was rescued. When she woke up at the military hospital in Savar, the former site of the factory, her first thought was not fear for herself, but fear for her husband’s health.

The two had worked together as tailors at Rana Plaza. Despite weeks of prayer, her husband’s remains were never found. Ankhi wondered how she could carry on. “At first, it felt as if I’d never be able to get up again,” she said. “I was afraid I’d remain forever bedridden.”

After the tragedy, BRAC approached Ankhi and asked where she would like to work. Ankhi replied, “I trained as a tailor under my husband, so I wish to continue that, because it would keep his memories alive for me.” BRAC set up a training session for Ankhi and equipped her with money, a sewing machine, material and an iron.

Ankhi Today

Today, Ankhi sits with pride behind her sewing machine. The shop where she works has richly colored fabrics and tape measures strewn about the floor.

On most days, it seems Ankhi is looking forward, not back. “After a hard day’s work, when my daughter hugs me… I forget all about my hardship.”

One day, Ankhi hopes to fulfill her husband’s dream of having a shop of her own. As she works toward this, Ankhi can at least provide for her young daughter with her sewing machine.

Ankhi is one of nearly 4 million garment workers in Bangladesh, all of them working for a brighter future.

Honor Ankhi and women like her

There’s a good chance that the clothes you’re wearing now were made in Bangladesh. Let’s thank these remarkable workers.

Women’s empowerment, helped in part by opportunities in the textile industry, has transformed Bangladesh. Poverty has been halved in the last 20 years. It’s not a coincidence that there are also more girls in school now than boys. Women’s empowerment leads to better lives for everyone – men, women and children.

I’m proud to say that BRAC, with its origins in Bangladesh, has served as a resource for victims’ counseling, rehabilitation, medical treatment, and living expenses. I’m optimistic that a few decades from now, unsafe factories like Rana Plaza will no longer exist. 

Susan Davis is the president and CEO of BRAC USA, an organization working to empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice. Learn more about Walmart’s commitment to the workers of Bangladesh.

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How Walmart is Working for the Greater Good – Globally http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150423/how-walmart-is-working-for-the-greater-good-globally Walmart was started upon a simple idea: to bring affordable products to people in small towns. Nearly 53 years later, that’s still our focus, but we’ve expanded it to a lot more places – 27 countries around the world. As we’ve grown, we’ve taken on another important mission: using our scale and… Thu, 23 Apr 2015 21:57:17 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150423/how-walmart-is-working-for-the-greater-good-globally 2015-04-23T21:57:17Z

How Walmart is Working for the Greater Good – Globally

Sustainability

Sr. Manager - Sustainability, Walmart

Walmart was started upon a simple idea: to bring affordable products to people in small towns. Nearly 53 years later, that’s still our focus, but we’ve expanded it to a lot more places – 27 countries around the world.

As we’ve grown, we’ve taken on another important mission: using our scale and capabilities to help not just customers, but society as a whole. This week, we released our eighth annual Global Responsibility Report, which covers specific ways we’ve done this over the past year. But what does that really mean in each region where we operate? Here’s a quick look at how we’ve made a difference across the globe.

Africa

Since 2011, Massmart’s Builders Warehouse has worked with Ripples for Good to help maintain 205 schools and Early Childhood Development (ECD) centers around South Africa. Makro provided funding to HOPE Worldwide to help support 41 ECD centers in disadvantaged communities. In 2014, the project directly benefited 3,274 children younger than 5.

Argentina

At Walmart Argentina, we recently imported lighting devices that are 38% more energy-efficient than the technology available in our market. Prior to 2014, importation restrictions in Argentina made this impossible.

Brazil

Since 2010, Walmart Institute (Walmart Brazil’s charitable foundation) has supported the Social School of Retail, committed to providing Brazilians ages 17-29 with professional training needed to work in the retail industry. Implemented in seven Brazilian states, the program has reached nearly 6,000 youth to date. Walmart Institute recently began collaborating with the Brazilian government to incorporate this same training into the high school curriculum. In 2014, 160 teachers were trained, impacting about 66,000 high school students.

Canada

The expanded rollout of our Organics Recycling Program has contributed to a 25% increase in total tonnage of organic waste diverted from landfills. We also increased food donations by 64% over 2013 and redirected an additional 142,552 kilograms of products to people in need.

Central America

Through reverse logistics, we increased the total weight of materials collected for recycling in Central America by 10.8% in 2014, for a total of 21,388 metric tons. The categories of recyclable materials being collected have grown to include cardboard, paper, stretch film, plastic bags, rigid and PET plastics, metals, aluminum, pallets, glass, vegetable oil and electronics.

Chile

In 2013, Walmart Chile collaborated with four multi-national organizations to create a network of five recycling points for the metropolitan region. From November 2013 to December 2014, these recycling points collected 166,328 kilograms of waste that was diverted from landfills.

China

Smallholder apple farmers in China face many production problems, including low productivity and poor fruit quality due to wide use of seedling rootstocks, overuse of fertilizers and rising labor costs. Through a program made possible by a Walmart Foundation grant to Cornell University and the University of California, Davis, 200,000 Chinese apple growers are learning sustainable agricultural practices from a partnership with the provincial extension system and agricultural universities in both Shandong and Shaanxi Provinces. To date, 149,233 Chinese apple farmers have received training through the program, which iis designed to enable trainees to improve yield, fruit quality and income on their family orchards while reducing the environmental impact of apple farming in China.

India

By the end of 2014, Walmart’s Women in Factories Training Program had offered life and work skills guidance to 48,729 women, 2,546 of whom completed advanced training. This program has been implemented in 82 factories in Bangladesh, China, El Salvador, Honduras and India. Avani Bhadra is one participant from India who began pursuing higher education as a result of the program; you can read more of her story here.

Japan

Since 2009, Walmart Japan has donated food from our stores to Second Harvest, the oldest food bank in the country. In 2014 alone, we donated more than 100,000 food items and expanded the program to 81 participating stores. We plan to grow the program to more than 130 stores in the greater Tokyo area by the end of 2016.

Mexico

Walmart Mexico, one of our largest operations, is a leader in water stewardship in our company and has water initiatives in operation and under development in multiple locations. In 2014, we increased our number of on-site water treatment plants to 665. Those plants treat more than 2.5 million cubic meters of wastewater, 34% of which was reused for irrigation.

United Kingdom

To encourage the reuse of shopping bags, in 2014 Scottish Parliament began requiring all retailers to charge customers a fee for each new, single-use bag they receive. The net proceeds of the charge, which Asda anticipates will generate approximately $1,044,783 per year, are to be donated to good causes. Asda will allocate half of its bag proceeds for the Social Investment Scotland organization, which makes investment capital available for new social enterprises, meeting a gap in the current market for smaller loans and helping to drive growth, create jobs and regenerate communities for the long term. Customers and colleagues will have the opportunity to nominate projects and good causes in their local community that would benefit from Asda Community Capital grants. To ensure the grants are as locally relevant as possible, regional selection panels of Asda colleagues will vote on the projects to benefit.

United States

To accelerate the development of Walmart U.S. associates, we announced a $1 billion+ investment in higher wages, up-skilling and scheduling enhancements for hourly workers. In addition, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation announced more than $100 million in grants to improve the mobility of workers across the retail and related-sector industries.

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Q&A with Doug McMillon: Seeing the Future Through Customers’ Eyes http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150422/q-a-with-doug-mcmillon-seeing-the-future-through-customers-eyes The following Q&A with Walmart CEO Doug McMillon is excerpted from our 2015 Annual Report, which was just released today. Read more at http://stock.walmart.com/annual-reportsQ: What is the strategic plan to drive Walmart’s continued growth in a changing retail environment around the world? A:… Wed, 22 Apr 2015 21:00:26 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150422/q-a-with-doug-mcmillon-seeing-the-future-through-customers-eyes 2015-04-22T21:00:26Z

Q&A with Doug McMillon: Seeing the Future Through Customers’ Eyes

Business

The following Q&A with Walmart CEO Doug McMillon is excerpted from our 2015 Annual Report, which was just released today. Read more at http://stock.walmart.com/annual-reports

Q: What is the strategic plan to drive Walmart’s continued growth in a changing retail environment around the world?

A: Given the breadth of our business, strategic clarity is really important. We’re thinking about the future through the lens of the customer. Customers are channel agnostic – shopping in stores, online or with their phones is more seamless than it used to be. We’re thinking the same way. Walmart possesses unique assets and capabilities to serve customers with our stores, clubs, global supply chain, data and great associates. We want to enable customers to find what they want, at a value, in a convenient, enjoyable way, regardless of how they shop. Our customer proposition is focused on four areas – price, access, assortment and experience. Each dimension is important, and we take a holistic view to how they integrate with each other. Our plan provides a framework to ignite, energize and accelerate change, as we make decisions and investments.

Q: How does Walmart’s everyday low price (EDLP) philosophy translate across markets globally?

A: We serve value conscious customers, regardless of household income, all over the world. So, we’ll always be aggressive on price. EDLP builds customer trust, both in stores and online. That’s especially important in a digital era where there’s greater price transparency. To deliver price leadership, we continue to focus on driving everyday low cost (EDLC) through improvements in supply chain, processes and other efficiencies.

Q: How are you providing greater access for customers to shop Walmart?

A: Through our more than 11,000 stores, websites and mobile apps, customers can access Walmart in more ways than ever before. It’s vital to have relevant formats in each market we serve. But the future of retail is not just in-store or online – it’s putting the two together in new ways. I’m excited that we’re leaders in integrating digital and physical retail in a seamless fashion. We’ll continue to test and learn as we explore options for convenient merchandise pickup or delivery to save customers’ time.

Q: How are you expanding the assortment with your e-commerce offering?

A: Customers want more merchandise choices, and they expect to find almost anything when shopping Walmart. In our stores, we’re focused on providing quality merchandise, desirable national brands and great private brand options. On the e-commerce front, we provide those same things through an expanded assortment of approximately 8 million items on walmart.com in the U.S. Interestingly, 75% of walmart.com sales come from non-store inventory, thus providing incremental sales growth beyond our stores. And, this is a global effort. In Brazil, for example, our online assortment, including from marketplace partners, grew tenfold last year.

Q: What are your most important objectives to improve customer experience, both in stores and online?

A: Retail has always been a people business, and we win when associates exceed customer expectations. That’s why we’re investing in higher wages and increased training and development for our U.S. associates. We’ll also equip them with information and technology to facilitate great customer service. We’re focused on running great stores and websites by improving in-stock and driving a faster checkout, both online and in stores. I’m excited about the progress we’ll make for customers this year.

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Want a Clean Path to Less Waste? Just Add Water http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150409/want-a-clean-path-to-less-waste-just-add-water Even if we’re not avid recyclers, most of us don’t like to waste. Reusing is a practice that’s been around for quite a while. Take my late grandmother, Jewell, for example – a woman who has long been my hero. A waitress for more than 40 years, she was the most successful person I knew. Growing up… Thu, 09 Apr 2015 15:06:02 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150409/want-a-clean-path-to-less-waste-just-add-water 2015-04-09T15:06:02Z

Want a Clean Path to Less Waste? Just Add Water

Sustainability

Founder and CEO, Replenish Bottling

Even if we’re not avid recyclers, most of us don’t like to waste. Reusing is a practice that’s been around for quite a while. Take my late grandmother, Jewell, for example – a woman who has long been my hero. A waitress for more than 40 years, she was the most successful person I knew. Growing up in the Great Depression gave her the drive to make the most of what she had in every way possible. She didn’t throw away jars; instead, she found new uses for them.

Her seemingly small habits imprinted a big purpose on me. So several years ago, while ironing my shirts, that attitude sparked an idea. My laundry starch was a huge bottle consisting of mostly water. What if it was sold as a concentrated formula in a reusable bottle, and then the user could add water at home?

My idea wasn’t about being more eco-friendly; it was about practical, common sense virtues. While there were big hurdles standing between my idea and an actual product, it became a crusade that I had to see through. I asked friends and family for investments, started an official company – Replenish – and several years later, we helped develop a line of premium concentrate cleaners called CleanPath to be sold exclusively at Walmart.

Whether you’re buying glass cleaner or hand soap, the process is the same: A concentrate refill pod makes three bottles’ worth of each product, and that stays attached to a reusable bottle made of thick, durable plastic that’s built for reuse.

Considering that approximately 70% of plastic bottles don’t get recycled, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data, CleanPath products can make a real difference. Not just in household trash, but in the merchandise supply chain, too, by taking up less space and weight during shipping and therefore reducing miles on the road. Plus, people who purchase the products can save money because they’re reusing what’s already there.

While it’s as simple as adding tap water to a reusable bottle, I’m hopeful that little things like this can lead to big reductions in waste.

CleanPath soap and surface cleaners carry Walmart’s Sustainability Leaders badge, which helps customers identify and purchase items from suppliers that are leading in sustainability. Learn more at walmart.com/sustainabilityleaders.

 

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Mystery Flavors? Take a Peep Behind the Curtain http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150324/mystery-flavors-take-a-peep-behind-the-curtain Peeps are the candy people generally love – or don’t. But here’s a mystery:  A lot of the time, those who may not eat them still end up buying them. Whether they’re added to a child’s Easter basket, used as a colorful embellishment for a craft project, or simply scooped up for a sugary snack,… Tue, 24 Mar 2015 22:00:30 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20150324/mystery-flavors-take-a-peep-behind-the-curtain 2015-03-24T22:00:30Z

Mystery Flavors? Take a Peep Behind the Curtain

Business

Senior Buyer – Seasonal Candy, Walmart

Peeps are the candy people generally love – or don’t. But here’s a mystery:  A lot of the time, those who may not eat them still end up buying them.

Whether they’re added to a child’s Easter basket, used as a colorful embellishment for a craft project, or simply scooped up for a sugary snack, Peeps are by far one of the most popular candies we sell this time of year at Walmart.

Walmart has sold Peeps nearly as long as they’ve been around. Three years ago, we made buying this iconic Easter candy even more fun by adding new flavors – like sour watermelon, bubble gum and blue raspberry – to our assortment.

Several months ago, we visited our supplier, Just Born, to talk about even more flavors they were working on. As we walked the factory filled with white Peeps waiting for color, an idea hit me: What if they made the new flavors a secret?

Just Born was intrigued, and we agreed to work together to get the mystery Peeps ready in time for Easter. Because it was our idea, they made it exclusive to Walmart, and we got to taste the flavors as they were developed.

Collaboration is a key ingredient in not only candy, but the buying process in categories across our stores. I have a creative mind, so I’m always proposing ideas. The best part is discussing those with our suppliers and combining our shared expertise toward the best solution for customers. Candy is obviously fun to work on day to day, but the challenge of continually surprising and delighting people through new offerings makes the process even more exciting.

There’s only so much candy you can eat in a day, but my team tries to taste everything we’re presented to ensure the best quality. We tasted a lot of interesting Peeps flavors in the process for this product – for example, did we want to go with maple bacon? And the answer is … well, maple bacon just doesn’t translate well to everything.

Growing up, I loved eating mystery candies, and that partially inspired this idea. The rest of it stemmed from a simple desire to make a joyful holiday even more fun for Walmart customers – a part of my job that’s always pretty sweet.

Want to guess the mystery Peeps flavors? Submit your thoughts on their Facebook page.    

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Your Personal Shopper: The Science of My Job @WalmartLabs http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20150312/your-personal-shopper-the-science-of-my-job-walmartlabs Have you ever gotten an email from Walmart about an item you were just browsing on Walmart.com? What about one that featured products that are perfect for your spring-cleaning project? These seemingly instinctive alerts aren’t necessarily coincidental, but rather are created by the targeting team… Thu, 12 Mar 2015 16:43:50 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20150312/your-personal-shopper-the-science-of-my-job-walmartlabs 2015-03-12T16:43:50Z

Your Personal Shopper: The Science of My Job @WalmartLabs

Innovation

Cognitive Scientist, @WalmartLabs

Have you ever gotten an email from Walmart about an item you were just browsing on Walmart.com? What about one that featured products that are perfect for your spring-cleaning project? These seemingly instinctive alerts aren’t necessarily coincidental, but rather are created by the targeting team at @WalmartLabs. As a part of the targeting team, I work every day to find the best values for customers and provide them the most up-to-date, relevant, and exciting information.

For me, working at @WalmartLabs allows me to use my passion to make shopping more enjoyable and convenient for our customers. I recently graduated from UCLA, where I received degrees in both cognitive science and geography. From there, I was fortunate to get a position on the targeting team at @WalmartLabs that allows me to fuse my two degrees in a way that can impact others with money and time savings.

My main interest is understanding and analyzing human behavior, and I think retail is a fascinating environment to study the mixture of culture, society, and human emotion. Understanding people requires both understanding the mind and the world where it functions. Using the preferences our customers provide, and transferring them into data-driven technologies at @WalmartLabs, we can create a customer experience that helps make shopping even easier.

For example, let’s say you use the Walmart app to search for a new hairdryer. You find one you like, but don’t purchase it at that time. The following week, the hairdryer goes on Rollback. As soon as the price is lowered, the idea is that the app would send you a notification to let you know about the change — all in an effort to save you money on the purchase and save you time by preventing you from continuing your search.

Every day, we use technology to make the e-commerce experience much more personalized, and I think customers appreciate that. When an item you want is out of stock, we can alert you when it is available again. If a price drops, you could get a notification. In a world where so much is being thrown at you, we aim to take the work out of shopping and make the experience fun. In that sense, we are really providing a service to our customers.  

Walmart is fundamental to daily life for many. Each day our customers interact with the technology we build, and each day that drives us to innovate more. Whether it’s inventing new services or solving traditional challenges with new technology, it’s never a dull day at @WalmartLabs.

Editor’s Note: Om Marwah is a 26-year-old Cognitive Scientist with @WalmartLabs in San Bruno, California. Om was recently named to Forbes’ list of “30 Under 30 Rising Stars of Enterprise Technology.” 

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A Simple Way to Shop More Sustainably http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150225/a-simple-way-to-shop-more-sustainably This week, Walmart is proud to unveil our new Sustainability Leaders shop on Walmart.com. This dedicated area within our eCommerce site makes it easier for our customers to find—and purchase — products made by companies that have scored well in our Sustainability Index. This is a big step in… Wed, 25 Feb 2015 22:46:13 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150225/a-simple-way-to-shop-more-sustainably 2015-02-25T22:46:13Z

A Simple Way to Shop More Sustainably

Sustainability

President & CEO, Walmart Global eCommerce

This week, Walmart is proud to unveil our new Sustainability Leaders shop on Walmart.com.

This dedicated area within our eCommerce site makes it easier for our customers to find—and purchase — products made by companies that have scored well in our Sustainability Index.

This is a big step in helping our customers see which brands and suppliers are leading the way in sustainability, so they can shop with a purpose.

Our customers love our low prices, and they have made it very clear that they expect much more: They want to know where products come from, and how they were produced.

One of the most exciting aspects of this new shop is that it represents a coming together of our very best resources. New technologies are fueling advances in sustainability.

With Walmart Global eCommerce, a full-scale Silicon Valley technology company is being built inside the world’s largest retailer. Having our digital operations in-house allows us to do big things that improve people’s lives.

Our Global eCommerce associates are very talented, and they are working here because they want to make a difference. They are proud to work for a company that solves problems on a large scale, and does business in a way that is sustainable for itself and for the planet.

Through technology, we are able to better serve our customers, build trust with them, and empower them to be part of the solution.

This is a special moment, where the work we’ve been doing is coming together with Walmart’s strengths for good.

Although the Sustainability Leaders shop does not make representations regarding the individual product’s environmental or social impact, the manufacturer and category level approach is intended to help customers identify companies leading in sustainability. Get more information here.

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7 Tips to Save on Vacations through Sam’s Club Travel http://blog.walmart.com/life/20150225/7-tips-to-save-on-vacations-through-sams-club-travel If you have the winter blues and are daydreaming of sunny skies, spend your snow day making those dreams a reality by planning a spring break or summer getaway with Sam’s Club Travel. Sam’s Club has teamed up with Tourico Holidays to create an online travel-booking portal that offers… Wed, 25 Feb 2015 13:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20150225/7-tips-to-save-on-vacations-through-sams-club-travel 2015-02-25T13:00:00Z

7 Tips to Save on Vacations through Sam’s Club Travel

Life

Sr. Manager, Member Services, Sam's Club

If you have the winter blues and are daydreaming of sunny skies, spend your snow day making those dreams a reality by planning a spring break or summer getaway with Sam’s Club Travel

Sam’s Club has teamed up with Tourico Holidays to create an online travel-booking portal that offers world-class selection, service, and savings to Sam’s Club members. Booking with us comes with great perks, such as a meal upgrade or cabin upgrade on a cruise. In fact, hotel savings can range from 15% to 50% off, and you can save up to 15% off cruises. 

Ready to escape the arctic freeze and book a trip? Check out these money-saving and timesaving tips from our travel team:

1. Time Bookings RightAirlines typically come out with their sales on Tuesdays, so book flights then. With more than 150 airlines offered through Sam’s Club Travel, it’s easy to find your favorite. For cruises, costs vary greatly for people booking very early or very late; prices are most consistently low between 90 and 30 days before the ship’s intended departure.

2. Book Attractions EarlyMany have long lines and some (like Alcatraz in San Francisco and hot Broadway shows) sell out early each day. Before you leave home, check out our 6,000 fun attractions (in more than 800 destinations) and buy tickets from us ahead of time.

3. Get a Better Room for LessOn Sam’s Club Travel, look for hotel offerings marked “Best Value” to ensure you’re getting the most for your hard-earned vacation dollars. There are more than 500 such hotels across 1,000 destinations on our site, and they include budget, luxury, and brand-name selections.

4. Start with a TourA great way to get to know a big city is with a bus tour. This allows you to see many hot spots and note what you want to explore later. Another inexpensive option is a walking tour led by a local guide, who can offer tips on where to eat and what to see. Sam’s Club Travel offers tours in all major cities.

5. Learn from Industry InsidersYou may know that people often pay more to travel to a destination during its high season. Problem is, you may not know when, exactly, that is. If you’re not wedded to traveling during a particular week, call a Sam’s Club Travel representative and ask which days of the year will cost you the least.

6. Earn Cash on ChargesBefore you travel, consider applying for the 5-3-1 Sam’s Club Mastercard. This card offers cash back: 5% on fuel, 3% on dining and travel, and 1% on all other purchases (including souvenirs!)—up to $5,000 annually. It also uses new chip technology that makes it tougher for criminals to steal your credit card information.

7. Get the Inside ScoopLove to read other travelers’ experiences? You’ll find TripAdvisor reviews right on the Sam’s Club Travel website. This saves you time: no more searching on other websites for valuable feedback and tips.

By the Numbers: Sam’s Club TravelA quick look at the perks you’ll find on SamsClub.com/Travel:

  • 15% - 50% off hotel rooms
  • Up to 15% off cruises
  • Up to 25% off tours, attractions, activities and transfers
  • Up to 10% off rental cars

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in and was adapted from Strive, the magazine for Sam’s Club associates. 

Want to learn how to become a member at Sam’s Club? Visit SamsClub.com

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Beyond Welcome Home: Banding Together to Help Veterans http://blog.walmart.com/community/20150217/beyond-welcome-home-banding-together-to-help-veterans Being a part of the military has a different meaning for every veteran. For me, it was an opportunity to see the world outside of Kentucky while protecting our nation’s freedom at the same time. Serving in the military is a true honor and something I knew I wanted to do at a very young age. I can’t… Tue, 17 Feb 2015 21:27:32 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/community/20150217/beyond-welcome-home-banding-together-to-help-veterans 2015-02-17T21:27:32Z

Beyond Welcome Home: Banding Together to Help Veterans

Community

U.S. Army

Being a part of the military has a different meaning for every veteran. For me, it was an opportunity to see the world outside of Kentucky while protecting our nation’s freedom at the same time. Serving in the military is a true honor and something I knew I wanted to do at a very young age. I can’t think of a more rewarding experience. But like anything else, it came with difficulties and challenges.

As an Army staff sergeant who has served during several deployments, two in Iraq and one in the Balkans, I was on the front lines of combat. Upon returning home, I found myself in a dark place as I suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and dealt with the repercussions of a brain injury. This was one of the lowest times in my life and I couldn’t seem to shake the weight off of my shoulders. At that time, I never turned to others for help because I didn’t want to put that burden on them.  

However, people were quick to see what I was going through and stepped up to recognize that something needed to be done. My friends, my family and my community wrapped their arms around me and helped me to lift that weight off of my shoulders. It was a long road and it wasn’t easy, but I overcame the inner struggles that I was facing.

With their help, I started to rebuild. After receiving support, I realized the impact that others had on my wellbeing. Immediately, I thought of several other veterans – friends and brothers – who needed the same help.

As I’ve said before, one man on the battlefield is never enough. A team on the battlefield is what makes a difference. I feel the same way about helping our veterans at home.

Today, I’m honored to share my story at the Welcome Home North Carolina kickoff event in Charlotte as the Walmart Foundation announced a $1 million grant to the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. The initiative will support a three-year pilot program to identify ways in which non-profits, government organizations and private companies can better work together to serve veterans.

It’s really encouraging to see so many different groups come together in support of veterans. It can be difficult for veterans to navigate through all of the resources that are available, so anything that can help is essential. I can’t wait to see the impact this will have the Charlotte community and beyond, and I’m touched to see people working together to give back to those who have already given so much.

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It’s King Cake Time, But Walmart’s Queens Reign All Year Long http://blog.walmart.com/life/20150216/its-king-cake-time-but-walmarts-queens-reign-all-year-long Made popular in New Orleans, the cakes are a sweet doughy confection with a hint of cinnamon that is then topped with icing in the hues of Mardi Gras — purple, gold, and green. While king cakes may be all the rage each Mardi Gras season, Walmart has three true queens of cakes 365 days a year.… Mon, 16 Feb 2015 20:51:25 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20150216/its-king-cake-time-but-walmarts-queens-reign-all-year-long 2015-02-16T20:51:25Z

It’s King Cake Time, But Walmart’s Queens Reign All Year Long

Life

Sr. Manager, Walmart Digital Communications

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, and for many that means celebrating with a few indulgences, including a traditional king cake.

Made popular in New Orleans, the cakes are a sweet doughy confection with a hint of cinnamon that is then topped with icing in the hues of Mardi Gras — purple, gold, and green.

While king cakes may be all the rage each Mardi Gras season, Walmart has three true queens of cakes 365 days a year. Stacie Clawson of store 3789 in Ogden, Utah, is a three-time winner of Walmart’s annual cake decorating contest, and shares the 2014 crown with two other regional winners: Rachel George of Morris, Illinois, and Laurie Grissom of Cary, North Carolina.

“My first job was working in a small local bakery,” Stacie said of her early days. “I was a closer for the store, but eventually moved to making doughnuts and helping the cake decorator. When the decorator left, they asked if I wanted that job and I just learned as I went.” 

After honing her decorating skills, Stacie says she moved to a position with the Walmart bakery in 2001 for more opportunity and better benefits. Having worked at three Walmart locations, all within a 30-minute radius of her home, Stacie is used to making both regular production cakes and special orders for customers at the Ogden store. “I love to do special orders — anything we don’t have in the book,” she said. “People will bring in items, like plates for a baby shower, and ask me to come up with something that matches the theme. I get to be really creative with those.”

“I’ve learned a lot from others that I’ve worked with,” Stacie said, “and I’ve also tried to teach anyone else who may be working with me in the cake decorating department.” Stacie has even shared her passion with her nieces and neighborhood children who compete in the kids’ cake decorating competition at the local county fair each year.

As for Walmart’s cake decorating contest, Stacie sent in a portfolio of her work in 2012 and hoped for the best. She was selected as one of three winners from across the U.S., and repeated her victory in 2013 and 2014. While winners from 2013 and 2014 celebrated at the home office in Bentonville, Arkansas, in 2012 the champions had the chance to participate in a live cake decorating competition in none other than New Orleans. “It was a fun opportunity, and I remember being very nervous because I had never competed in a live competition like that,” Stacie said. When asked if this Walmart “queen of cakes” had a chance to sample a king cake while she was in The Big Easy she says, “Unfortunately, it was in June, so I didn’t get to have one.” However, with a track record of winning like Stacie’s, there’s something, perhaps, much better to savor: the sweet taste of victory. 

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Buying a Diamond? Make This Jewelry Guide Your Best Friend http://blog.walmart.com/life/20150212/buying-a-diamond-make-this-jewelry-guide-your-best-friend Do your homework. Have an idea in mind before you start shopping. Purchasing jewelry is a major decision. It’s different from walking into a florist shop, telling them you want a $50 bouquet, and asking them to put something together. Look at the jewelry section on samsclub.com, and think about… Thu, 12 Feb 2015 19:59:46 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20150212/buying-a-diamond-make-this-jewelry-guide-your-best-friend 2015-02-12T19:59:46Z

Buying a Diamond? Make This Jewelry Guide Your Best Friend

Life

Buyer – Diamonds, Sam’s Club

Valentine’s Day is almost here. For many, the gift of jewelry is a meaningful and often symbolic way to show your significant other just how much you care. If you’re still on the hunt for the perfect gift for your sweetheart, take note of these buying tips.

Do your homework.

Have an idea in mind before you start shopping. Purchasing jewelry is a major decision. It’s different from walking into a florist shop, telling them you want a $50 bouquet, and asking them to put something together. Look at the jewelry section on samsclub.com, and think about what you would like to give: a ring, bracelet, necklace, or earrings. Also, consider the four C’s of diamond buying — cut, color, clarity, and carat — so you’ll be knowledgeable when discussing any piece with an associate. Use this diamond buying guide for more info on each of those four points. 

Think about when and where the piece will be worn.

If you’re purchasing jewelry for your Valentine, think about when she might wear it. Will this be a piece that is worn every day such as an engagement ring or favorite pendant necklace? Or, will it be something that’s reserved for special occasions such as a cocktail ring or an ornate bracelet? Having this in mind can help steer you toward a piece that is equal parts pretty and practical for the occasion.

Ask for help.

If you’re looking for help, the associates in our clubs are a wealth of knowledge on the items in the jewelry cases. Engage them from the start by asking for suggestions and ideas.

Consider the value.

When you’re ready to make a purchase, you want to know you’re getting a fair price. By doing your research ahead of time, you’ll know the going rates for pieces you are considering. At Sam’s Club, value is a huge priority, so many of our pieces may have an appraisal that is actually higher than the price tag. This means that on a big-ticket item, your savings could be enough to pay for your membership — possibly for years. Also, with any diamond purchase at Sam’s Club, members receive an IGI appraisal card that gives detail on the four C’s of the piece and its value.

Make it special.

One thing many members may not know is that in addition to traditional choices, we offer the latest trends and custom-designed pieces. If you see something you like in a magazine or online, bring a picture into the club, and we’ll work with you to find a similar piece or a designer who can create one.    

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Closing the Loop on Recycling in America http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150210/closing-the-loop-on-recycling-in-america When it comes to managing our trash, Americans are throwing away a lot of money. Because lots of people – 45% of U.S. residents, in fact – still don’t have easy access to recycling bins, recycling rates are low in many areas. In 2013, this caused cities to spend more than $7 billion on landfills… Tue, 10 Feb 2015 14:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150210/closing-the-loop-on-recycling-in-america 2015-02-10T14:00:00Z

Closing the Loop on Recycling in America

Sustainability

VP of Sustainability, Walmart

When it comes to managing our trash, Americans are throwing away a lot of money. Because lots of people – 45% of U.S. residents, in fact – still don’t have easy access to recycling bins, recycling rates are low in many areas. In 2013, this caused cities to spend more than $7 billion on landfills and lose more than $11 billion that they could have earned from selling recycled materials.

Walmart is committed to one day achieving our goal of zero waste by improving the recycled content in product packaging, and we know we’ll never get there if this problem continues. So, last year, we became the lead investor in a new social impact venture: the Closed Loop Fund.

The Closed Loop Fund came together to provide zero interest loans to cities for investments in local recycling programs. It links the financial interests of companies that need recycled material back in their supply chains, and municipalities who need a more affordable way of investing in recycling infrastructure.

We’re excited to have several suppliers join us as investors. As producers of packaged goods, Unilever and Proctor & Gamble need a more consistent and efficient stream of recycled material. Both companies recently shared why they made the decision to get involved, and you can read their full story here.    

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3 Ways to Share the Love this Valentine’s Day http://blog.walmart.com/life/20150204/3-ways-to-share-the-love-this-valentines-day PARTY OF TWO Enjoying the evening with your better half? Make it special with these ideas for a romantic evening. Cook a delicious dinner. Everyday favorites are great for busy weekdays, but special occasions — and special people — call for dishes with a bit more flair. Cook up a savory Rosemary… Wed, 04 Feb 2015 22:01:44 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20150204/3-ways-to-share-the-love-this-valentines-day 2015-02-04T22:01:44Z

3 Ways to Share the Love this Valentine’s Day

Life

Buyer – Seasonal/Celebrations, Walmart

Love calls for a celebration! Each year, Feb. 14 — better known as Valentine’s Day — gives us the opportunity to tell our loved ones just how much they mean. However you choose to spend the day — alone with your significant other, hosting a party for your kids, or together as a family — take to heart these ideas for a fun and easy holiday.

PARTY OF TWO

Enjoying the evening with your better half? Make it special with these ideas for a romantic evening.

Cook a delicious dinner.

Everyday favorites are great for busy weekdays, but special occasions — and special people — call for dishes with a bit more flair. Cook up a savory Rosemary Tenderloin with an Arugula Salad, or choose Mussels Steamed in White Wine for a lighter option.

Don’t forget dessert.

Go ahead and indulge! This Rich Chocolate Mousse has a hint of coffee, which adds a bit of bold flavor to the silky treat. You might also give truffles a try – shop your local Walmart’s seasonal aisle for kits that make it easy.

Give a personalized gift.

Presents such as a personalized pocketknife or a decorative frame show you put thought and effort into finding a gift that’s customized to your sweetheart’s liking. Find more personalized gift ideas here

 

ALL FOR THE KIDS

If you’re hosting a get-together for the neighborhood kids or your child’s classroom, try one of these these easy-to-create ideas.

Make mini treats for little hands.

Use a small, heart-shaped mold to bake one-bite brownies or tiny cakes. Decorate them like conversation hearts, and kids will enjoy picking – and giving – the perfect message.

Create DIY Valentine’s Day cards.

We all know the most-treasured cards are handmade. Give your child free reign to come up with his or her own design or follow the steps to recreate this lovable “Owl Be Your Valentine” card from Walmart Mom blog Hoosier Homemade.

Hand out heart-themed favor bags.

Find inspiration for your own treat bags with the steps in this post, which offers ideas for dressing up your favorite candy bars. Have a little extra time? Dip and drizzle strawberries and pretzels with colored candy melts.

FAMILY STYLE

It’s true what they say, “the more, the merrier.” Use these ideas for a Valentine’s night at home with your clan.

Cook a meal that is a family favorite.

Whether it’s mom’s famous spaghetti, a pizza with everyone’s favorite toppings, or a new, soon-to-be-loved dish (try these Chile-Chicken Enchiladas) indulge your family with a meal that’s sure to make them smile. Or, if you’ve got a busy evening, start the day with a special breakfast: Walmart has Valentine toast stamps and pink pancake mixes that add an adorable touch.

Get your game face on.

There’s nothing like a little healthy competition to bring the family together. Choose a few board games and plan a game night for a fun—and spirited—end to the day.

Remember the moment.

In any house, it may be a rarity to have the entire group together. Check out these tips for using your smartphone to document Valentine’s Day 2015, and you’ll have a group picture worth treasuring for years to come. 

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Quirky, Yet Quality: Asda Campaign Explains Unsightly Produce http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150202/quirky-yet-quality-asda-campaign-explains-unsightly-produce Editor’s note: Asda first launched this campaign in January 2015, and this month, added the option for customers to purchase a box of in-season “wonky” vegetables at a discounted price. Read more in this story from The Guardian.When you’re shopping for fruits and vegetables, do you pass over a… Mon, 02 Feb 2015 14:45:11 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150202/quirky-yet-quality-asda-campaign-explains-unsightly-produce 2015-02-02T14:45:11Z

Quirky, Yet Quality: Asda Campaign Explains Unsightly Produce

Sustainability

Produce Technical Director, Asda

Editor’s note: Asda first launched this campaign in January 2015, and this month, added the option for customers to purchase a box of in-season “wonky” vegetables at a discounted price. Read more in this story from The Guardian.

When you’re shopping for fruits and vegetables, do you pass over a carrot that’s not straight? Or a pear that’s not smooth? This type of produce still tastes great and is beautiful on the inside; it just isn’t 100% perfect on the outside. 

This is the idea behind our new campaign at Asda, Walmart’s United Kingdom retailer. By selling “wonky” fruits and vegetables at a discounted price, we can help reduce food waste, while supporting farmers and offering customers even better value for their money. (For those who aren’t used to British speak, wonky means a little bit misshapen.)  

Crooked carrots, knobby pears and wonky potatoes, among other items, have their own special place in our produce sections for the first time.  We’re labeling them as “Beautiful on the Inside” and bagging them separately, which we hope will raise customer awareness that these fruits and vegetables are just as good. The campaign started last week in five select Asda stores, and it was also featured earlier in January on TV chef Jamie Oliver’s UK program, “Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast.”

As produce technical director at Asda, I’ve been working closely with our famers to make sure we have excellent knowledge of our supply chain so we can reduce food waste. Food throwaways are a global issue for Walmart; doing what we can to prevent them is a huge way we can get even closer to our goal of zero waste.  Most blemishes on produce don’t affect the quality or flavor – a carrot is still a carrot. Essentially, customers are looking for great-tasting, fresh produce at an affordable price, and so these items shouldn’t be passed over. 

If this campaign is successful, we hope to extend it to more of our stores. But you don’t have to wait for a campaign before you can get involved.  Next time you’re buying fresh fruits and vegetables, don’t ignore that carrot shaped like an ‘S’ or the apple that isn’t perfectly big or round.  Check out these tips on how to tell when a wonky fruit or vegetable is still beautiful on the inside and when you should stay away. 

Happy eating!

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6 Plays for Hosting a Super Football Watch Party http://blog.walmart.com/life/20150127/6-plays-for-hosting-a-super-football-watch-party If this weekend’s game is an excuse to eat chicken wings and throw a party, I’ll take it. According to the National Retail Federation, a lot of us feel the same way, with 48.9% of people surveyed planning to host a gathering, attend one or watch with fellow fans at a bar or restaurant. Preparing to… Tue, 27 Jan 2015 22:48:56 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20150127/6-plays-for-hosting-a-super-football-watch-party 2015-01-27T22:48:56Z

6 Plays for Hosting a Super Football Watch Party

Life

Sr. Director, Walmart Digital Communications

It’s the biggest game of the year, and also the most-watched TV event in America. Even if you’re not a football fan, you’re probably watching the commercials – or at the very least intercepting everyone else’s snacks.

If this weekend’s game is an excuse to eat chicken wings and throw a party, I’ll take it. According to the National Retail Federation, a lot of us feel the same way, with 48.9% of people surveyed planning to host a gathering, attend one or watch with fellow fans at a bar or restaurant.

Preparing to have your home team over this Sunday? Check out our quick playbook for throwing a super party.

1.  For most of your guests, the star of this Sunday is clear – the TV – but not everyone attends a bowl party solely to watch the game. Entertain kids and the non-football fans in the crowd with a second screen (because who doesn’t want to watch a recap of the Puppy Bowl?). 

2.  When guests arrive, have them choose sides with a drink: craft beer from Boston or Seattle, or get creative with regional favorites that anyone can enjoy.

3.  Here’s where you’ll score the real points: the food. Since my team from Texas isn’t playing in the game, I’ll be making chili in their honor. This recipe is my own creation and builds flavor by adding spices gradually. I went to my favorite Walmart and bought dried peppers (yes, we sell those) and ground them to create my own chili powders, but feel free to substitute ready-made versions if you’re short on time. 

4.  Most eyes will be on the game, so there’s no need to go crazy with decorations. Keep it simple with solid-colored tablecloths and a football theme. Or, go for one big impression with a special guest: a life-size quarterback.

5.  With a game that stretches for hours, it’s all about the appetizers. Keep guacamole green by hiding the pit inside (it works!). Make buffalo chicken dip ahead of time, or help guests keep their New Year’s resolutions with vegetable-based snacks or crudité instead of chips.

6.  Last but not least: the sweet stuff. Whether your side is celebrating or commiserating, sugar is always welcome. End your party in the zone with a delicious dessert.

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How BCA is Steering Bikes Back to the U.S. http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20150122/how-bca-is-steering-bikes-back-to-the-us For 67 people in Manning, South Carolina, making a living through making things is possible again. Four months ago, Bicycle Corporation of America – a division of Kent International, Inc. – opened its doors, and today the wheels are turning at a steady pace. More than 3,500 bikes per week are… Thu, 22 Jan 2015 20:17:30 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20150122/how-bca-is-steering-bikes-back-to-the-us 2015-01-22T20:17:30Z

How BCA is Steering Bikes Back to the U.S.

U.S. Manufacturing

Buyer – Bicycles and Ride-On Toys, Walmart

For 67 people in Manning, South Carolina, making a living through making things is possible again. Four months ago, Bicycle Corporation of America – a division of Kent International, Inc. – opened its doors, and today the wheels are turning at a steady pace.

More than 3,500 bikes per week are rolling off the shelves and shipped to about 2,000 Walmart stores across the country. Assembly is the main focus for now, but over the next five years, BCA plans to shift into welding and painting, manufacturing rims and other functions that mean about 200 more people will gain work.

Kent International has supplied bikes to Walmart for many years. But their bikes produced in Manning will be the first U.S.-assembled bikes sold in our stores in more than a decade. Watch how they’re making a difference – and why we’re proud to work with them as part of our $250 billion commitment to purchase more products that support American jobs. 

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Passion Fruit, Partnerships and a New Approach to Agriculture http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150121/passion-fruit-partnerships-and-a-new-approach-to-agriculture Editor’s Note: This week, more than 2,500 business, political and academic leaders are attending the 45th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. Walmart and Yara serve as co-chairs of the WEF New Vision for Agriculture initiative. This article originally appeared on the… Wed, 21 Jan 2015 17:14:41 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150121/passion-fruit-partnerships-and-a-new-approach-to-agriculture 2015-01-21T17:14:41Z

Passion Fruit, Partnerships and a New Approach to Agriculture

Sustainability

Editor’s Note: This week, more than 2,500 business, political and academic leaders are attending the 45th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. Walmart and Yara serve as co-chairs of the WEF New Vision for Agriculture initiative. This article originally appeared on the WEF blog.

Food is a basic need we all share, but it’s also ingrained in our customs and culture. We meet friends for dinner, plan occasions around special dishes and pass down recipes through generations. But will this be possible in the future not only for us, but also for those who struggle to afford food, as well as the additional 2 billion people projected to inhabit the earth in another 40 years?

Most of us have lived through decades of food abundance, making it hard to grasp the challenge of ensuring future food and nutrition security. Freshwater availability is a mounting challenge and a limiting factor for food production, and price fluctuations increase risk for farmers and rural communities. At a time where improved crop productivity is needed, our changing climate is likely to limit yield growth.

We must find smart solutions for the agricultural sector – gaining higher yields per acre of land, drop of water and kilo of input, reducing deforestation and emissions. All while ensuring improved livelihoods for rural growers and a thriving economy for the farming community.

A new approach to agriculture

Knowing that food security and agricultural development are a major concern around the world, we join fellow chief executives and global leaders this week at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting to discuss ways to create change. Since 2009, we’ve been addressing this challenge through an initiative called the New Vision for Agriculture, which brings together a global network of governments, farmers associations, donors, research institutes, international organizations, and companies such as Yara and Walmart. We’ve set goals of increasing food security by 20% and reducing poverty and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% by 2020.

So, how do these broad aims translate into real, meaningful outcomes? Walmart, for one, focuses on four issues when it comes to food: affordability, accessibility, health and transparency. We’re working with our suppliers and other partners in the food supply chain to not only gain deeper insight into yields, water usage and GHG, but also to drive improvement in those same areas through specific projects. The Climate Smart Agriculture program is one way we are driving down the “true cost” of producing food – reducing the GHG emitted, the water and land used, and the impact on animals and people.

One such project centers on the sweet yellow passion fruit, an unusual-looking fruit that is sweeter and twice the size of the more common purple passion fruit. Walmart’s UK retailer, Asda, is working with IPL, their produce importer, and TechnoServe, a nonprofit, to produce more of this fruit in Kenya for sale in Asda. Through the project, 400 small farmers are being trained in good agricultural practices and food safety, helping them generate more income and in several cases, fund education for their children. On average, growers’ incomes from passion fruit production have increased their total farm income by 21%.

Yara has many similar programs, such as the Ghana Grains Partnership. Alongside a local private sector partner, Yara Ghana has set up a farmers’ association for small and mid-sized maize growers to support improved productivity. Called Masara N’Arziki, meaning “Maize for Prosperity,” the association has become one of West Africa’s largest grain-growing associations. The farmers gain access to seeds and fertilizers on credit, get a guaranteed off-take for their produce as well as professional advice and training. Here, more than 9,000 farmers have quadrupled their yields and tripled their income.

A good start

These are great examples, but they are only a small part of big results being achieved by the New Vision for Agriculture globally. Across all its programs in 16 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the initiative is reaching more than 3.6 million farmers, crop yield has increased between 12%-75%, and more than 200,000 hectares are adopting improved technologies, practices and solutions. In Asia alone, farmer income has grown by 10-75%, depending on the commodity.

This is great progress, and we are encouraged by the more than 350 organizations involved. However, given the significance and global nature of this challenge, creating lasting change for the environment and our economy requires much more work to be done. The New Vision for Agriculture is an important way we can maintain our collective commitment to working together. From ensuring sustainable incomes and economies to ensuring the nourishment of families, we all have a stake in the future of the food on our plates.

Co-authors: David Cheesewright is President and CEO of Walmart International; Torgeir Kvidal is President and CEO of Yara.

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Lower Fees, Less Hassle with Walmart Direct2Cash http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20150120/lower-fees-less-hassle-with-walmart-direct2cash Walmart has worked with tax preparers in our stores for many years now, and we talk to our customers every day. We’ve learned that both parties are interested in a better method for handling refund checks, and that’s where our new service, Walmart Direct2Cash can make a difference. Whether you use… Tue, 20 Jan 2015 18:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20150120/lower-fees-less-hassle-with-walmart-direct2cash 2015-01-20T18:00:00Z

Lower Fees, Less Hassle with Walmart Direct2Cash

Innovation

Sr. Director, Walmart Services

Today is a big day for Americans – it’s the first day to begin to file taxes. Whether you look forward to this time of year or not, there’s one thing we can all agree on: If we’re fortunate enough to get a refund, the last thing we want to do is wait on a check and spend money on unnecessary fees.

Walmart has worked with tax preparers in our stores for many years now, and we talk to our customers every day. We’ve learned that both parties are interested in a better method for handling refund checks, and that’s where our new service, Walmart Direct2Cash can make a difference.

Whether you use a bank account or not, Walmart Direct2Cash is a first-of-its-kind option that allows you to manage your finances the way you see fit. Through this service, tax preparers using the Walmart Direct2Cash software can offer their customers the option of a refund pickup at any Walmart store in the U.S. Customers who choose Walmart Direct2Cash will receive an email notification with a unique code, and all they have to do is take that code to a Walmart store, show ID, and collect their cash. It’s convenient, and cheaper, too: You’ll pay no additional fee or no more than $7 to your tax preparer when filing, and Walmart doesn’t charge any extra fees. When you consider that fees for a refund check can sometimes be more than $70 for processing and cashing, that’s a definite savings.

Prior to tax season, we did some research and testing of this idea, and the response from our customers was a resounding ‘Yes! This is exactly what we’re looking for!’ For taxpayers, it’s a way to save time and money. For tax preparers, not having to manage the check process creates a more efficient experience.

Plus, as our society changes, checks are on the decline as more people prefer the conveniences of the digital age. Think about it: Many banks offer the ability to deposit a check into your account just by snapping a photo with your phone. As the expectation for these types of offerings grow, Walmart is adapting and providing our customers with options.

Creating better ways to serve our customers is something we’re always working on, and in the future, we see this service expanding beyond tax refunds to help in additional ways. Not only is Walmart Direct2Cash an easier way to get your tax refund, but by using it, you should go home with more of the hard-earned money you’re entitled to.

And that’s something I think we can all celebrate.   

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Keep Your Kids Entertained with Snow-Day Crafts http://blog.walmart.com/life/20150113/keep-your-kids-entertained-with-snow-day-crafts Here are some essentials to have on hand so you’re prepared for a long day indoors. Paper: You don't want the kids coloring on the walls or the table. Instead, make sure you have plenty of copy and construction paper! For winter, you can make different styles of paper snowflakes or chains of… Tue, 13 Jan 2015 19:13:43 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20150113/keep-your-kids-entertained-with-snow-day-crafts 2015-01-13T19:13:43Z

Keep Your Kids Entertained with Snow-Day Crafts

Life

Sr. Manager, Walmart Digital Communications

When there's three feet of snow on the ground, school is out and the kids are home, how are they going to stay entertained and busy without watching TV all day? Fortunately, a well-stocked craft closet can be the perfect solution.

Here are some essentials to have on hand so you’re prepared for a long day indoors.

Paper: You don't want the kids coloring on the walls or the table. Instead, make sure you have plenty of copy and construction paper! For winter, you can make different styles of paper snowflakes or chains of paper hearts or people.

Craft glue: Even without other crafting accessories, glue is fun in and of itself. Do you have memories of dragging toothpicks through a pool of glue, or adding food coloring to it and making designs? Help your kids make some of these memories of their own. White glue, like Elmer's, is perfect for most craft projects.

Markers/pens/pencils/crayons: Let's cheer for something less messy than paint! You can't have a craft closet without these staples, which are good for drawing on paper and even some fabrics. Keep the caps on markers when not in use, and test them occasionally to make sure they still work. Store them in a zip-top bag or container with a lid, so they stay together, and so strays don't clutter up the area.

Felt: Soft, colorful and versatile, felt is great for making small stuffed creatures. You can fill them with cotton balls and hand-stitch them closed. By sewing or gluing, add designs like buttons, cut felt pieces and string.

Beans: Beans, beans, they're good for your art. Different kinds and colors of dried beans are perfect for mosaics. Create your own designs on construction paper, wood or a glass jar. White glue works well as the adhesive. Just remember to let it dry thoroughly.

Toilet- and paper-towel tubes: Reuse, recycle, reclaim! Instead of throwing out your cardboard tubes, save them for crafting. Using your imagination and basic supplies, make tubular snowmen, people, robots, Santa Claus, finger puppets and castles.

Pasta: Preschool teachers love dried pasta for a reason. Whether you use it plain or dye it, you can make pasta necklaces, garlands or mosaics with different shapes. To dye it, put the pasta in a zip-top bag, and add enough vinegar to cover it, along with food dye. Let it sit for an hour, then dry the pasta on wax paper for four hours. Make it ahead of time, and it will be ready for any snow day. 

 

Adapted from Walmart.com 

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Get the Facts on Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150112/get-the-facts-on-energy-efficient-light-bulbs Walmart offers a number of different options, including our Great Value LED bulbs. Not only do we sell these items— we’re using them in our stores around the world as well, installing LED bulbs on the sales floor, parking lot, freezer cases and virtually all other areas in most new stores. But what… Mon, 12 Jan 2015 16:59:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150112/get-the-facts-on-energy-efficient-light-bulbs 2015-01-12T16:59:00Z

Get the Facts on Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Sustainability

VP International Design and Construction, Walmart

By now, most of us are familiar with the benefits of using LED or CFL light bulbs over traditional incandescent ones. First and foremost, they last longer— in fact years longer than traditional ones, which not only saves energy, but also money.

Walmart offers a number of different options, including our Great Value LED bulbs. Not only do we sell these items— we’re using them in our stores around the world as well, installing LED bulbs on the sales floor, parking lot, freezer cases and virtually all other areas in most new stores. But what are the real differences between LED, CFL, and incandescent bulbs?

Here we break it down by the numbers for you so you can make an informed decision before you buy.

With a lifespan of only 1,000 hours, the performance of incandescent bulbs is outshined by CFL bulbs, which last nearly 10 times longer, and LEDs, which can last up to 50 times longer than incandescents for a lifespan of 50,000 hours.

LED and CFL bulbs are more efficient than incandescents. In the 50,000-hour lifespan of an LED bulb, it will only use 500 kWh of electricity at a total cost of $50 in energy bills. 

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How Walmart’s SPARK Keeps Your Food Fresh http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150112/how-walmarts-spark-keeps-your-food-fresh When customers look at rotisserie chickens in a Walmart store deli, many are likely thinking about recipes and what to make for dinner. They’re probably not thinking about whether that chicken has been cooked and kept at an appropriate temperature, because they know they can trust Walmart to keep… Mon, 12 Jan 2015 16:37:02 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20150112/how-walmarts-spark-keeps-your-food-fresh 2015-01-12T16:37:02Z

How Walmart’s SPARK Keeps Your Food Fresh

Sustainability

Vice President, Food Safety – Walmart

When customers look at rotisserie chickens in a Walmart store deli, many are likely thinking about recipes and what to make for dinner. They’re probably not thinking about whether that chicken has been cooked and kept at an appropriate temperature, because they know they can trust Walmart to keep food safe. But while food safety in the U.S. today may seem like a given, there’s actually a lot that goes into making it a reality.

At Walmart, that’s where our Sustainable Paperless Auditing and Record Keeping (SPARK) system comes in — a dynamic tool featuring cutting-edge technologies we’re using to ensure foods meet the highest standards of safety, and in many cases, exceed them.

Using Bluetooth communication, state-of-the-art temperature measuring devices and sophisticated software, SPARK is a handheld device that allows Walmart associates to manage a variety of tasks that ultimately create a safer food environment for customers. For example, it sets up reminders and checklists so that associates can monitor the temperature of the cases within the deli department – keeping cold things cold and hot things hot. And if for some reason a task isn’t performed correctly, it offers ways to fix it.

Before SPARK, these kinds of food safety checks had to be logged individually, by paper or on computer. But now, all of the information is automatically uploaded to a web-based recordkeeping system, making things a lot easier for our associates. By helping us log an immense amount of real-time data, SPARK also helps us identify patterns or trends that ensure customers are purchasing food products that are not just safe, but premium quality.

Here’s one interesting way that works: In one month, government health inspectors visited our stores across America to check the temperature of our rotisserie chickens 10 times. In that same period, Walmart also worked with a private inspection firm to check our rotisserie chickens in stores about 100 times. Through SPARK, however, we were able to record 1.4 million internal cooking temperatures of rotisserie chickens on our own. Clearly, we use these insights to prevent undercooking chickens, but we can also use them to ensure we’re not overcooking them, too – so that we serve up the freshest, juiciest chicken customers want to serve their families.

We project that nationwide, we do about 60 million food safety checks per year with the SPARK system, which is used in all Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs across the United States. That’s an achievement we’re excited about, and it’s all in the name of giving our customers the excellent products they expect to find at Walmart.

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New Year’s Traditions around the World http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141230/new-years-traditions-around-the-world I love the holidays – being surrounded by family and friends and soaking up the traditions we practice year after year. It’s these traditions that help make this time of year feel nostalgic and special. Whether watching fireworks on New Year’s Eve, lighting a Yule log for the winter solstice or… Tue, 30 Dec 2014 19:50:56 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141230/new-years-traditions-around-the-world 2014-12-30T19:50:56Z

New Year’s Traditions around the World

Life

Vice President, Walmart International Corporate Affairs

I love the holidays – being surrounded by family and friends and soaking up the traditions we practice year after year. It’s these traditions that help make this time of year feel nostalgic and special. Whether watching fireworks on New Year’s Eve, lighting a Yule log for the winter solstice or having black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for luck, holidays are celebrated in unique and meaningful ways. I have the privilege of working with the 26 countries outside the United States where Walmart serves customers, and the customs in those countries are as unique and varied as the products we carry and the languages we speak.

In Latin America, many countries eat grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve; people in Argentina and Mexico eat exactly 12 grapes, one for each chime of the clock’s bell on the countdown to midnight, to usher in a year of prosperity. In South Africa, church bells ring at midnight to officially welcome in the New Year and festive fireworks accompany cheers and greetings. In China, Chinese New Year dinner is the most important meal of the year with hot pot meals, along with local foods and wine.

But, traditions aren’t only about what you eat—they’re also what you wear! One tradition that I think is quite fun is the practice in Argentina, Brazil and Chile of buying new colorful underwear to wear on New Year’s Eve to usher in good luck, money and peace. Chileans believe the underwear should be yellow, while Argentinians wear the color pink for peace. Brazilians wear white through New Year’s Eve to usher in a year of peace. In some provinces of South Africa, carnivals take place with colorful costumes and dancing in the street.

It wouldn’t be unusual in Chile to see people at midnight on New Year’s Eve walking around the block carrying empty suitcases, hoping it will bring them travel in the New Year. In Japan, you will see Fortune or Lucky bags purchased for oneself or being given away to family and friends, filled with surprise “mystery” items to bring luck for the year.

No matter where you celebrate the holidays or how you spend your time, I hope your holiday season is filled with friendship, family, peace and, of course, luck!

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5 Ideas for a Family-Friendly New Year's Eve Party http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141226/5-ideas-for-a-family-friendly-new-years-eve-party New Year's Eve can be a lot of fun, but it doesn't have to be an occasion just for grown-ups. Kids love ringing in the new year, and celebrating New Year's Eve with them can be an opportunity to let them get into the spirit! Our family has always celebrated New Year's Eve in an inclusive manner,… Fri, 26 Dec 2014 14:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141226/5-ideas-for-a-family-friendly-new-years-eve-party 2014-12-26T14:00:00Z

5 Ideas for a Family-Friendly New Year's Eve Party

Life

Walmart Mom Blogger, www.modernmami.com

New Year's Eve can be a lot of fun, but it doesn't have to be an occasion just for grown-ups. Kids love ringing in the new year, and celebrating New Year's Eve with them can be an opportunity to let them get into the spirit!

Our family has always celebrated New Year's Eve in an inclusive manner, allowing kids to stay up until midnight (if they can make it). We enjoy some fun activities and delicious snacks, and we spend time together as a family before saying goodbye to the year. If you're looking for ideas for your own family-friendly New Year’s Eve party, consider the following ways to keep your kids and family entertained:

1. Craft Time: DIY Kids' New Year's Eve Masks

Your children will have a blast making their own New Year's Eve masks! This fun kids’ craft is a great way to pass the time while you wait for the new year to ring in. Once you’re done helping the kids make their masks, you can have fun playing dress-up and taking photos!

2. Creamy Quesitos for a Sweet Treat

These delicious quesitos (cheese puff pastries) are one of my childhood favorites! Filled with a sweet cream cheese mixture, quesitos are a beloved dessert in Puerto Rico. My kids love them, and they make a great party sweet to delight guests of all ages. They’re also an easy-to-make homemade treat, so you won't spend a lot of time in the kitchen, giving you more time to spend with the family!

3. Reflect On the Past Year

A great activity for the family is to reflect on the past year, focusing on all the great moments and memories that occurred. An easy way to do this is to set up a jar where each family member can collect and submit their good moments throughout the year. Then, on New Year's Eve, take out all the memories from your jar and read them out loud for everyone to hear and remember the good that happened. 

4. Kid-Friendly Drinks

Ever since I was a little girl, I remember drinking sparkling cider for New Year's Eve. We now do the same with our children, helping them feel like they're celebrating the occasion in a fancy way. For a twist, try adding some fresh fruit to your cider! Another kid-friendly drink idea is making a sparkling punch with your favorite juice and either ginger ale or club soda. 

5. Fun Appetizer: Pizza Empanadas

I don't know any child who doesn't love pizza, so these pizza empanadas are perfect for serving at your family-friendly New Year's Eve party. My kids absolutely love them, and they're super easy to make! The combination of the pizza flavors with the flaky baked crust is sure to be a hit with your guests. 

How does your family celebrate on New Year's Eve? What fun family-friendly ideas can you add to this list?

All photos © Melanie Edwards/modernmami™

Melanie Edwards is the founder and editor of modernmami™.com, an award-winning lifestyle blog, and a proud member of the Walmart Moms Program. Originally from Puerto Rico, Melanie now resides in the Tampa Bay area of sunny Florida with her husband of 11 years and two children. Connect with Melanie on Twitter and other social media at @modernmami.

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Brightening Spirits with The TODAY Show at Sunshine Acres http://blog.walmart.com/community/20141224/brightening-spirits-with-the-today-show-at-sunshine-acres Since its founding by the Rev. Jim and Vera Dingman in 1954, Sunshine Acres has never been just a foster home. To many of the more than 1,600 children who have lived there, it is their extended family. Set on 100 acres on the outer edge of Mesa, Arizona, the community does no formal fundraising and… Wed, 24 Dec 2014 14:15:43 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/community/20141224/brightening-spirits-with-the-today-show-at-sunshine-acres 2014-12-24T14:15:43Z

Brightening Spirits with The TODAY Show at Sunshine Acres

Community

Specialist, Digital Communications

Since its founding by the Rev. Jim and Vera Dingman in 1954, Sunshine Acres has never been just a foster home. To many of the more than 1,600 children who have lived there, it is their extended family. Set on 100 acres on the outer edge of Mesa, Arizona, the community does no formal fundraising and relies on the generosity of neighbors and strangers alike.

This month, Sunshine Acres was in for a huge surprise. As part of Getting to the Heart of Christmas, Walmart and The TODAY Show teamed up to throw the biggest holiday celebration Sunshine Acres has ever seen.

Each house received a decorated tree and an overflowing shopping cart complete with bicycles, scooters, clothing, tablets, vacuums and, of course, a Disney “Frozen” puzzle.

As the staff and kids, ranging in age from 4 months to students attending college, lined up outside of their gymnasium, Walmart associates anxiously waited to open the doors to a Christmas wonderland. Cheering filled the gym once the doors opened and it became clear that they weren’t arriving for a holiday picture (which was our cover story). Wrapping paper flew through the air as the presents were opened and shared among the families.

Associates hiding behind a curtain on a 24-foot stage revealed basketball goals, trampolines, sheets, towels and other necessities on cue.

While we had a list and checked it twice, we knew there would be gifts and items that are needed in the future, so Walmart provided $5,000 in gift cards to Sunshine Acres plus a $150 card to each family. The happiness was palpable.

The future is bright for Sunshine Acres as they look forward to building up to 25 more houses for 250 additional children. I’m beyond thankful that we could be Santa for a day to benefit such a widely praised member of the Mesa community.

Take a look at the complete story from The TODAY Show. 

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Get Crafty with Hot Cocoa Gift Packs http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141223/get-crafty-with-hot-cocoa-gift-packs How often do you find yourself wanting to do something special for the people who impact your life even just for a second? You know, people like your mail/parcel couriers, the lady in the checkout line who stopped your toddler from having a meltdown, the elderly woman who marveled at… Tue, 23 Dec 2014 14:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141223/get-crafty-with-hot-cocoa-gift-packs 2014-12-23T14:00:00Z

Get Crafty with Hot Cocoa Gift Packs

Life

Walmart Mom Blogger, Sophistishe.com

How often do you find yourself wanting to do something special for the people who impact your life even just for a second? You know, people like your mail/parcel couriers, the lady in the checkout line who stopped your toddler from having a meltdown, the elderly woman who marveled at how well-behaved and beautiful your children are, the Salvation Army Bell Ringers who stand out in the cold. Those people! The people who show there's still hope for humanity.

As a token of gratitude this holiday season, you can offer up a little something that shows your appreciation without breaking the pocketbook. I love the idea of giving the gift of a warm drink. Hot cocoa kits are such an affordable treat, but all of the kits that I've found have been more appropriate for holiday parties or gift exchanges where the recipient is prepared to receive a gift. I came up with a version more suitable for gifting on-the-go. I created hot cocoa packs that are light and pocket-sized, perfect for a quick exchange. For under $20 you can make 30 of these sweet pocket packs to brighten someone's day! Pay it forward with a hot cocoa gift pack!

Materials Swiss Miss Classics Hot Cocoa Mix with Marshmallows

Assorted Holiday Chocolates

Miniature Candy Canes

Paper lunch bags

Decorative printable

Craft glue

Twine

Instruction

How To Print On Lunch Bags

The easiest way to print on a paper lunch bag is to make sure that you tape down any loose flaps and openings. If using the printable below, open it up in a program such as Photoshop or Microsoft Word, and set the page size to 5×10. How you load the lunch bag in depends on your printer. If you load your paper on the top of the printer, the bag must be inserted upside down (opening pointing down) with the front of the bag facing you. If you have a bottom-loading printer, the bag will go in right-side up (opening pointing up) with the front of the bag lying flat on the paper tray.

Folding The Bags

Fold the bags to best accommodate the design on the front of the bag and the treats you place inside. I folded and glued the back flap in half. After filling the bags, I folded the top of the bag towards the bag and glued it in place.

Filling The Bags

Decide how many packets of cocoa and pieces of candy you'd like to fill each bag with. I chose to fill each of my packs with two cocoa packets, candy canes, and chocolate kisses and one each of the other variety of chocolate candies. I tied a baker's knot around the packs for a festive holiday parcel effect.

I hope you are able to use this gift idea to spread some holiday cheer. Happy gifting and Happy Holidays!

Walmart Mom blogger, Sheena Tatum, is the mom behind the blog Sophistishe.com.

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A Happy Tearjerker: Behind the Scenes of Coke and Walmart’s Ad http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141222/a-happy-tearjerker-behind-the-scenes-of-coke-and-walmarts-ad When Darlene Rodriguez first read the script for a holiday commercial her 13-year-old son, David, had been invited to audition for, the tears started flowing immediately. “I got emotional,” she said of the co-branded spot for Coca-Cola and Walmart, which premiered earlier this month. “I… Mon, 22 Dec 2014 21:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141222/a-happy-tearjerker-behind-the-scenes-of-coke-and-walmarts-ad 2014-12-22T21:00:00Z

A Happy Tearjerker: Behind the Scenes of Coke and Walmart’s Ad

Life

Editor, Coca-Cola Journey

When Darlene Rodriguez first read the script for a holiday commercial her 13-year-old son, David, had been invited to audition for, the tears started flowing immediately.

“I got emotional,” she said of the co-branded spot for Coca-Cola and Walmart, which premiered earlier this month. “I said to myself: ‘This is going to be one of those commercials that makes you cry and stays on your mind long after you’ve seen it.’”

“Earn It” tells the story of a teen boy who spots his dream bike in a Walmart flyer, then does everything from selling ice-cold Coca-Cola, to chopping wood to earn enough money to buy it. The closing scene features a touching twist when he surprises his little brother with the bike on Christmas morning.

Watch the commercial above, and then get the rest of the story, including more interviews and photos, at Coca-Cola Journey.

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The Best Christmas Card is a Gift Card, Shoppers Say http://blog.walmart.com/business/20141222/the-best-christmas-card-is-a-gift-card-shoppers-say Pressed for time? Can’t think of the perfect gift? Want to avoid buying something that will go unused? Gift cards save the day in all of these scenarios, and more people are choosing them year after year. Gift card spending in the U.S. has increased 83% since 2003, according to a National Retail… Mon, 22 Dec 2014 14:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20141222/the-best-christmas-card-is-a-gift-card-shoppers-say 2014-12-22T14:00:00Z

The Best Christmas Card is a Gift Card, Shoppers Say

Business

Director – Payment Services, Walmart

Pressed for time? Can’t think of the perfect gift? Want to avoid buying something that will go unused? Gift cards save the day in all of these scenarios, and more people are choosing them year after year.

Gift card spending in the U.S. has increased 83% since 2003, according to a National Retail Federation survey, with the average person buying them spending more than $170 this year. Today, we as consumers can purchase a gift card from just about any brand imaginable, so this makes total sense. At Walmart, our customers tell us that they like giving gift cards because it allows them to provide their loved ones choices – an excellent option for someone who’s hard to please.

More than 80% of adults plan to purchase at least one gift card of some kind this season, the NRF says, and we see many Walmart customers picking up several at a time, in multiple denominations and brands. While the Walmart gift card remains a popular purchase, so do Apple iTunes, Darden Restaurants, Starbucks and Xbox, four of more than 50 third-party offerings we’ve added to our assortment since 2002.

In these final few days before Christmas, gift cards are a common last-minute buy to use as stocking stuffers. So over the years, we’ve not only made them available at each register – we’ve also placed them in a centralized display at the front of the store for convenience. Even easier is shopping our gift card section on Walmart.com, where you can have one delivered directly to your recipient in less than 24 hours.

Is there anyone out there who still thinks the gift card is a thoughtless choice? Sales trends show that this is a perception that’s quickly fading away. More than 62% of shoppers the NRF surveyed said they’d like to receive a gift card, and Walmart customers typically redeem gift cards that were purchased during the holiday season quickly – the majority of those are spent by Jan. 31.

Clearly, the freedom and fun that come with a gift card make it the perfect present for many of us. But you can make it even more enjoyable through presentation. You’ll find uniquely shaped tins and other ready-to-go wrapping choices on our gift card display, and if you want to add an extra-special element of care, check out our Pinterest board with 17 crafty ways to make your purchase even prettier.    

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Your Last-Minute Holiday Shopping Survival Guide http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141218/your-last-minute-holiday-shopping-survival-guide The holiday season happens the same time each year. But whether we’re too busy, still searching for the perfect gifts or just plain procrastinating, plenty of us find ourselves shopping with just a few days – or even hours – left to go. I fall into all of these categories, and if you do, too,… Thu, 18 Dec 2014 05:01:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141218/your-last-minute-holiday-shopping-survival-guide 2014-12-18T05:01:00Z

Your Last-Minute Holiday Shopping Survival Guide

Life

Sr. Manager, Walmart Digital Communications

The holiday season happens the same time each year. But whether we’re too busy, still searching for the perfect gifts or just plain procrastinating, plenty of us find ourselves shopping with just a few days – or even hours – left to go. I fall into all of these categories, and if you do, too, you’re not alone: More than one-third of Walmart customers surveyed recently said they were planning to shop on Super Saturday, aka Dec. 20, the last Saturday before Christmas. (See Survey Results)

How do you make the switch from dawdling to getting it done, fast? The key is a solid plan. Clearly, you’re running out of time to build one, so check out these tips to get started.

 

1.  Make a list, and check it twice. It’s Santa’s motto for a reason. The last thing you need to do now is forget something. By shopping at Walmart, you can make one trip and cross off everything, from gifts and groceries to wine and that tradition many of us forget about: stocking stuffers.

2.  About those stocking stuffers … If you need ideas, you don’t have to search aisle after aisle. Many of our stores will have a designated display with more than 30 items for less than $10, including Barbie, Transformers, Legos and card games. If you want to be extra prepared, consider picking up an extra stocking or two in case a surprise guest stops by.

3.  If you’re not hosting, be sure to say thanks to those who are. Decorating and cooking – and maintaining a merry mood at the same time – is a lot of work. Ensure your host knows you appreciate it all by picking up a bottle of wine or some nice coffee.

4.  Traveling? Keep your presents pretty by waiting to wrap until you arrive. With more than 4,300 Walmart locations across the U.S., odds are you can find what you need just about anywhere. And if you don’t want to pack any gifts at all, gift cards are the perfect option.

5.  Speaking of gift cards, they’re a last-minute choice that’s more popular than ever. And with more than 50 types of gift cards at Walmart (and also eGift Cards on Walmart.com!), there’s bound to be something to please everyone on your list. If by some miracle you find yourself with a few extra moments, check out these crafty ways to dress them up.

6.  Rather get a real gift? Go for these options with universal appeal. Everyone loves a good gift basket, and you’ll find all kinds of them in our stores. Or, go for the super practical: Anyone could use a nice new set of towels. You’ll also find hundreds of new Rollbacks on other cool items – check out a few of those here.

7.  For the toy-focused crowd, this may be the most important tip of all: Get batteries. Don’t be the Grinch who gives a gift that doesn’t work. Ensure you’re set for anything by picking up a pack with multiple sizes and voltages.

8.  Don’t forget games the entire family can enjoy. After dinner and gifts are over, you’ll have nothing but quality time. Fill those awkward hours with board games, cards and maybe a few family-friendly DVDs.

9.  Got the wrong gift? No worries. Generally, Walmart accepts returns within 90 days of purchase, and you can find the exceptions and all other details here.

10. Above all, mark your calendar to get it done before Christmas. Most Walmart stores are open 24 hours, seven days a week, but the only day they close all year is Dec. 25. Many of our stores will be open until 8 p.m. Dec. 24 (you can check your store’s specific hours here), but we’re always open on Walmart.com. Just keep in mind at that point that you’ll need to allow a little time for delivery!

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Deck your Halls in a Twinkling http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141215/deck-your-halls-in-a-twinkling When we got together with the Walmart Moms recently, we all agreed on one thing: Holiday decorating shouldn’t cost us so much time and money! So when I shared these ideas for decking the halls—Better Homes and Gardens style—a party mood ensued. Consider these snapshots our party favors for you!… Mon, 15 Dec 2014 19:43:13 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141215/deck-your-halls-in-a-twinkling 2014-12-15T19:43:13Z

Deck your Halls in a Twinkling

Life

Better Homes and Gardens Style Director

When we got together with the Walmart Moms recently, we all agreed on one thing: Holiday decorating shouldn’t cost us so much time and money! So when I shared these ideas for decking the halls—Better Homes and Gardens style—a party mood ensued. Consider these snapshots our party favors for you!

Hands on the cookie jar

Modern LED candles take the worry out of warm, flickering candlelight. For more size and drama, I shopped the seasonal aisle and found this delightful canister large enough to tuck in floral foam and a few fresh greens. For a final flourish, I banded the candle with burlap ribbon held by pearl pins and a button charm.

Serve up seasonal style

Rethink your serving pieces for fresh style, fast. Use a serving bowl upside down as a pedestal and adorn it with ribbon. (Double-stick tape is great to use for this, plus it removes in a flash.) Top it with a chip-and-dip tray to hold sparkly new ornaments. Then place a small cereal bowl into the center dip compartment and add an arrangement of fresh flowers. Tip: Use double-sided foam tape to secure stacked serving pieces and bowls.

Pretty as a picture

These new serving pieces have the nostalgic, natural appeal of botanical art. We stacked them into a towering masterpiece to add height to a buffet or serving table. Floral foam holds greenery in the bowls.

Two if by season

Bright, graphic lanterns are the accessory of the moment…a perfect match for super-popular LED candles. We love the flashy red one, especially when it signals Santa season with translucent inserts.

Create these shades in a dash by copying vintage greeting card images of ole Saint Nick onto precut, 8.5” X 11” vellum sheets. Cut the sheets to size for the lantern windows, slip them into place and secure with invisible tape.

The lustre of objects

Set your tabletop aglow with this sparkling take on frost and firelight. I studded the wax shells of our LED candles with pearl pins for a fancy finish. I traced a simple snowflake design, trimmed the pins to ½-inch with a wire cutter, and pushed them into the wax. Surround them with glittery sticks or, even easier, fresh greenery.

What holiday decorating ideas would you like to share? Let us know in the comments section. And make sure to check back here for more tips from the teams at Better Homes and Gardens and the Walmart Blog.

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5 Tips for Your Best Gingerbread House http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141211/5-tips-for-your-best-gingerbread-house Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the December issue of Walmart World, the magazine for Walmart associates. Stacie Clawson is a cake decorator at Store 3789 in Ogden, Utah, and a three-time winner of Walmart’s annual cake-decorating contest. Get Started Read all instructions… Thu, 11 Dec 2014 16:17:57 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141211/5-tips-for-your-best-gingerbread-house 2014-12-11T16:17:57Z

5 Tips for Your Best Gingerbread House

Life

Cake Decorator, Walmart #3789

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the December issue of Walmart World, the magazine for Walmart associates. Stacie Clawson is a cake decorator at Store 3789 in Ogden, Utah, and a three-time winner of Walmart’s annual cake-decorating contest.

Get Started

Read all instructions included in the kit, and lay out all the pieces to get an idea of what you're working with. Before breaking the gingerbread apart, go across the impression lines with a serrated knife to get a cleaner break. 

Decorate

Before assembling the pieces, pipe icing on the windows and doors and add small details like swirls or dots. Then let everything dry completely. When it’s time to put the house together, make sure the scalloped patterns on rooftops are going the same direction. I've put them on upside down more than once!

Involve the Kids

Let them sort out the candy, which can include things that don’t come in the kit. My boys like to use striped gum for walkways and rooftops. Pretzels also make cute fences, and sanding sugar makes things sparkle! (Sprinkle sanding sugar on wet icing—it won’t stick on dry icing.) 

I always make extra icing so each child has his or her own sandwich baggie with a twist-tie top. Cut a little hole in the corner, and they're all set.

Smooth It Out

Dip your spatula into hot water to get the icing on the roof smooth. Don’t want to make your own icing? A little container of premade frosting from the baking aisle goes a long way. 

Stay Dry

After your gingerbread house is complete, keep it away from moisture—avoid humidifiers, dishwashers, and teakettles, for example.    

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Here Comes Santa Claus! 7 Tips for Your Best Photo http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141205/here-comes-santa-claus-7-tips-for-your-best-photo The song says “you better not cry, you better not pout,” but let’s be honest – those reactions can be somewhat common when it comes to taking a child’s photo with Santa. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this weekend, Dec. 6-7, and next weekend, Dec. 13-14, you can bring your kids to visit jolly St. Nick at… Fri, 05 Dec 2014 22:33:47 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141205/here-comes-santa-claus-7-tips-for-your-best-photo 2014-12-05T22:33:47Z

Here Comes Santa Claus! 7 Tips for Your Best Photo

Life

Sr. Manager, Walmart Photo Services

The song says “you better not cry, you better not pout,” but let’s be honest – those reactions can be somewhat common when it comes to taking a child’s photo with Santa.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this weekend, Dec. 6-7, and next weekend, Dec. 13-14, you can bring your kids to visit jolly St. Nick at several Walmart stores. Our photo department associates will be there to take pictures, and you can pick up your free 5x7 copy after you’re done with your shopping.

 So, how can you ensure your child’s moment with Mr. Claus is frame-worthy? Click here to find a participating store, and then consider these tips to get ready beforehand.

  1. Prepare. Talk to your kids at least a day before the visit. Show them photos of their friends or relatives with Santa, and talk about how much fun it will be to share their Christmas wishes in person. Choose your words carefully: Making comments such as “don’t be scared” may have the opposite effect!
  2. Dress for the occasion. When you think about using the photo for your Christmas cards, or even just having it around as a memory for years to come, it makes sense to be selective about clothing (for example, avoid T-shirts with logos).
  3. Be flexible. Try not to show up with great expectations of how perfect your photo will be. Candid moments sometimes make the best pictures.
  4. Don’t forget your wish list. When your kids bring in their written letter or wish list to hand to Santa, it’s a moment that helps break the ice and allows for a natural interaction between the two.
  5. Bring supplies. Have snacks, toys or even a favorite teddy bear handy to help ease fears and make a timid child more comfortable.
  6. Be ready to distract. If there were ever a time to act silly behind the camera, it’s now. Once you drop your child off on Santa’s lap, do what you can to ensure you’re still visible so your child feels secure.
  7. Have fun! Remember – they are kids, after all, and this shouldn’t be stressful. Keep a positive and upbeat attitude, and you’re even more likely to have great results.
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Entertaining Made Easy: Food and Drink Pairings to Start the Season http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141204/entertaining-made-easy-food-and-drink-pairings-to-start-the-season While gifts are often top of mind during the holidays, we can’t forget about what’s just as important: food. From large family gatherings to cocktail parties and making cookies with the kids, there’s something edible at nearly every celebration. There are often several occasions to plan for, so it… Thu, 04 Dec 2014 20:00:22 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141204/entertaining-made-easy-food-and-drink-pairings-to-start-the-season 2014-12-04T20:00:22Z

Entertaining Made Easy: Food and Drink Pairings to Start the Season

Life

Sr. Vice President – Deli, Bakery, Deli and Frozen, Walmart

While gifts are often top of mind during the holidays, we can’t forget about what’s just as important: food. From large family gatherings to cocktail parties and making cookies with the kids, there’s something edible at nearly every celebration. There are often several occasions to plan for, so it never hurts to get a few good ideas. This Saturday, you can jot down a few of those and get your shopping done at the same time at the Taste of Entertaining event at Walmart.

From noon to 4 p.m. on Dec. 6 in select stores, you can sample a variety of foods and easy recipes from our Holiday Entertaining Guide. Check out these pairings from the ingredient list to get the party started.

The holiday season just happens to be cranberry season, too, which explains why they’re everywhere this time of year – from the dinner table to festive fragrances and decorations. Work this popular fruit into your menu in an unexpected way with this new twist on a cheeseball and accompanying cocktail.

Holiday Cranberry-Pecan Cheeseball // Cran Mint a Rita

While turkey and ham are a tradition for many this time of year, others crave something different. How about spicy Southwestern? Set the theme for your celebration with some chile pepper string lights, and then get your guests going with these flavorful frozen appetizers and an out-of-the-ordinary margarita.

Chili’s Southwestern Bites // Pomegranate-Lime Margarita

Of all the sweet treats served over the holidays, candy canes are one of the most iconic. They’re also a great complement to chocolate, a delicious way to finish off any great meal. Whether you’re warming up after caroling or need a quick dessert for your next party, this cool hot cocoa and simple sandwich cookies are sure to hit the spot.

Peppermint Sandwiches // Peppermint Hot Chocolate Float

Not all get-togethers are for grown-ups. Let’s not forget who really rules the holidays – kids. Little ones love to help in the kitchen, and with these fun desserts, they’ll love the final product, too. Make these creative cookies even more special by serving them with a fun, fizzy drink the whole family can enjoy.

Melted Snowman and Reindeer Cookie Balls // Welch’s Sparkling White Grape Juice Cocktail

If an ideal party for you involves fancy china, but this year, you’re short on time, good news: You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen to pull together a tasteful experience for your guests. These classic hors d’oeuvres don’t even need cooking, and this new wine by Giuliana Rancic comes packaged in four individual glasses. (P.S. – Love wine, but unsure what to serve it with? Check out our Wine 101 guide for a quick rundown.)

Nancy’s Deli Spirals // Xo, G Wine

Cold weather calls for serving a spicy, warm drink, and cinnamon spirits make it even more festive. Balance out the bite with everyone’s favorite party dip, and spruce up the presentation with a bake-at-home bread boule.

Spinach Ranch Artichoke Dip // Christmas Hug

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Behind the Scenes at Walmart’s Black Friday http://blog.walmart.com/business/20141125/behind-the-scenes-at-walmarts-black-friday 2 million TVs. 300,000 bicycles. 2.8 million towels. These are just a few of the items sold at last year’s Black Friday event at Walmart. The merchandise tells an amazing story alone, but how do all those products get into customers’ hands? How does such a big event come together in thousands of… Wed, 26 Nov 2014 01:26:46 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20141125/behind-the-scenes-at-walmarts-black-friday 2014-11-26T01:26:46Z

Behind the Scenes at Walmart’s Black Friday

Business

Project Manager, Walmart Store Operations Support

2 million TVs. 300,000 bicycles. 2.8 million towels. These are just a few of the items sold at last year’s Black Friday event at Walmart. The merchandise tells an amazing story alone, but how do all those products get into customers’ hands? How does such a big event come together in thousands of stores across the country? Let’s take a look at these facts instead.

More than 90% of our front registers in Walmart stores across the U.S. were open during last year’s Black Friday event. And for me, an operations manager whose job centers on continually improving the organization and execution of this important time, Black Friday comprises 60% of my entire yearly workload. Interesting details for sure, but the goal I’m working toward is actually not about a number. It’s about helping our customers go home satisfied with an extraordinary shopping experience.

Here are a few of the ways Walmart is doing this:

Getting you directions to get there fast

As early as August, my team works with each store to create individual maps and plan techniques they can use to guide customer traffic efficiently around popular items. That also applies to checking out.   This year, for example, in our busiest stores, we’ve devised the most concise route to our registers and have organized clear paths for customers to take.

Helping you find what you need with ease

Each year, we look at all the signs we have in stores and how we can make them better.  Listening to feedback from our customers, one change we’ve made this year is decreasing the amount of red and white balloons on product displays to allow for a clearer view of the entire store. Signs also include displays such as cardboard bins for DVDs. We have a quality assurance process dedicated solely to that type of setup, so we can help ensure the material is sturdy enough and the color is just right.

Training hard and staffing up

Black Friday at Walmart is pretty much all hands on deck. Every associate has a role, which is decided as early as August. Many associates are assigned specific computer-based and hands-on training, and afterward, we organize practice runs of several new and existing event processes.

When the day finally arrives, it goes by fast and it’s a lot of fun. We’re all working hard, but we’re all there together and we’re going to have a great time. I know this from experience, having started out at Walmart 9 years ago as a cashier and working my way up to store manager, where I led Black Friday events at three different locations.

There’s so much excitement in the store that day, and I love to see customers go home happy with carts full of TVs, pajamas and even tinfoil to put up Thanksgiving leftovers. This year, my job means I’ll be watching events unfold not at one store, but from afar at the home office. That’s OK with me, because now I have the privilege of experiencing Black Friday energy all year round.

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What Really Happens on Black Friday at Walmart http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141125/what-really-happens-on-black-friday-at-walmart The “Super Bowl of Retail” is just around the corner, and for the third straight season, I’m pumped to be playing a part. This year, I’m even more excited because I’ve been asked to share an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at what happens inside a typical Walmart on Black Friday. And I get to do… Tue, 25 Nov 2014 21:09:46 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141125/what-really-happens-on-black-friday-at-walmart 2014-11-25T21:09:46Z

What Really Happens on Black Friday at Walmart

Life

Claims Supervisor, Store 2902, Framingham, Mass.

The “Super Bowl of Retail” is just around the corner, and for the third straight season, I’m pumped to be playing a part. This year, I’m even more excited because I’ve been asked to share an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at what happens inside a typical Walmart on Black Friday.

And I get to do it on Twitter.

I’ll be taking over @WalmartHub to live-tweet throughout my shift from 12 a.m. to 8 a.m. ET on Friday, November 28. I’ll start the night helping customers waiting for video games, then I’ll be helping others throughout the store, making sure they have the best Black Friday experience possible. We’ll have three major sales events during those eight hours, so there will be a lot of excitement and tons to share.

While I was in school in Puerto Rico, studying to become a registered nurse, I applied for a job at Walmart as a cashier to make some extra money. Something that I thought would be a temporary job has turned into something I love, especially on Black Friday. You see everything here, and you get to help customers. Making them happy makes me happy.

I’m excited to give you a unique view into the world of retail on the craziest, most awesome day of the year. I hope you’ll follow along.

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Just in Time for Turkey: Easy Dining Room Style http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141124/just-in-time-for-turkey-easy-dining-room-style A day set aside to gather and be grateful—and share amazing food—is our kind of holiday. Our tradition is to invite “Thanksgiving orphans," friends not able to join distant family. We love the merry mix of familiar and fresh faces around the table.Talking Turkey Because we want seasonal decorating… Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:20:28 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141124/just-in-time-for-turkey-easy-dining-room-style 2014-11-24T16:20:28Z

Just in Time for Turkey: Easy Dining Room Style

Life

Better Homes and Gardens Style Director

A day set aside to gather and be grateful—and share amazing food—is our kind of holiday. Our tradition is to invite “Thanksgiving orphans," friends not able to join distant family. We love the merry mix of familiar and fresh faces around the table.

Talking Turkey

Because we want seasonal decorating to fluctuate like the guest list, we decorated our dining room for flexibility. Cross-back chairs and a trestle table add a graphic punch and mix with other styles, like the upholstered parsons chairs, to avoid a matchy-matchy look.

Mix it Up

Our furniture moves around a lot, so I go for classic designs in neutral fabrics and finishes. Take the simple, country console. I fell for its driftwood-like finish—it works with the darker woods and woven ready-made curtains. The bonus? It can also be a media console. 

Whites Always Work

To keep the focus on the feast and guests, we like to keep things calm – but not dull! Mixing dinnerware patterns gives each place setting more personality. Some years I mix vintage pieces in with new classics purchased along the way. To keep it simple, update the china cupboard with whites, creams or neutrals.

Easy Elegance

This year the theme is refined rustic using textural autumn accents. A loosely woven runner anchors the theme and the tableware. To keep it simple and sophisticated, go for a tone-on-tone look using cool white porcelain pieces or creamy stoneware.

Focal-Point Centerpieces

Planning ahead also leaves time to think about the centerpiece. For fun, mix it up and bring different elements into play. Candles are a must for special gathering, but this year I’m tucking them into lanterns instead of candlesticks. A smattering of mini gourds and leaves add pops of seasonal color. 

Nuts for Nature

Centerpieces don’t need to be elaborate to be memorable. Think about what mood you want to create, then add a few surprises. Nature’s bounty creates foolproof instant style: Look how chic mixed nuts and simple votive candles look in a modern platter.

Not Just for Kids

Don’t forget to make the kids feel special! Who could resist these charming woodland friends? They're so adorable that we'll need to work a few onto the “big kids’” table. 

What are your favorite table-setting ideas for the holidays? Share them in the comments section. And be sure to check back here for more tips from the teams at Better Homes and Gardens and the Walmart Blog. 

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A Thanksgiving for Every Table http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141120/a-thanksgiving-for-every-table Holiday traditions are different in every household, even for the most mainstream occasions. My Southern grandmother serves lasagna for Christmas dinner each year and refuses help in the kitchen. However, my in-laws celebrate every major holiday potluck-style, and guests bring their favorite side… Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:28:44 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141120/a-thanksgiving-for-every-table 2014-11-20T18:28:44Z

A Thanksgiving for Every Table

Life

Director, Walmart Digital Communications

Holiday traditions are different in every household, even for the most mainstream occasions. My Southern grandmother serves lasagna for Christmas dinner each year and refuses help in the kitchen. However, my in-laws celebrate every major holiday potluck-style, and guests bring their favorite side dish and dessert.   

Thanksgiving is only one week away, and whether you’re serving traditional favorites or spicing up the holiday with the unexpected, you’ll find a solution for every table at Walmart. 

The Traditionalist on a Budget

You clip coupons on the regular, and you buy in bulk. You love the holidays, not just because of the family get-togethers, but also for the out-of-this-world deals that retailers offer on these special occasions. 

If you’re looking to get the biggest bang for your Thanksgiving buck, it’s no surprise that Walmart is the smartest one-stop shop. Did you know you can provide a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 for only $32.64 at Walmart? That’s 34% less than the average Thanksgiving meal, according to the latest annual survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation.  And, to give customers even more peace of mind, our Savings Catcher tool now includes the holiday meal centerpiece – holiday ham and turkey.

Money-saving tips:

  • Use Savings Catcher to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your ham or turkey.
  • Look for Great Value, Marketside and Sam’s Choice products for quality, affordable groceries.
  • Save time and money by making a list for your shopping trip.

Must-have dish: Green Bean Casserole: 6 ingredients, crowd-pleasing, and budget friendly

The Busy Host

You don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen. You have a family, responsibilities, or more important things to do than hover over turkey. Or maybe, like me, you work during the holidays and prefer to relax and watch the parade rather than stand at a hot stove. Whatever your reason for wanting a good meal made quickly, we’ve got you covered.

Time-saving tips: 

  • Frozen appetizers can make time fly as guests wait for the main meal. And, they’ve gotten a gourmet upgrade this year – for example, our Sam’s Choice mozzarella cheese sticks now include asiago cheese, and our sliders now include a pretzel bun.
  • Take a shortcut with ready-made frozen piecrusts, dinner rolls or some of Walmart’s pre-made pies found in the bakery section.

Must-have dish: 

Heavenly Sweet Potatoes: a flavor-packed dish in only 30-minutes.

The Adventurous Chef

You fear no new recipe. You laugh in the face of traditional holiday food. Thanksgiving is your Super Bowl. You’ve been waiting for this all year, and now is your time to shine. You think Walmart just has the basics? Wrong. We have the traditional Thanksgiving meal and those unpredictable ingredients you’re looking for.

Tips to impress:

  • To start, pair the perfect wine with Old Croc Australian Sharp Cheddar or Rembrandt Aged Gouda. 
  • Premium Sam’s Choice Spiral Ham in Molasses Bacon and Honey Glazed.
  • Finish on a sophisticated sweet note! Macaroons, supplied by a French patisserie, for only $7.98 per dozen.

Must-have dish:

Bacon, Pear & Walnut Stuffing: introduce new flavors to a traditional dish to wow your guests.

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Make Your Home Ready for Holiday Guests http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141119/make-your-home-ready-for-holiday-guests Seasonal gatherings often bring my friends and family together from near and far. When my loved ones come to stay, I want them to feel comfortable and well cared for. After all, my house is their house — at least for a short time. Here are some of my favorite, low-stress ideas to prep my home for… Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:26:13 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141119/make-your-home-ready-for-holiday-guests 2014-11-19T16:26:13Z

Make Your Home Ready for Holiday Guests

Life

Better Homes and Gardens Style Director

Seasonal gatherings often bring my friends and family together from near and far. When my loved ones come to stay, I want them to feel comfortable and well cared for. After all, my house is their house — at least for a short time. Here are some of my favorite, low-stress ideas to prep my home for the arrival of houseguests.

Memorable First Impressions

I like my home to say, “Welcome!” from the moment guests walk in—literally. I print out a message or holiday greeting on pretty patterned paper and place it in a frame to display near the door. I also add soft lighting with a lamp and glowing candles for a warm, inviting feeling.

Seasonal Scents

I love filling my home with fragrance and always place scented candles or wax warmers (one flavor at a time, please!) around rooms where everyone gathers to create ambience and get guests in the holiday spirit. Don’t forget the bathroom and guest room, too!

A Space of Their Own

After the hustle and bustle of travel or the merriment of holiday activities, guests appreciate a quiet, private retreat. I make the bed the focal point of the guest room — a glamorous comforter with accent pillows in plush textures will feel luxurious, and updates the room in minutes. I always keep spare blankets and pillows close at hand so guests can customize their comfort, and finish off with a throw for extra warmth.

 

Beautify the Bath

A fun way to help everyone keep track of whose towel is whose in a shared bathroom is to assign everyone his or her very own color. Pamper guests – and dress up your sink counter – with elegant bath accessories filled with lotion and soap in fragrances that celebrate the holidays.

Until Next Time

Once guests are gone, I store their clean bedding and towels in a special spot separate from my own daily linens to keep them looking new. Do the same, and you’ll be relaxed and ready the next time you welcome loved ones again.

Got any favorite guest-hosting strategies that make your life easier? Share them in the comments section. And be sure to check back here for more tips from the teams at Better Homes and Gardens and the Walmart Blog. 

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Why I’m Thankful for Friendsgiving http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141117/why-im-thankful-for-friendsgiving We’ve all heard the saying: Friends are the family you choose. Thanksgiving is a time for being with family, but a Thursday holiday isn’t always convenient for traveling. So for the past several years, I’ve enjoyed my turkey with a handful of non-relatives, and now it’s a tradition that I wouldn’t… Tue, 18 Nov 2014 04:58:22 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141117/why-im-thankful-for-friendsgiving 2014-11-18T04:58:22Z

Why I’m Thankful for Friendsgiving

Life

Copy Manager, Private Brand Packaging, Walmart

We’ve all heard the saying: Friends are the family you choose. Thanksgiving is a time for being with family, but a Thursday holiday isn’t always convenient for traveling. So for the past several years, I’ve enjoyed my turkey with a handful of non-relatives, and now it’s a tradition that I wouldn’t have any other way.

It started seven years ago when my husband and I moved to Arkansas so he could work for Walmart. Our family is from Mississippi, eight hours away, and we couldn’t fit a trip into our schedule. My husband mentioned that many of his coworkers were in the same situation, so on Thanksgiving we opened our doors and created our own family.

While this is how we’ve celebrated every year since then and how we plan to do it in the future, apparently it’s a trend that’s growing. Some are calling it Friendsgiving, and according to a Walmart survey*, 65% of millennials have either celebrated the holiday in the past or have heard of the term and plan to make it their tradition this year.

The survey was split between millennials who put their own twist on the meal or prepare nontraditional dishes, and those who go the traditional route. I am a traditionalist myself. But because I’m in charge of the cooking, typically serving around 12 to 15 dishes, there have been a few years I’ve proposed switching to a taco bar. While mixing up the menu is what many of the millennials surveyed commonly do, my crowd likes the conventional for now. After all, as my 6-year-old daughter pointed out, it’s the only day of the year we call turkey day.

Yes, cooking that much is definitely a lot of work (truthfully, I do give myself a break with the turkey – our favorite is a fried version from a local restaurant) but it’s all worth it when I see our friends relaxing on the couch, watching football and happily stuffed. Oh, and it’s also worth it for the sweet potato pie, my absolute favorite part of the meal. I typically make four of those, and I could eat one all by myself.

Because my daughter was born shortly after we moved here in 2008, she’s never known Thanksgiving any other way. This year, we have a new baby boy, and we’re excited to share our nontraditional tradition with him.

*Online omnibus survey of 1,055 millennials conducted by Toluna on Nov. 3-6.    

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How to Make the Most of Walmart’s New Black Friday http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141112/how-to-make-the-most-of-walmarts-new-black-friday In many families, it’s a Thanksgiving tradition: Poring over a fat stack of Black Friday ads while enjoying an equally sizable piece of pie. You map out your plan, and a few hours later, hit several different stores before the sun comes up. This year, that will be different. Let’s be clear: I’m… Wed, 12 Nov 2014 05:01:05 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141112/how-to-make-the-most-of-walmarts-new-black-friday 2014-11-12T05:01:05Z

How to Make the Most of Walmart’s New Black Friday

Life

Chief Merchandising Officer, Walmart U.S.

In many families, it’s a Thanksgiving tradition: Poring over a fat stack of Black Friday ads while enjoying an equally sizable piece of pie. You map out your plan, and a few hours later, hit several different stores before the sun comes up.

This year, that will be different.

Let’s be clear: I’m certainly not advocating that you lose the pie. But after you read up on Walmart’s New Black Friday experience, I’m betting you won’t care what’s happening elsewhere. Here’s a quick guide to get you started – the most important point being that the timing is all up to you.

With five days of deals, there really is a time for everyone. In years past, it's been this dilemma: Set your alarm, or not even bother with sleep? Walmart’s Black Friday schedule of events start Thursday, Nov. 27 and last through Monday, Dec. 1, allowing everyone – adults and kids – to make shopping part of their weekend schedule.

No interest in leaving your couch? No problem. In fact, you can start even earlier when you shop our digital aisles at Walmart.com. Early Thursday morning, Nov. 27, our website will offer some of the same deals that will be available in stores that evening – in addition to hundreds of online-only specials that include free shipping. (And don’t forget Cyber Monday, when we’ll offer even more amazing prices … details coming soon.)

Shop even smarter by prepping with our smart circular. When you’re searching for the perfect gift, item and price is only half the story. While you’re on Walmart.com, check out our first-ever interactive circular for product reviews, buying guides, how-to tutorials and other tips.

Really great gifts, guaranteed. Get in designated areas of the store between 6 and 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 27, and you can either purchase and take home select gifts you want, or have them shipped to a Walmart store before Christmas. It’s called our 1-Hour Guarantee, and building on feedback from our customers, we’ve simplified the process even further this year. See the graphic here for details, and then click here for a list of items that qualify.

Wristbands = the end of waiting in line for nothing. Have you ever shopped Black Friday for that one important item, waited patiently and then went home disappointed? At Walmart, we’ll give you a wristband for in-demand products like the Beats Pill, iPad Air and Nabi 2 Tablet so your time isn’t wasted.

Find what you need faster with store maps. Now that you won’t be mapping out your shopping trip all over town, you can concentrate on exactly where you need to go in our stores. Starting Nov. 18, we’ll have maps on Walmart.com that highlight where 1-Hour Guarantee items, wristband items and other popular products like DVDs and sheets will be located. Printed copies will be available in-store, and you can also access them on our mobile app during the 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. events on Thursday, Nov. 27.

So that’s Walmart’s New Black Friday, choose-your-own shopping style. You’ll find the brands and prices you want, and as we work hard to serve you with changes like our Checkout Promise, you’ll have an experience that’s even better. I’ll be visiting stores this Black Friday, and I’m tempted to pick up a few things myself. Have fun, and maybe I’ll see you there!

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6 Ways Walmart Made its Mark in Retail History http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20141105/6-ways-walmart-made-its-mark-in-retail-history Today, 95 Walmart associates in Greenbrier, Arkansas, marked an incredible milestone: the grand opening of our 5,000th U.S. location, a Neighborhood Market. Since our first store opening in 1962, associates just like these have not only helped us serve customers all across America – they’ve also… Tue, 11 Nov 2014 21:00:15 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20141105/6-ways-walmart-made-its-mark-in-retail-history 2014-11-11T21:00:15Z

6 Ways Walmart Made its Mark in Retail History

Heritage

Sr. Director, Walmart Heritage Group

Today, 95 Walmart associates in Greenbrier, Arkansas, marked an incredible milestone: the grand opening of our 5,000th U.S. location, a Neighborhood Market. Since our first store opening in 1962, associates just like these have not only helped us serve customers all across America – they’ve also driven innovations and accomplishments that have helped us grow. Here’s a look back at a few of the moments they made possible.    

1. Making UPCs … universal. In 1983, we began using Universal Product Codes (aka bar codes) at our checkouts, allowing us to better manage inventory. Today, we’ve taken that technology to a new level through innovations like Savings Catcher, which allows you to use your smartphone to scan the bar code on a Walmart receipt and make sure you’re getting the best price.

2. Driving our own logistics. Walmart’s private fleet and distribution network began with just three tractor-trailers and our founder’s idea to efficiently transport freight. Today, our transportation operation is one of the largest around the globe, with each distribution center using more than 5 miles of conveyor belts to keep products moving to stores – and to you – 24 hours a day.

3. Getting creative with convenience. The first supercenter opened in 1988 in Washington, Missouri, offering one-stop shopping for groceries and general merchandise. Today, we’re using technology to let you shop when and where it’s most convenient, whether it’s stocking up at a Sam’s Club, using our grocery delivery service in Denver or San Francisco, or stopping by a Neighborhood Market location that’s perfect for families on the go.

4. Jobs that work. In 1980, we had just 276 stores and employed 21,000 associates. Today, we provide the means for building a career to 1.3 million associates in the U.S.  – one great example being our CEO, Doug McMillon, who began his time at Walmart more than 30 years ago as an hourly summer associate in a distribution center. At Walmart, there’s truly no limit to success. 

5. Aiming for the greener good. In 2005, then-Walmart CEO Lee Scott put us on an aggressive course toward environmental sustainability, using the size and scale of our company to set goals in three areas: energy, waste and products. Today, we’ve made progress in all three areas, such as keeping 81% of our global waste out of the landfill and being recognized as the largest on-site green power generator in the U.S. for the third year in a row. What does that mean for you? We’re cutting our energy costs so we can pass those savings back through everyday low prices, all while doing the right thing for the environment. 

6. Moving forward with our $4 plan. In 2006, we introduced our $4 prescription program, which not only drove down the price of hundreds of generic medicines – it influenced the competitive landscape. Today, we’re still offering innovative health and wellness solutions for our customers, such as Care Clinics in select locations, an in-store insurance comparison service, and even working to make healthier food options like fresh produce more affordable and accessible.

From our first store in 1962 to our 5,000th in 2014, everything we do at Walmart and Sam’s Club is focused on our promise of offering everyday low prices on the broadest assortment of products – and making shopping easier and more convenient for our customers. 

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Find Items Even Easier with ‘Search My Store’ http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20141031/find-items-even-easier-with-search-my-store Picture this: You’re standing in one of our more than 4,300 stores, you can’t find the cranberry juice for your holiday party and, worst of all, you’re in a big hurry. No need to flag down an associate. You just open your Walmart mobile app, type in ‘cranberry juice,’ and the Walmart app will tell… Mon, 03 Nov 2014 15:24:40 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20141031/find-items-even-easier-with-search-my-store 2014-11-03T15:24:40Z

Find Items Even Easier with ‘Search My Store’

Innovation

Vice President, Mobile and Digital Strategy, Walmart

Picture this: You’re standing in one of our more than 4,300 stores, you can’t find the cranberry juice for your holiday party and, worst of all, you’re in a big hurry. No need to flag down an associate. You just open your Walmart mobile app, type in ‘cranberry juice,’ and the Walmart app will tell you which products we carry along with their aisle locations and photos. It’s that easy. Called Search My Store, this new feature allows Walmart customers to search a particular store for nearly any item on their lists: electronics, toys, groceries, gifts and more.

Search My Store is a great example of how we are using core online capabilities, such as search, to address key pain points of our Walmart store customers. For anyone who has ever wondered where in the store you might find (insert any product here), Search My Store may be the next best thing to sliced bread …which the app will tell you is located in Aisle D2 (at my local Walmart, anyway). Think of it as a personal shopping associate for your local Walmart, always with you whenever you need it.

The goal of Search my Store is to help customers find the items they need more quickly and to make shopping at Walmart easier, faster and more accessible. We’re off to a great start as more than 99% of our stores have already been searched by Search My Store, and we plan to make additional improvements based on feedback from our customers.

Search my Store is live now in the Walmart Android app and will be launching in the Walmart iPhone app in early November. 

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Collaborating to Create American Jobs http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20141031/collaborating-to-create-american-jobs Earlier this week, I had the honor of giving an update on our progress at the Women’s Wear Daily Apparel & Retail CEO Summit in New York. While it was fitting to speak in the same city where we announced the commitment in January 2013, since then, the real work has been happening in places you… Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:44:52 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20141031/collaborating-to-create-american-jobs 2014-10-31T16:44:52Z

Collaborating to Create American Jobs

U.S. Manufacturing

Executive Vice President, Consumables and U.S. Manufacturing, Walmart

Almost two years ago, I had the opportunity to be part of Walmart’s biggest purchase order yet: $250 billion worth of products that support American manufacturing.

Earlier this week, I had the honor of giving an update on our progress at the Women’s Wear Daily Apparel & Retail CEO Summit in New York. While it was fitting to speak in the same city where we announced the commitment in January 2013, since then, the real work has been happening in places you may not immediately spot on a map: Winnsboro, South Carolina, and Circleville, Ohio – small towns where factories being built can change lives.

Clearly, it matters a lot to these communities where our products are made, but we’ve found that it matters to our customers, too. In fact, it’s second only to price, with 85% of our customers saying it’s important for retailers to carry products assembled or produced in the U.S.

As we’ve worked through the challenges and successes we’ve had in supporting this commitment, I’ve learned a lot – mostly that the industry is eager to find a way. But I also learned that it’s still more expensive to make some things in the U.S. With textiles in particular, competing on cost for manufacturing is challenging across every point: from spinning and weaving to dyeing and cut and sew.

We’re tackling these obstacles in many ways, the most recent one being the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund we launched this year. This $10 million fund is a partnership that helps drive research to make it both easier and more competitive to produce goods in the U.S. In August, we presented our first eight grants to universities, the majority of which are focused on textile innovation.

At the same time, we’re still signing deals and pushing toward our $250 billion goal. At this week’s summit, in fact, I announced several products that we’ve re-shored from overseas: footwear, bike helmets, bandages, lawn art, baby and pet products. These commitments are creating jobs across the country.

Take True Science, for example – which makes all-natural pet products and treats. We started carrying their products in 75 stores in 2012, and now they’re in all stores. Sales are up. True Science had just 20 employees in 2010, and now employs more than 300 people in their facilities in Idaho. In Brentwood, New York, we found a supplier to make our Great Value quick-clean mops – creating 23 jobs in that community. And from Wisconsin, we’ll be adding new NUK pacifiers to our stores in January. Many of NUK’s pacifiers were previously produced in Europe.

We still have a long way to go, but I’m confident we’ll get there. Today’s conference focused on exploring how the ability to change and evolve is crucial in today’s dynamic retail environment. The good news is that’s something that’s always been part of Walmart’s DNA.

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Top 10 Ways to Advance Your Call of Duty Experience http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141029/top-10-ways-to-advance-your-call-of-duty-experience It’s one of the most anticipated games of the year, and you can get it at Walmart a day early. Gear up to go to your local supercenter when Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition goes on sale at 12:01 a.m. Monday, November 3, and start your week of warfare with these tips. 1. Clear your… Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:42:57 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141029/top-10-ways-to-advance-your-call-of-duty-experience 2014-10-29T19:42:57Z

Top 10 Ways to Advance Your Call of Duty Experience

Life

Senior Buyer – Video Game Software, Walmart

It’s one of the most anticipated games of the year, and you can get it at Walmart a day early. Gear up to go to your local supercenter when Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition goes on sale at 12:01 a.m. Monday, November 3, and start your week of warfare with these tips.

1. Clear your schedule of real-life duties. Let’s be honest: You’re not going anywhere for a while. A good alibi or doctor’s note is the best defense for anyone who thinks you might have a case of the Mondays.

2. Snacks power any good soldier. When you fuel up for battle with Mountain Dew and Doritos, you can unlock an exclusive custom digital COD: Advanced Warfare in-game exoskeleton.

3. You’re going to be sitting for a while, so comfort is key. Make sure you have a good chair and cozy clothes.

 

4. Nothing calls for a technology upgrade like a game set in 2054. Do you need a bigger TV? One with better specs? Don’t forget extra controllers, batteries or a recharge station so you can switch them out with ease.

5. Fido isn’t playing, but he still needs you. Stock up on pet food and toys to keep him busy, and everyone’s happy. (This might be a good time to invest in an automatic feeder.)

6. At some point, you’ll need to eat an actual meal, too. Fill your fridge with the best MRE (that’s Meals Ready to Eat … but you knew your military jargon, right?), frozen pizza. Takeout menus are a good resource, too.

 

7. Your battle won’t stop for sleep. Make sure you have plenty of energy drinks and soda.

 

8. Your new Facebook status? Hermit. But seriously, whether it’s through a check-in from your game system or the old-fashioned phone, contact your friends (and your mom) and let them know you won’t be reachable for a while.

9. You’re probably too pumped to believe it now, but at some point you will need to take a break. COD: Advanced Warfare includes a face-off with Jonathan Irons – aka Kevin Spacey – so stay in the zone by relaxing with these Kevin Spacey films.

10. Now that you’re getting conditioned, why not extend your tour? While at Walmart, check to see if your store offers certified pre-owned video games. Because what else are you going to do after you beat COD in a matter of days?

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4 Easy Halloween Recipe Ideas http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141028/4-easy-halloween-recipe-ideas Make Halloween more exciting with a quick and easy dinner to enjoy before heading out for a night of trick-or-treating. In our house we do a Halloween dinner and prepare foods and snacks that are all Halloween themed. As a busy mom, everything needs to be quick and easy, so I think you will enjoy… Tue, 28 Oct 2014 19:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141028/4-easy-halloween-recipe-ideas 2014-10-28T19:00:00Z

4 Easy Halloween Recipe Ideas

Life

Walmart Mom Blogger, Mommy’s Kitchen

Make Halloween more exciting with a quick and easy dinner to enjoy before heading out for a night of trick-or-treating. In our house we do a Halloween dinner and prepare foods and snacks that are all Halloween themed. As a busy mom, everything needs to be quick and easy, so I think you will enjoy some of these ideas.

This year we are making these cute little Mummy Face Pizzas. 

Mummy pizzas are easy to make and the perfect recipe to get your kids involved in the kitchen. Let your kids assemble the pizzas by laying out English muffins, spooning on pizza sauce, and adding cheese “bandages,” and black olives for eyes. Let mom run the oven. Serve your little mummy pizzas with apple slices with a fruit dip or another variety of fruit to complete the meal.

Mummy Face Pizzas

5 English muffins, cut in half

10 tablespoons Pizza Sauce

20 -25 pepperoni slices (two – three for each pizza)

10 Mozzarella cheese slices, cut into strips

One 2.25-ounce can sliced black olives

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut or split each English muffin in half. Spread one tablespoon of pizza sauce on each side.

Place two or three pepperonis on each English muffin.

Cut strips of cheese using a pizza cutter or kitchen shears. Place cheese strips over the pepperonis to resemble strips of bandages.

Place two sliced olives for eyes. Bake until cheese is melted and heated through. Cool and serve.

Recipe yields: 10 mini pizzas

Another spooky dinner option is easy Mummy Hot Dogs

Wrap hot dogs in your favorite refrigerated breadstick or crescent roll dough and leave an opening at the top for the mummy’s face. Bake the mummy dogs and add your favorite condiment, mustard or ketchup to make the eyes. My kids love these, so it’s always hard to choose between pizza and mummy hot dogs for dinner. I say just make both to please everyone. 

What would Halloween be without treats? Try this easy Halloween Poke Cake for a fun sweet treat to end the night.

If you want to celebrate Halloween with cookies instead, try these White Chocolate Candy Corn Cake Mix Cookies.  

These colorful cookies start with a yellow or white cake mix and are packed with white chocolate chips, cream cheese, and candy corn M&M’s. Next time you stop by your local Walmart, grab a few bags because these M&M’s go quickly this time of year.

I hope these spooky snacks and sweet treats fill up your little ghosts and goblins before their fun night of trick-or-treating. For more Halloween-inspired recipes and ideas visit Walmart.com

Walmart Mom blogger, Tina Butler is the mom behind the blog Mommy’s Kitchen. Tina loves creating meals that are simple, delicious, and perfect for bringing families together at the table. 

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Carving, Cooking and More: With Pumpkins, Take Your Pick http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141027/carving-cooking-and-more-with-pumpkins-take-your-pick Trying to pick the perfect pumpkin? Grower David Kolean says it may not exist – but that’s what makes them so much fun. “The great thing about pumpkins is that they’re all a little different in shape. They all have a little character,” says David, a pumpkin grower for Walmart. “Some pumpkins have a… Mon, 27 Oct 2014 15:15:35 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141027/carving-cooking-and-more-with-pumpkins-take-your-pick 2014-10-27T15:15:35Z

Carving, Cooking and More: With Pumpkins, Take Your Pick

Life

Vice President - Produce and Floral, Walmart U.S.

Trying to pick the perfect pumpkin? Grower David Kolean says it may not exist – but that’s what makes them so much fun.

“The great thing about pumpkins is that they’re all a little different in shape. They all have a little character,” says David, a pumpkin grower for Walmart. “Some pumpkins have a flat spot on them, a dent here, or a dimple there, but that just makes it very creative to work with and to carve.”

With Halloween coming up on Friday, this week is the best time to carve your own. Check out David’s selection tips in the video above, and then get started with carving advice and templates at Walmart.com.

If you’d rather eat your pumpkin than decorate it, there are plenty of options for that, too. From traditional pumpkin pie to delicious dips and sides, you can include the popular squash in any course – such as this savory Pumpkin Risotto.

Pumpkin Risotto

Ingredients

4 cups hot water

½ cup dry white wine

4 tsp. instant chicken flavor bouillon

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup uncooked Arborio rice

1 cup Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin

1 tsp. fresh thyme or sage leaves

½ cup freshly shredded Parmesan

1 Tbsp. butter

Ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine water, wine and bouillon in large measuring cup; set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in rice; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Stir in pumpkin and thyme.
  3. Heat oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in rice; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Stir in pumpkin and thyme.
  4. Stir in 1 cup broth mixture. Reduce heat to medium; continue adding broth mixture, 1 cup at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more broth. Rice should be tender but firm to the bite and mixture should be creamy. This should take 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. Stir in cheese and butter until melted. Season with pepper.
  6. VARIATION: For Pumpkin Mushroom Risotto, add 4 cups (about 12 ounces) sliced wild mushrooms (mixture of shiitake, oyster and crimini) with the onion and garlic and proceed with recipe.
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5 Easy Tips for a Spook-tacular Kids' Halloween Party http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141022/5-easy-tips-for-a-spook-tacular-kids-halloween-party As fall tumbles into our lives and the wind starts to howl outside, these are sure signs that Halloween is in sight. I think of my own childhood Halloween festivities, and what a wonderful time it was spent with family and friends. My mom and aunt would scramble around getting the family costumes… Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:17:05 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141022/5-easy-tips-for-a-spook-tacular-kids-halloween-party 2014-10-22T16:17:05Z

5 Easy Tips for a Spook-tacular Kids' Halloween Party

Life

Walmart Mom Blogger, PresleysPantry.com

As fall tumbles into our lives and the wind starts to howl outside, these are sure signs that Halloween is in sight. I think of my own childhood Halloween festivities, and what a wonderful time it was spent with family and friends. My mom and aunt would scramble around getting the family costumes ready. We kids could always count on a fun Halloween party filled with activities and games to unleash the spirits.

My mom did such a fabulous job of decorating and really creating an atmosphere of scary whimsical fun mixed with a delightful array of sweet treats for us monsters. These are traditions I absolutely cherish and want to pass on to my son. For the past few years I have made it a point to celebrate Halloween with a small pack of children, because it is the ultimate kids' holiday. 

Here are 5 easy tips to creating a ghostly gathering.

1. Setting the stage: Find an open area in your house and dedicate it to the central station of the party. Place a table against the wall of the area and dress it in a spiderweb table cover along with an orange table cover. This creates a great base for the rest of the monster plans. Then lay out a display of Halloween plates and napkins as an inviting gesture to the ghouls that may be hungry.

2. Hanging from above: Dangle spiders and ghosts from the ceiling for a whimsical atmosphere with dizzy danglers. For a more dramatic look add a few Halloween printed lanterns and that should really set a spooky scene for your guests.

3. Goodies for the goblins:  Give your ghoulish guests something to shriek about by disguising a tray of cookies in Jack O-Lantern bags. Play the ultimate trick or treat with candy corn dressed in a cone of the same three shades. Enjoy these treats at the party or playfully packaged as a remembrance to take home.

4. Fun and games: Bite into a round of "Donuts on a string!" Hang donuts tied by a string or ribbon from the ceiling or from a bar positioned high above. Whoever can eat the entire donut the fastest (with no hands) wins. Another great activity of fun is to have a swing at the pumpkin piñata. Use the pumpkin piñata as a centerpiece for the serving table, and towards the end of the party, let the children break it open to revel the candy sweets inside.

5. Edibles: Scare the monsters with spooktacular boo brownies. These ghostly brownies will certainly leave your guests aghast and wanting more! Get the recipe at Walmart.com.

Happy Halloween!

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For Customers, a New Way to Choose Health Insurance http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20141020/for-customers-a-new-way-to-choose-health-insurance This is a point our customers have brought to us time and again, and earlier this month, we announced a new way of addressing it: Healthcare Begins Here, an in-store program designed to educate customers on health insurance options.   While written materials may help with research, when it… Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:27:02 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20141020/for-customers-a-new-way-to-choose-health-insurance 2014-10-20T16:27:02Z

For Customers, a New Way to Choose Health Insurance

Innovation

Vice President, Payer Relations, Walmart U.S. Health & Wellness

There are few things in life more important than health. Yet for many of us, the complex world of health insurance is often something we must learn how to navigate on our own.

This is a point our customers have brought to us time and again, and earlier this month, we announced a new way of addressing it: Healthcare Begins Here, an in-store program designed to educate customers on health insurance options.  

While written materials may help with research, when it comes to understanding health insurance options, there’s no substitute for a conversation with a real person. Knowing this, Walmart has hosted insurance agents from individual insurers in stores to answer questions and enroll customers in specific healthcare plans since 2005. Healthcare Begins Here, through DirectHealth.com – an online health insurance comparison site that manages relationships with independent, licensed insurance agents – takes this offering to the next level in response to customers who told us they liked this service but wanted more choices. 

Here’s how it works:

For our customers over 65, Medicare enrollment started last week. DirectHealth.com provides access to more than 1,700 plans from 12 leading carriers, including Aetna, Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare and participating Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. Customers can enroll right in stores, online at DirectHealth.com or over the phone.

For our customers under 65, enrollment begins November 15. For these customers, DirectHealth.com provides access to thousands of Health Exchange plans from more than 300 leading carriers. These customers can receive education and guidance about their options in stores and enroll in health plans online at DirectHealth.com or over the phone.

Bringing our customers innovative services and offerings in health and wellness is what we focus on every single day. By providing access to education about health insurance and details to help compare coverage options, Healthcare Begins Here, through DirectHealth.com, offers a simple, straightforward way to identify and enroll in the plan that’s right for you. 

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Hitting the Road with U.S. Bike Assembly http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20141016/hitting-the-road-with-us-bike-assembly For 56 years, Kent International Inc. has designed and produced bicycles. And for the majority of those years, the manufacturing has taken place in China and Taiwan. But in 2008, CEO Arnold Kamler found his family-owned company at a point that called for shifting gears. “It was a perfect storm. You… Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:11:43 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20141016/hitting-the-road-with-us-bike-assembly 2014-10-16T15:11:43Z

Hitting the Road with U.S. Bike Assembly

U.S. Manufacturing

Buyer – Bicycles and Ride-On Toys, Walmart

For 56 years, Kent International Inc. has designed and produced bicycles. And for the majority of those years, the manufacturing has taken place in China and Taiwan.

But in 2008, CEO Arnold Kamler found his family-owned company at a point that called for shifting gears.

“It was a perfect storm. You had steel, aluminum, oil, plastics, ocean freight, currency – everything at one time going up,” Arnold said. “I spent about six weeks traveling all over Asia, asking myself, ‘If not China, then where?’ The answer seemed to be nowhere for bicycles. The idea in the back of my mind was that maybe one day we could do it here in the U.S. Then, last year, we got serious.”

In March 2013, Arnold met South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley at Walmart’s Year Beginning Meeting, an annual gathering of Walmart managers and suppliers. The two began discussing the possibility of Kent opening a factory in South Carolina, and since then, the company has invested $4.3 million in a new assembly facility in the small town of Manning. By the end of this year, Arnold says the factory will have produced 50,000 bikes for distribution to Walmart stores across America. By the end of 2016, he says that Kent will produce 500,000 bicycles. And another great number? Arnold estimates that the factory will bring 175 jobs to the area over the next three years. They are also in discussion to grow their U.S. production even further.

Yesterday, I was pleased to join Arnold and his team as they celebrated the grand opening of the factory, along with Gov. Haley and a few other Walmart associates. The bikes they make will be the first U.S.-assembled bicycles sold at Walmart in more than a decade. They will be branded BCA – Bicycle Corporation of America – a name that was previously retired by another company years ago that Arnold has always loved.

Kent has sold bikes to Walmart since 1997, and we’re proud to support them in this new endeavor. While both of us are excited to bring these bikes to our customers, we all agree that in the end, the numbers must also make sense. With Arnold’s entire career spent in the bicycle business, he has the experience to make a confident decision in this area.

“I think all things being equal, people would prefer a product to be made here,” Arnold said. “But the decision to do this wasn’t made on charity. After we started taking a hard look at all the factors that could make this work long-term … we strongly feel we can be very competitive.”

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Simplifying Access to Digital Movies http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20141015/simplifying-access-to-digital-movies When I was a kid, I watched movies either in theaters or on the couch in front of the TV. But in recent years, the way we watch movies has changed dramatically. We stream the latest releases from a computer…kids watch from a tablet on road trips…and some even watch from their phones on the… Wed, 15 Oct 2014 04:01:03 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20141015/simplifying-access-to-digital-movies 2014-10-15T04:01:03Z

Simplifying Access to Digital Movies

Innovation

Senior Vice President, Mobile and Digital, Walmart Global eCommerce

When I was a kid, I watched movies either in theaters or on the couch in front of the TV. But in recent years, the way we watch movies has changed dramatically. We stream the latest releases from a computer…kids watch from a tablet on road trips…and some even watch from their phones on the airplane.

For movie lovers, one of the biggest challenges can be finding a way to watch your favorite titles on all your devices – from the DVD or Blu-ray in your living room to your tablet on the train. That’s why Walmart and VUDU developed a new, simpler way for you to access the digital copy of movies you buy at Walmart – the beta launch of InstaWatch.

You may be thinking, “our movies already came with digital copies, right?” Well, here’s the deal. While we’ve sold digital copies with DVDs and Blu-rays for years, we heard that very few customers redeemed their digital movies.

How does InstaWatch work? 

The ease of how InstaWatch works is what I’m most excited about.

  • Open the Walmart mobile app and go to Savings Catcher. Scan the receipt from your purchase or enter the receipt number.
  • Sign in to your existing VUDU account or create a new VUDU account.
  • Within minutes, a mobile or email notification will confirm your digital movie is ready to watch on VUDU.

It’s that easy.

Walmart acquired VUDU, a digital entertainment service based in Silicon Valley, several years ago and ever since, we’ve been working to integrate physical and digital movie collections for our customers. This is the next step, and the right direction as we work to increase the value of your movie purchases.

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Sustainable Farming with True Affordability in Mind http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20141013/sustainable-farming-with-true-affordability-in-mind I’ve been a farmer for many years, farming 7,000 acres of land in northeast Iowa and west central Missouri. One of the staples on any farm is fertilizer. I like to grow corn, and you can’t grow corn without fertilizer, especially nitrogen fertilizer. But nitrogen is really a double-edged sword —… Mon, 13 Oct 2014 14:04:53 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20141013/sustainable-farming-with-true-affordability-in-mind 2014-10-13T14:04:53Z

Sustainable Farming with True Affordability in Mind

Sustainability

Member, The Triple Bottom Line

I’ve been a farmer for many years, farming 7,000 acres of land in northeast Iowa and west central Missouri. One of the staples on any farm is fertilizer. I like to grow corn, and you can’t grow corn without fertilizer, especially nitrogen fertilizer. But nitrogen is really a double-edged sword — when you use it properly, you achieve high yields. But in a leaky agriculture system, what you don’t use becomes a pollutant. With this in mind, I’ve tried to figure out how to use fertilizer in a more resourceful way.

I became interested in sustainability a few years ago, so I joined with six other farmers to form The Triple Bottom Line. That was extremely valuable to me because it is a true collaborative effort that understands, influences, and facilitates the sustainability measurement needs of food processors and retailers while adding value to growers. With the help of Vela Environmental, we also became a Tier-2 member of The Sustainability Consortium, a well-respected science and research-based organization that drives innovation to improve consumer product sustainability. It was a fascinating process to watch and learn. I knew then I wanted to bring those sustainability practices to my farm.

In 2011, we began working with a product called Adapt-N. It’s a simulated computer program that takes into account the climate, temperature, and water and tells you precisely the nitrogen level that’s in your soil. From there, you can get a clear indication of exactly how much fertilizer to put into the soil to achieve your yield. For so many years we used guidelines, but they weren’t precise. This gives us an actual number and it has changed the way our farm uses nitrogen. The benefits have not only been environmental: In 2013, it had a direct benefit on our farm of more than $150 per acre in savings.

As a grower who supplies foundational ingredients — like corn and wheat — to companies that make the groceries you find on Walmart shelves, I know how important it is for food to be sustainable because it can affect the affordability, which in our case is the “true cost” of food — the environmental impact. At the heart of this effort though is being efficient. And the bottom line for me – and farmers like me - is that if sustainability means becoming more efficient, I’m in!

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Providing Quality Health Benefits for Our Associates http://blog.walmart.com/business/20141007/providing-quality-health-benefits-for-our-associates In the U.S., the 1.3 million people who work at our stores, clubs and distribution centers are vital to a great experience for the 140 million customers shopping with us each week. We’re in business because our associates bring us their unique skills and talents – and so we do our absolute best to… Tue, 07 Oct 2014 14:00:02 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20141007/providing-quality-health-benefits-for-our-associates 2014-10-07T14:00:02Z

Providing Quality Health Benefits for Our Associates

Business

Sr. Vice President, Global Benefits, Walmart

In the U.S., the 1.3 million people who work at our stores, clubs and distribution centers are vital to a great experience for the 140 million customers shopping with us each week. We’re in business because our associates bring us their unique skills and talents – and so we do our absolute best to offer all the benefits that come with a great job, particularly affordable health insurance.

Anyone who has been following the news for the last several years knows that health care is a major topic of debate. From doctors’ visits and prescriptions to insurance premiums, health care costs have increased for all of us – individuals and the companies that insure them – each year. Knowing this, Walmart continues to work with health care providers and professionals, using our size and influence to negotiate the best rates and options for our associates.

Like every company, Walmart continues to face rising health care costs. This year, the expenses were significant and led us to make some tough decisions as we begin our annual enrollment. As a result, today we announced that our associates will see an increase in premiums for 2015. For example, our most popular and lowest cost associate-only plan will increase by $3.50 to $21.90 per pay period – still half the average premium other retail employees pay.

We’re also changing eligibility for some part-time associates. We will continue to provide affordable health care to all eligible associates, including part-time, who work more than 30 hours. However, similar to other retailers like Target, Home Depot, Walgreens and Trader Joe’s, we will no longer be providing health benefits to part-time associates who work less than 30 hours. This will impact about 2% of our total U.S. workforce.  We will be working with a specialist, HealthCompare, to personally guide our associates through the process of finding the right, affordable health care.

We are proud of the health care plans we offer, which are among the best in the retail industry, as well as the new benefits we’ve introduced over the past two years for our associates. This includes a vision plan that launched this year and our innovative Centers of Excellence program that began in 2013 that covers select spine and heart procedures at no cost to our associates. We expanded Centers of Excellence this year to include knee and hip replacement surgeries and, for 2015, we’re excited to be adding breast, lung and colorectal cancer care at the Mayo Clinic.

We don’t make these decisions lightly, and the fact remains that our plans exceed those of our peers in the retail industry. Our premiums remain well below the industry average compiled by expert Aon Hewitt.  We also continue to pay the majority of health care costs for associates covered under our medical plans. For example, on average we cover more than 60% of our associates’ total health care costs and more than 75% of their premium costs. In contrast, the retail industry pays, on average, about 54% of total health care costs and 68% of employee premiums.

All of our eligible associates – both full and part-time – will continue to benefit from our health care options that include no lifetime maximum, preventative care covered at 100%, and $250 up to $1,000 to help pay for medical expenses. We believe these options are among the best in the retail industry.

As our associates continue to work hard for our customers, we will continue working hard to keep their benefits as affordable as possible, enhance the quality of health care they receive and make the cost more transparent, which will benefit everyone.

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Our Food Pledge to YOU http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20141006/our-food-pledge-to-you In 1962, Walmart began with a simple but radical idea: bringing small, underserved communities the same products and prices that were available in big cities. Today, that principle is at the core of our grocery business. Because of Walmart, millions of families worldwide have access to healthier… Mon, 06 Oct 2014 04:01:02 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20141006/our-food-pledge-to-you 2014-10-06T04:01:02Z

Our Food Pledge to YOU

Sustainability

President & CEO, Walmart

In 1962, Walmart began with a simple but radical idea: bringing small, underserved communities the same products and prices that were available in big cities. Today, that principle is at the core of our grocery business. Because of Walmart, millions of families worldwide have access to healthier foods at a price they can afford.

YOU—our customer—have told us that in 2014 and beyond, you expect more than just quality food at low prices. You also want to know where your food came from, how it was produced, and what it contains. You expect more convenient access to affordable, healthier choices. And you expect us to use our strengths to help create a more sustainable food system for the environment and for people.

October is Global Food Month. We are celebrating our progress on food, and challenging ourselves and our partners to go further and faster.  I wanted to take a moment to convey our sustainable food pledge to you, our customers: 

1. HEALTHIER: We will continue to make healthy eating easier.

Healthy eating should not be a luxury. We are proud that our low prices allow millions of families to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, instead of relying on foods high in fat, sodium, and preservatives, and we can do even more.

Starting in 2015, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will provide nutrition education to 4 million U.S. households. Walmart has also reduced sodium in our Great Value brand, Marketside, and national food brand products by more than 13%, and sugar by more than 10%. Our “Great for You” icon helps you quickly identify healthier options.

2. ACCESSIBLE: We are helping those who don’t have enough.

To fight hunger, we aim to provide 4 billion healthier meals to those who need them in the U.S. over the next five years.  Since announcing our Fighting Hunger Together commitment in 2010, Walmart has already donated more than 1.5 billion pounds of food.

3. SAFE & TRANSPARENT: We will show you where the food on our shelves came from.

A transparent food chain fosters improved food safety, worker safety, and animal welfare. We will work to provide more information and transparency about the products on our shelves – so you can see where an item came from, how it was made, and decode the ingredient label.

4. TRULY AFFORDABLE: We will continue to reduce the “true cost” of food.

Food production will need to roughly double by 2050 to keep up with global population growth and diet trends. Working with supplier companies and others, we will provide increasing visibility over the next 10 years to agricultural yields, greenhouse gas emissions, and water usage, and drive adoption of best practices in sustainable agriculture.

Walmart cares deeply about the food that’s available to you, both today and into the future. You are our one and only “boss,” and we exist to serve you.

- Doug

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5 Ways We're Investing in American Jobs http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20141003/5-ways-were-investing-in-american-jobs It's been a big year for the U.S. manufacturing movement, and we only expect to see more momentum in the months and years to come. Today, on Manufacturing Day, we're celebrating some of the many U.S. companies who have become Walmart suppliers. Check out these videos to see how we're supporting… Fri, 03 Oct 2014 12:35:28 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20141003/5-ways-were-investing-in-american-jobs 2014-10-03T12:35:28Z

5 Ways We're Investing in American Jobs

U.S. Manufacturing

VP, U.S. Manufacturing, Walmart

It's been a big year for the U.S. manufacturing movement, and we only expect to see more momentum in the months and years to come. Today, on Manufacturing Day, we're celebrating some of the many U.S. companies who have become Walmart suppliers. Check out these videos to see how we're supporting American jobs, and join the conversation with #MfgDay14.

1. Patrick's powerful story from the Little Tikes factoryPatrick, who works in the Little Tikes factory, tells the story of how having a good job helps him meet his goals and give back to his family. 

2. Chef Jenn's recipe for successThis year, Jennifer McCullough has cooked up nothing but victory. In April, she won Food Network’s reality cooking competition, Cutthroat Kitchen. And in July, she took a chance by attending Walmart’s Open Call for products that support American jobs, where she got more great news: Several of her gourmet frozen food products will soon be sold in our stores.

3. Trash-Ease brings manufacturing jobs to DetroitGarbage has become pretty golden for John Cundy. In July, he attended Walmart’s Open Call for products that support American jobs, and his creation, Trash-Ease, was chosen by our buyers to soon be added to store shelves

4. Serving up a solution: The Taco PlateSometimes, eating hard-shelled tacos can be, well … hard. At least that’s what Hugh Jarratt thought while he was in college, when his tacos repeatedly fell over and spilled. But one day, he used those moments as inspiration to invent a plate with slots to hold tacos upright. This summer, that creativity paid off. 

5. Making a difference in South Carolina with Element ElectronicsElement Electronics recently opened a TV production facility in Winnsboro, S.C., that is a great example of how a community can be revitalized when new jobs are created. Check out the video for their story.

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Halloweekend: Making the Most of a Friday Halloween http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141002/halloweekend-making-the-most-of-a-friday-halloween For the first time since 2008, Halloween is on a Friday, and party plans are already underway. The top Halloween-related search on Walmart.com is “Halloween costume,” which means I’m not the only one who’s ready for the #Halloweekend. Looking for tips to help you get your party started? Check out… Thu, 02 Oct 2014 18:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20141002/halloweekend-making-the-most-of-a-friday-halloween 2014-10-02T18:00:00Z

Halloweekend: Making the Most of a Friday Halloween

Life

Vice President, Seasonal, Walmart U.S.

For the first time since 2008, Halloween is on a Friday, and party plans are already underway. The top Halloween-related search on Walmart.com is “Halloween costume,” which means I’m not the only one who’s ready for the #Halloweekend.

Looking for tips to help you get your party started? Check out these trends and see what’s hot for 2014.

What to Wear this Halloweekend

  • For the younger crowd: Princesses and licensed costumes are taking the crown on kids’ lists. Character costumes from Disney’s “Frozen” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” are expected to be top sellers.
  • For the big kids: Teens and young adults are throwing back to classic costumes like witches, vampires and zombies. Another big trend is customizing costumes with accessories like red lipstick, face paint, color hairspray and liquid latex.
  • For your four-legged friends: Pet costumes are one of our fastest growing costume categories, with superhero outfits among the top five picks for dogs and cats.

Party Until November Because Halloween is on a Friday, experts at the National Retail Federation (NRF) expect about one-third of Americans to host or attend a party. Here are our party predictions:

  • Friday is for families: We think Friday night will be family night. Kids will stay up a bit later after trick-or-treating, and I bet they might like our spooky gingerbread house and village kits for a new family tradition.
  • Saturday is for the rest of us: Adults will probably extend their parties into Saturday, and we’re ready to help you throw a memorable bash. Look for special blend red wines like Apothic Red and Dark or Menage Midnight. We’ll have exclusive Jagermeister gift sets, or you can mix things up with Fireball and Angry Orchard.
  • Don’t forget Día de los Muertos: Día de los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead,” falls on a Saturday this Halloweekend, giving families more time to celebrate. You can get everything you need to celebrate the lives of loved ones – from hot chocolate, which is traditionally paired with pan de muerto, a traditional bread flavored with anise, orange peel and sugar – to a wide array of candles to create an altar.

Sweet Treats for Party Eats No party is complete without sweets, but some of us don’t have time to bake something from scratch. Don’t be afraid to try pre-made treats instead.

  • We’ve got you covered for last-minute treats: 20% of Walmart’s seasonal bakery purchases took place in the three days leading up to Halloween last year. This year we’re offering even more tasty baked goods that you can easily customize for your own festivities.
  • Make it your own: Our experts predict DIY will be big in bakery – punch up cupcakes or cookies with sugar skulls and gummy worms. This Halloweekend, pumpkin spice continues its climb to the top of the flavor chart. Look for flavored bread, rolls and cookies.
  • Revisit your childhood faves: The ghosts of Halloween candy past are back, with nostalgic treats like hard candy and the simple flavors of chocolate and vanilla making a big comeback. On average, Americans plan to spend $24.64 on candy this year, according to the NRF. We’re answering this trend with more choices in our customizable display section, plus popcorn balls and classic favorites.

Check back here for more Halloweekend tips later this month, and visit Walmart.com for more ideas!

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Taking a Fresh Look at Our Produce http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140929/taking-a-fresh-look-at-our-produce Every day, Bryan Duarte spends much of his time looking for the biggest, crunchiest, most flavorful grapes around — at the best price. Bryan, a senior sourcing manager at our West Coast Global Food Sourcing office in Valencia, California, is part of a team of produce experts tracking down… Mon, 29 Sep 2014 19:48:31 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140929/taking-a-fresh-look-at-our-produce 2014-09-29T19:48:31Z

Taking a Fresh Look at Our Produce

Business

Vice President - Produce and Floral, Walmart U.S.

Every day, Bryan Duarte spends much of his time looking for the biggest, crunchiest, most flavorful grapes around — at the best price.

Bryan, a senior sourcing manager at our West Coast Global Food Sourcing office in Valencia, California, is part of a team of produce experts tracking down top-quality fruits and vegetables around the country. You can see him working in this video about the Hronis Grape Farm, part of a series of stories we’ve filmed to tell customers about how we’re ensuring Walmart is providing the freshest produce possible.

Until four years ago, all produce sourcing happened from our Home Office in Bentonville, Arkansas. But we’ve since opened five new Global Food Sourcing offices across the U.S. in the most important growing regions.  The result? Higher-quality produce grown closer to where it’s sold. Closer connections to Walmart from farm to store. And, most importantly, more satisfied customers.

Growing Local

Our food sourcing offices are just one innovation in our focus on high-quality produce. Other steps we’ve taken include buying more local produce (crops grown and sold in the same state), cutting supply chain costs, improving associate training, and talking even more with our customers.

In 2010, we committed to doubling sales of local produce by 2015. Within the first year, sales of locally grown crops were up by 97%. And now, with one year left, we’re well on track to meet this goal by our deadline. We’ve made significant improvements in a short amount of time, and our customers are responding positively.

Rebuilding the Supply Chain

Walmart didn’t sell produce until the mid-1980s; our distribution systems were originally designed for merchandise that could sit in warehouses. Today, Walmart is the world’s largest produce retailer. More than half of our $279.4 billion U.S. sales come from grocery items, and more than three in four of our stores sell fresh produce.

As hundreds of our stores add produce departments and increase their assortments, we’ve been working on improving the way that merchandise gets there. In 1995, there were only two distribution centers in the U.S. supplying fresh food to stores. Now there are 42.

Being in close proximity to everywhere, as I like to say, allows Walmart to cut miles between the farm and the consumer. In the last 18 months, we’ve cut more than a day out of the supply chain. That means our customers are buying produce more than a day fresher than it was before.

Quality Guaranteed

Walmart has also taken steps to improve the quality of produce once it arrives at stores. In June 2013, we started offering a money-back guarantee on produce to show customers we stand behind our promise to offer high-quality fruits and vegetables.

Around the same time, we also started regular produce checks in each of our more than 3,400 Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets that sell produce. 

We’ve been telling our customers about these achievements through new ad campaigns, labeling, and social media. These have helped increase knowledge of seasonal differences, unique local products, and Walmart’s local presence. Take a look at the rest of our videos, visit your local store, and let us know what you think!

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At the LEGO Group, Working to Build a Better Tomorrow http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140923/at-the-lego-group-working-to-build-a-better-tomorrow The world has changed a lot since the first LEGO brick was created in 1958. What hasn’t changed is the importance of children’s right to play in a healthy and safe world. In the LEGO Group, it’s our ambition to make a positive impact on the world that our children will inherit. This ambition is… Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140923/at-the-lego-group-working-to-build-a-better-tomorrow 2014-09-23T15:00:00Z

At the LEGO Group, Working to Build a Better Tomorrow

Sustainability

President and CEO of the LEGO Group

The world has changed a lot since the first LEGO brick was created in 1958. What hasn’t changed is the importance of children’s right to play in a healthy and safe world. In the LEGO Group, it’s our ambition to make a positive impact on the world that our children will inherit. This ambition is clear in the recent launch of LEGO products marked with the Forest Stewardship Council trademark.

The FSC logo on our products may seem insignificant when you see it for the first time, but it is a major milestone for us, and an important element in our efforts to become carbon positive by 2016. We aim to help preserve the forests, their wildlife and all of their inhabitants to the benefit of the environment and future generations.

As one of the world's most respected forest certification schemes, FSC works to improve forest management worldwide, and through certification creates an incentive for forest owners and managers to follow the best social and environmental practices. The FSC logo on a product lets consumers know that the material was sourced in a way that supports a healthier planet and improves quality of life for forestry workers and their communities.

In September 2012, the LEGO Group announced a target of using only 100% FSC certified paper by 2015. This includes everything from printed materials, such as our building instructions and leaflets, to packaging and paper used in the business.

We have been working hard to reduce the environmental impact of our packaging. From sourcing an average of 75% recycled content wherever possible, to introducing new, smaller LEGO® boxes, we are projecting to save an estimated 6,000 tons of cardboard and 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2014 from these initiatives. The reduction in packaging also supports the sustainability commitments of our retailers like Walmart, who are committed to zero waste.

These efforts have reduced our transportation needs by 3,000 truckloads annually, and they also support the environmental targets pledged in the Climate Savers Partnership with WWF, which the LEGO Group entered in 2013. The LEGO Group is proud to be the first toy company to join the partnership.

Guided by our mission to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow, I hope our responsibility efforts will help inspire children across the world to also think creatively about how we can jointly build a better tomorrow.

Read more about the LEGO Group’s Responsibility efforts in the LEGO Group Responsibility Report.    

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Truck Drivers Keep Walmart Moving http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140918/truck-drivers-keep-walmart-moving With nearly 12 years spent driving a Walmart truck, Ricky has driven almost 1.5 million accident-free miles. In his free time, he volunteers for Walmart Heart, a program that raises money for children and adults with chronic medical conditions or special needs. When he’s at work, his time behind… Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140918/truck-drivers-keep-walmart-moving 2014-09-18T13:00:00Z

Truck Drivers Keep Walmart Moving

Business

Senior Vice President, Walmart Transportation

Ricky Tillman’s office always has quite the view. That’s because he has an extremely important job: not only transporting case after case of merchandise to Walmart stores, but consistently doing that safely, securely and on time.

With nearly 12 years spent driving a Walmart truck, Ricky has driven almost 1.5 million accident-free miles. In his free time, he volunteers for Walmart Heart, a program that raises money for children and adults with chronic medical conditions or special needs. When he’s at work, his time behind the wheel is crucial to providing the things we all want and need – from groceries and medicine to the latest electronic gadget.

Done well, a truck driver’s job can sometimes go unnoticed until there’s severe weather or some other adverse condition that makes it impossible. So more than 25 years ago, the American Trucking Association started National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, a time to recognize the hard work that 3.2 million drivers do for all sorts of companies across the country all year long.

Just last month, 49 Walmart drivers competed in the ATA’s National Truck Driving Championships, where they demonstrated their skills, knowledge and professionalism. Five of our drivers earned trophies, and three placed first in their categories.

Walmart has many reasons to appreciate our more than 7,200 drivers today and every day, and not just for bringing 5.5 billion cases of merchandise to our customers annually. One way they are also leading is by driving environmental efficiency. They work hard to deliver more merchandise while at the same time, driving fewer miles. In 2013, their efforts saved the company nearly $65 million in fuel costs – allowing us to pass those savings on to our customers – and avoided almost 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of taking 5,000 cars off the road.

With more than 6,000 tractors, 53,500 trailers and 5,600 refrigerated trailers traveling about 700 million miles last year, Walmart’s private fleet is among the largest in the country. I am proud to lead the amazing men and women who are the face of that organization – and to call on all of us to recognize the essential role they play on our highways and in communities across America.

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Meal Planning Tips for Busy Families http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140912/meal-planning-tips-for-busy-families Life is busy! Let's face it, most days, the last thing we may think about is preparing a healthy dinner for the family. However, eating together as a family – and especially, serving a healthy dinner –  is very important. As a mom of three boys who all live active lives, I’ve found it… Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140912/meal-planning-tips-for-busy-families 2014-09-12T14:00:00Z

Meal Planning Tips for Busy Families

Life

Walmart Mom Blogger, www.hoosierhomemade.com

Life is busy! Let's face it, most days, the last thing we may think about is preparing a healthy dinner for the family. However, eating together as a family – and especially, serving a healthy dinner –  is very important.

As a mom of three boys who all live active lives, I’ve found it difficult over the years to find time to sit down together to eat. Meal planning has helped me tremendously. For many years, I’ve created a monthly menu plan. Perhaps that sounds difficult, but if you break it down into easy steps like these below, it doesn't take much time at all.

  1. Plan for the month; shop for the week. When I have my recipes and cookbooks out, I find it easier to plan the whole month. I also purchase some ingredients for the whole month, especially if they are on sale, but the majority of the grocery shopping is done weekly.
  2. When you plan your meals, keep in mind what ingredients are seasonal. Those are also less expensive.
  3. Plan meals that share common ingredients. For instance, if cheese is on sale, buy in bulk, then plan recipes that use cheese.
  4. Keep your pantry stocked with ingredients you will use often. It will make your meal planning easier, and cuts down on your grocery bill.
  5. Be sure to plan for busy nights. Especially during the school year, when the kids have practice, games or meetings. Plan an easy slow cooker meal for those nights, and then you can eat as soon as you get home from the game.
  6. When I'm planning meals, I give each day of the week a specific theme. For instance, Mondays are quick and easy, Tuesdays are make-ahead, Wednesdays are Mexican, Thursdays are Italian, Fridays are kids’ favorites, Saturdays are new recipes and Sundays are comfort food.
  7. Keep the weather in mind. Even though it changes fast, you can get an idea of what to expect in the week ahead. You certainly don't want to be grilling during a rainstorm, or planning a meal to be cooked in the oven when temperatures are high.
  8. Keep track of your meal plan and take notes. I like using a household binder to keep track of everything. You can also use Pinterest to gather recipe ideas that you would like to serve your family.

The goal to meal planning is to make your life easier and give you time with your family. So why not include them in the process? Not only are you ensuring that they will like what you serve, but it will also bring the family together to eat something healthier.

Walmart Mom Blogger Liz strives to help you be heroes to your family through easy DIY projects and creative crafts, including hundreds of cupcake designs. When she's not blogging at hoosierhomemade.com, she and her husband, Doug, can be found preparing budget-friendly meals at http://pocketchangegourmet.com/.

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Top 10 Eco-Friendly Features of Walmart Stores http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140910/top-10-eco-friendly-features-of-walmart-stores Our ongoing sustainability commitments impact our suppliers, products, and, of course, our stores. They also help us cut costs so we can pass those savings onto our customers. Here are some of the ways we’re making our stores more eco-friendly:1. LED Lighting in refrigerator and freezer cases. In… Wed, 10 Sep 2014 21:45:09 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140910/top-10-eco-friendly-features-of-walmart-stores 2014-09-10T21:45:09Z

Top 10 Eco-Friendly Features of Walmart Stores

Sustainability

PE, Senior Manager of Sustainability Facilities at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Our ongoing sustainability commitments impact our suppliers, products, and, of course, our stores. They also help us cut costs so we can pass those savings onto our customers. Here are some of the ways we’re making our stores more eco-friendly:

1. LED Lighting in refrigerator and freezer cases. In 2005, we piloted LED lights in one of our Texas stores; now they are standard in new stores nationwide. These lights use 70% less energy than fluorescent tube lights and generate significantly less heat, which is important for refrigerators and freezers. As is the case with all LED lighting, energy efficiency and reduced maintenance are the biggest advantages.

2. Water efficiency. In communities that struggle with water scarcity such as Santa Fe, N.M., we collect rainwater in an underground tank and save it to water the store’s landscaping. In other stores, a number of our opportunities for water savings are in the restrooms. New stores feature high-efficiency urinals that reduce water use by 87% compared to the conventional 1-gallon-per-flush urinal. In addition, high-efficiency toilets use 20% less water compared to allowable EPA standards of up to 1.6 gallons per flush. 

3. Concrete flooring. By using exposed concrete floors in most of our newly constructed stores, Walmart is reducing surface applied flooring materials. This minimizes or eliminates the need for chemical cleaners, wax, and wax strippers — making it a better environmental choice.

4. White roofs. For newly constructed stores, Walmart uses white membrane roofs which have a higher reflectivity and help reduce building energy consumption. The white color of the roof helps to reflect the sun's heat and reduce it from being transmitted into the building.

5. Daylight harvesting. During daytime hours, Walmart replaces the artificial light in its larger stores with natural daylight to save energy and enhance the shopping experience. Hundreds of skylights use electronic continuous dimming technology so that most of the overhead lights dim and then turn off for many hours of most days. For a typical Walmart Supercenter, this reduces the amount of energy used to light the sales floor by 25%. Sam’s Club also effectively uses this energy saving technology and has for almost two decades.

6. Heat reclamation. Walmart uses systems that transfer waste heat from the refrigeration system to heat domestic hot water for restrooms and food preparation areas. During the winter, in some stores, this heat is also returned into the building to warm interior spaces.  In some stores, this waste heat is also used to help cool the buildings during the summer.

7. Smart irrigation systems. As of August 1, 2014, more than 1,100 Walmart stores have smart irrigation systems that include real time weather, site-specific watering instructions, and management and operations dashboards with real-time remote controls via the cloud.  Over the past five years, for these 1,100+ stores, Walmart has reduced water required for irrigation needs by more than 32% on average per site.

8. LED lighting in parking lots. Most new Walmart stores include this feature, and there are a number of benefits. This type of lighting reduces energy consumption by 50% compared to conventional light fixtures. It also improves the quality of lighting, which is important for customers who shop at night. Exterior parking lot lights for stores built before this technology was utilized are intended to be converted to LED over the next few years.

9. LED lights for other outdoor uses. Walmart uses LED lights for both exterior building signage and exterior building security lighting. These lights are projected to last at least six years longer than conventional lighting, which reduces maintenance costs. 

10. Building materials. For construction of new stores, Walmart utilizes steel and metal with a high recycled content for the building envelope framing. In addition, many of the adhesives and sealants we use in construction are selected to achieve maximum performance with minimum impact to the environment.

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Make the Most of the Last Days of Summer http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140905/make-the-most-of-the-last-days-of-summer My kids love summer, and even though it’s almost over, we’re still looking for fun activities before the school year heats up. These days, it's too easy for kids to spend all their time with electronics: smartphones, tablets, video games — there's a lot to do that requires a screen. My… Fri, 05 Sep 2014 13:58:46 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140905/make-the-most-of-the-last-days-of-summer 2014-09-05T13:58:46Z

Make the Most of the Last Days of Summer

Life

Walmart Mom Blogger, www.greenandgorgeous.net

My kids love summer, and even though it’s almost over, we’re still looking for fun activities before the school year heats up.

These days, it's too easy for kids to spend all their time with electronics: smartphones, tablets, video games — there's a lot to do that requires a screen. My husband and I want to make sure our kids spend time being active and using their imaginations, so we try to find ways to keep them otherwise occupied.

Here are the some of the ways my family will be making the most of these last days of summer.

1. Go Swimming

I don't think I've ever suggested a pool day and had the kids decline. We're fortunate enough to live in a community with a pool for residents, but even if you don't, there are other ways to enjoy the water. Find out if there's a lake with swimming access nearby, a YMCA or a public pool with free or low-cost entry.

2. Enjoy the Great Outdoors

This can mean anything from camping in the backyard to walking the trails at a local park. My family likes to spend the day at the Chattahoochee River, attempting to fish. I say attempting because as many times as we've done this, we've never caught anything. Maybe it's our technique, or maybe the fish are smarter than we think. Either way, we still have a great time.

3. Encourage Creativity with Crafts

This kind of activity is awesome for parents, because you can give the kids free rein to do it alone. Create a craft box that includes paper, pencils, crayons, markers, glue, felt and any other craft supplies that are age-appropriate for your children. This summer, my kids have been on a crafting kick. They've been making jewelry out of all kinds of materials, from rubber bands to pipe cleaners and fabric.

4. Camp Out at Home

When I was little, one of my favorite things to do was build forts and tents in the living room. I used cardboard boxes, folding mats, chairs, sheets and more. I seem to have passed this interest on to my daughter. She can spend hours crafting the perfect tent. She makes up passwords that we all have to use if we want to get in, and she’ll sit inside and get lost in a book. She also loves spending the night in the living room inside her tents.

She loves this so much that we made her a collapsible tent out of just a few pieces of wood, some wooden dowels and a sheet. Check out the tutorial.

I think we’ve done a pretty good job of keeping the kids on their toes this summer. What’s on your family's to-do list? How do you keep your kids away from the myriad screens they have access to on a daily basis?

Walmart Mom blogger Jennae Petersen blogs at GreenandGorgeous.net to educate you, entertain you and provide you with everyday tips for making your life more beautiful, enjoyable and sustainable. She’s here to share her experience, her sense of style, her struggles and her victories, in hopes that she can prove that living well is completely attainable, no matter where life may find you.

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Host the Perfect Labor Day Barbecue http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140829/host-the-perfect-labor-day-barbecue If there’s one thing I love to do in the summer, it’s grilling and sharing a delicious meal with friends. Now that we’re nearing the end of the season, here are some fun ideas to help make the most of your backyard gatherings. Prep AheadFirst, save time by prepping ahead. Pastas for salads can be… Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140829/host-the-perfect-labor-day-barbecue 2014-08-29T13:00:00Z

Host the Perfect Labor Day Barbecue

Life

Walmart Mom Blogger, www.momadvice.com

If there’s one thing I love to do in the summer, it’s grilling and sharing a delicious meal with friends. Now that we’re nearing the end of the season, here are some fun ideas to help make the most of your backyard gatherings.

Prep Ahead

First, save time by prepping ahead. Pastas for salads can be cooked, rinsed, and thrown into containers, produce can be chopped, and marinades can be mixed and prepared with the meat and tucked in the fridge

When buying in bulk, I use a food scale to weigh and divide meat into smaller portions.

Minimize Cleanup

To make cleanup easier, I love inexpensive trays for gathering dishes, or you can also set out a dish tub. Always make sure the dishwasher is empty to accommodate your mess, and wash as the dish tub fills up. I also love to pull out a container for any cans or bottles so that guests can immediately recycle, eliminating cleanup in the morning.

One investment I’ve found valuable is buying a set of reusable plastic dishes that are ideal for stacking and loading quickly. Watch for sales on these sets during end-of-summer clearance and stock up.

Keep It Sweet and Simple

Some of our best barbecues were simply gatherings of friends, great food, good music, and loads of s’mores. Try not to overthink your entertaining. String up pretty patio lights, put a couple of inexpensive bouquets of flowers in jars, cue up a great playlist, and let food and friendship be the focus.

Try to do as much as you can right on your grill, avoiding the need to run in and out of your kitchen. Veggies can be grilled in a cast-iron skillet, corn can be grilled in the husks and, of course, meat can be grilled all at the same time. Some of my favorite side dishes are these easy three cheese grilled potatoes, this effortless tomato bread appetizer, and my grilled corn in the husk. All of these are simple and done right on the grill.

Have a Backup Plan

The weather doesn’t always cooperate with our outdoor entertaining, so it’s always good to have a backup plan. Pull the party into your garage and purchase a few simple decorations to beautify the space. Create a fast and easy kids’ table by using a paper covering and topping that with paint cans filled with crayons so little ones can keep busy until the rain subsides.

Our new backup location is our shed that we finished just for this purpose. It’s not only ideal for retreating from the rain, but we also installed a bar where we can set up food and drinks to keep the bugs away.

Try a New Location

Is your yard looking a little sad this year? Do you find backyard entertaining overwhelming? Some of my favorite get-togethers have happened at our community parks. Check your local parks & recreation page to scout out a new place. Keep in mind there may be a small rental fee if you want to secure a specific location. 

Repurpose Those Leftovers

Don’t let leftovers go to waste afterward. Meat can be diced for salads or served in a tortilla wrap with cheese, lettuce, and dressing for a fast and easy lunch. Veggies can be roasted as a side dish for the next night or can be served again with the dips. If you’re at the bottom of a chip bag, crush the chips for a casserole topping or use them for a nacho dinner night. Leftover buns and no meat? No problem! Buns can be made into croutons or breadcrumbs. 

I hope your summer is filled with happy memories of stress-free outdoor gatherings and fun times with friends!

A Walmart Mom Blogger, Amy Clark has been the driving force behind MomAdvice.com since 2004. MomAdvice is a community for women that are looking for ways to stay organized, stay sane, and stay within their budget.

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From Homemade to Home Run: Chef Jenn’s Story http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20140828/from-homemade-to-home-run-chef-jenns-story This year, Jennifer McCullough has cooked up nothing but victory. In April, she won Food Network’s reality cooking competition, Cutthroat Kitchen. And in July, she took a chance by attending Walmart’s Open Call for products that support American jobs, where she got more great news: Several of her… Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:03:43 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20140828/from-homemade-to-home-run-chef-jenns-story 2014-08-28T18:03:43Z

From Homemade to Home Run: Chef Jenn’s Story

U.S. Manufacturing

Walmart Senior Buyer, Seafood

This year, Jennifer McCullough has cooked up nothing but victory. In April, she won Food Network’s reality cooking competition, Cutthroat Kitchen. And in July, she took a chance by attending Walmart’s Open Call for products that support American jobs, where she got more great news: Several of her gourmet frozen food products will soon be sold in our stores.

Her dishes center around seafood from the Gulf, but the common ingredient in all of them is a passion for deliciously easy entertaining. Watch how this single mother from Memphis built her own brand – and why we thought her products were the perfect catch.

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Solving Your Back-to-School Lunchbox Challenges http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140826/solving-your-back-to-school-lunchbox-challenges I love packing my kids’ lunches. I can take into account any special dietary needs, have complete control over the nutritional content and save money. However, there can be issues with keeping bread fresh, and making sure cool food stays cool and hot food stays hot. Here are three lunchbox… Tue, 26 Aug 2014 18:29:45 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140826/solving-your-back-to-school-lunchbox-challenges 2014-08-26T18:29:45Z

Solving Your Back-to-School Lunchbox Challenges

Life

Walmart Mom Blogger, www.frugalupstate.com

I love packing my kids’ lunches. I can take into account any special dietary needs, have complete control over the nutritional content and save money. However, there can be issues with keeping bread fresh, and making sure cool food stays cool and hot food stays hot. Here are three lunchbox challenges and how to beat them.

Soggy Bread Blues

Sandwiches are a lunchbox classic for a reason: simple to make, easy to eat, relatively neat. But without the right technique, your fillings can leak through your bread, creating a soggy mess. Don’t worry; we can solve this problem.  

1.      Create a barrier between wet fillings and the bread. For peanut butter and jelly, try putting a thin layer of peanut butter on both slices of bread and then sandwiching the jelly in between.   For other sandwiches, use a trick your grandmother probably knew. Butter on both slices of bread will keep the moisture from your “wet” ingredients away from the bread.

2.      Keep ‘em separate! This works well for moist fillings like tuna salad. Just pack two slices of bread and then use a small container for the filling. Your student can combine them at the lunch table to make the perfect “sog-free” sandwich.

Keeping Your Cool

Unless your child eats PB&J every day, you are eventually going to wind up packing something that needs to be kept cool until lunchtime.  Luncheon meat, mayonnaise, cheese, yogurt – all these items are favorites that should be kept cool until it’s time to consume them. Follow these tips, and you won’t have to worry!

1.      Buy an insulated lunch bag. Walmart has tons of different types of lunchboxes available.

2.      Use ice packs. Concerned that your kids won’t bring them home? Try this trick instead! Freeze a juice box or pouch and send that instead. It will keep things cool as it defrosts – then by lunchtime, they can drink it and then toss it out.

Heating Things Up

Like many of you, the only way I can pack a meal that needs to be eaten warm is to send it to school in a thermos. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your child’s food is actually hot when they’re ready to eat it.

1.      Use the best thermos you can. Some of the plastic ones are cute, but nothing beats a good old Thermos wide mouth food jar.

2.      Preheat your thermos by filling it with hot water and closing it. Just the length of time it takes for you to warm up whatever you are putting inside is fine.

3.      Get the food as hot as you possibly can. It’s only going to get cooler from there, so if you start with lukewarm, you’ll wind up with cold by mealtime.

4.      Don’t mix hot and cold – if you are sending lunch in a thermos, leave the items that require an ice block at home that day.

Now you are ready to pack your kids’ lunches like a pro! 

Jenn Fowler is an upstate New York wife, mom, blogger and veteran. She loves to talk about the frugal lifestyle, “Village Homesteading,” living a more sustainable lifestyle and being prepared for all the curves life throws at you.

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For Smarter Security, a Smarter Walmart MasterCard http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20140825/for-smarter-security-a-smarter-walmart-mastercard As we head into the biggest shopping season of the year, security when paying is more important than ever. If you have a Walmart MasterCard, you can enjoy even greater security through a new chip-enabled card coming to your mailbox in the next few weeks. Walmart is among the first retailers to… Mon, 25 Aug 2014 17:52:48 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20140825/for-smarter-security-a-smarter-walmart-mastercard 2014-08-25T17:52:48Z

For Smarter Security, a Smarter Walmart MasterCard

Innovation

As we head into the biggest shopping season of the year, security when paying is more important than ever. If you have a Walmart MasterCard, you can enjoy even greater security through a new chip-enabled card coming to your mailbox in the next few weeks.

Walmart is among the first retailers to implement chip technology as a more secure payment means for cardholders. Sam’s Club also introduced a chip-enabled MasterCard in June, and both cards prompt customers not to swipe – but to insert and briefly leave the card in the payment terminal, so the card’s embedded chip can be accessed.

Another new aspect of the Walmart co-branded MasterCard is savings. Cardholders will enjoy $5 back on every $500 they spend. They’ll also save 5 cents per gallon of gas at participating Walmart gas stations and 15 cents during Walmart’s “Great Gas Rollback” promotion that’s running now through Sept. 8. 

Walmart has long been a proponent for EMV chip technology and installed EMV-capable terminals in stores about eight years ago. These terminals are now activated in more than 4,600 stores, including all Sam’s Club locations. Terminals in the remaining U.S. stores will be activated before the end of the year.

MasterCard has vocalized the need for the U.S. market to make the move to a safer, more secure consumer payment experience with EMV, and we’re finally starting to see this shift take place. American banks and retailers are embracing chip technology with projections for chip cards in the U.S. market to top 575 million by 2015, and fast-moving retailers like Walmart and Sam’s Club are ensuring consumers can use chip cards in-store.

When the cards are used at chip-enabled terminals, the enhanced security features used for authorization help confirm that the card being presented is authentic and make it more difficult to duplicate, increasing protection against counterfeit fraud. The new cobranded card can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted around the world.

Walmart has been a leader in pushing toward payments that offer greater security than the traditional signature-based, magnetic stripe technology. This can only help drive chip technology forward in the U.S. as it gains traction.

To make using the new card as easy as possible, information is available for cardholders. Check it out and let us know what you think!

Co-authors: Mike Cook, SVP, Finance and Assistant Treasurer, Walmart; and Chris McWilton, MasterCard President North America

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What Walmart Needs to Go 100% Renewable http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140821/what-walmart-needs-to-go-100-renewable Walmart’s aspirational goal to be supplied by 100% renewable energy – and to drive the production or procurement of 7 billion kWh of renewable energy globally while doubling the number of on-site solar projects in the U.S. by 2020 – just plain makes business sense. Between Walmart’s 2020… Thu, 21 Aug 2014 22:51:43 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140821/what-walmart-needs-to-go-100-renewable 2014-08-21T22:51:43Z

What Walmart Needs to Go 100% Renewable

Sustainability

Walmart’s aspirational goal to be supplied by 100% renewable energy – and to drive the production or procurement of 7 billion kWh of renewable energy globally while doubling the number of on-site solar projects in the U.S. by 2020 – just plain makes business sense. Between Walmart’s 2020 commitments to renewables and energy efficiency, the company could avoid up to $1 billion a year in energy costs.

Walmart’s Mountain View, California store is a perfect example of Walmart’s commitment to on-site solar energy, with 14.5% of the facility’s energy coming from a rooftop solar system installed by SolarCity. However, this facility also demonstrates the challenges in procuring a 100% renewable energy.  Available roof-space alone for a solar system is not enough to power the entire facility with renewable energy. It’s just further proof that more options for sourcing renewable energy are needed.

This means that in order to reach 100% renewable energy, Walmart needs to complement its onsite efforts with significant purchases from other sources such as third party suppliers and their local utility.

The Problem

Why is it so hard to get to 100%? The barriers are beyond Walmart. Two of the biggest challenges are market structures that prevent companies from directly contracting renewable energy and the fact that electric utilities have no incentive or directive to offer customers such as Walmart renewable energy above and beyond their current grid mix and/or the state renewable portfolio standard.

The Solution

Walmart and 11 other major companies developed the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyer's Principles that outline how renewable energy providers and utilities can help meet their growing corporate demand for renewable energy.

Primarily, the Buyers’ Principles seek greater opportunities to work with utilities and regulators to expand renewable energy choices. Walmart – and other U.S. corporations – recognize that utilities are experts in providing their customers with access to least-cost energy resources. With this expertise, utilities can provide companies with the low-cost renewable energy they need to reach their sustainability goals.

At the same time, it’s important to increase access to third-party financing vehicles (e.g. PPAs) and standardize contracting processes so it’s simpler for companies to get what they need. At the end of the day, it’s about increasing the options and flexibility companies have to green their energy inputs, just as they are doing with other commodities.

Walmart is doing its part – committing publically and financially – to be supplied by renewable energy, but achieving 100% renewable energy will require overcoming obstacles and catalyzing new opportunities. And that means utilities and other suppliers have an opportunity to step up to serve a multi-million megawatt hour demand for renewable energy. That’s a market opportunity ripe for the picking.

Walmart Foundation has financially supported WRI's and WWF’s work on corporate procurement of renewable energy and Walmart is also a member of WRI's Corporate Consultative Group.

Co-authors: Joshua Ryor of World Resources Institute (WRI), and Bryn Baker of World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

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Serving Up a Solution: The Taco Plate http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20140820/serving-up-a-solution-the-taco-plate Sometimes, eating hard-shelled tacos can be, well … hard. At least that’s what Hugh Jarratt thought while he was in college, when his tacos repeatedly fell over and spilled. But one day, he used those moments as inspiration to invent a plate with slots to hold tacos upright. Last month, that… Wed, 20 Aug 2014 20:18:50 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20140820/serving-up-a-solution-the-taco-plate 2014-08-20T20:18:50Z

Serving Up a Solution: The Taco Plate

U.S. Manufacturing

Sometimes, eating hard-shelled tacos can be, well … hard. At least that’s what Hugh Jarratt thought while he was in college, when his tacos repeatedly fell over and spilled. But one day, he used those moments as inspiration to invent a plate with slots to hold tacos upright.

Last month, that creativity paid off for Hugh and his wife, Nicole. They brought their taco plate to Walmart’s Open Call for products that support American jobs and received their biggest order yet. Watch how their simple solution is creating the opportunity for hiring – and also for our customers to enjoy a tidier Taco Tuesday.

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A Conversation with SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20140818/a-conversation-with-sba-administrator-maria-contreras-sweet As the 24th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet leads the agency’s efforts to aid, counsel and protect the interests of small businesses. Recently, she spoke at Walmart’s second U.S. Manufacturing Summit, and afterward, she talked with us about Walmart’s… Mon, 18 Aug 2014 21:16:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20140818/a-conversation-with-sba-administrator-maria-contreras-sweet 2014-08-18T21:16:00Z

A Conversation with SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet

U.S. Manufacturing

Sr. Manager, Walmart Digital Communications

As the 24th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet leads the agency’s efforts to aid, counsel and protect the interests of small businesses. Recently, she spoke at Walmart’s second U.S. Manufacturing Summit, and afterward, she talked with us about Walmart’s commitment as well as her own work to help business owners thrive and strengthen the national economy.

WMT: Before the SBA, you had several roles focused on helping people gain access to opportunity, such as serving on the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission. It seems that you have a passion for this type of work - why?

C-S: As a young person watching television, what I saw shaped my views about many things, including what I wanted to do in the future. At the time I didn’t see a young Hispanic woman on television, so I didn’t know what I could truly be. We have people from all over the world who’ve come to America, so we need to embrace that diversity. [At the SBA] I want to make sure that I’m helping to build an America that’s strong and not leaving anyone behind. That’s how to create social mobility: expanding the middle class.

WMT: Tell us about your role at Walmart’s summit. Why was it important for you to attend and speak?

C-S: I wanted to be here for three reasons. One is getting the word out about our programs that I think are so rich and changing people’s lives across the country. The second is that Walmart is such an incredible player in the small business community. It was a great opportunity to be able to talk to folks here, one to thank them for the support that they’ve provided us in our V-WISE program for veteran women business owners, and also to explore ways we can work more closely together in the future. The third reason is that I wanted to hear firsthand from small businesses about what they think their challenges are, so I can ensure that the SBA continues to evolve and respond through smart, bold and accessible initiatives.

WMT: On that note, you’re leading a focus group today with a few businesses attending the summit. What’s your goal for that conversation?

C-S: I’ll give you a story. During the Los Angeles riots in 1992, many corporate and political leaders came together with the goal of building grocery stores and other businesses to help get the economy going again. I thought that made a lot of sense. But because I also think it’s important to call on the customer to see what they need, I went out into the community to ask them. They said, all of those things are fine, but what we need before any of that is a laundromat. We need to be able to wash our clothes so we can feel good about ourselves, go in and interview for jobs, and just exist every day. It’s very important to stay closely connected to our customers to gain these sincere insights and experiences. That way we can be a more responsive and effective SBA.

WMT: That makes a lot of sense. A lot of the work behind Walmart’s U.S. manufacturing initiative is about connecting with suppliers and manufacturers – coming together one-on-one to explore areas of cooperation.  As our company continues along this path, we’re interested in your perspective on Walmart’s commitment and its potential impact on the American economy.

C-S: Clearly, as the largest corporation in the world, this commitment plays a critical role in spurring economic activity. Manufacturing jobs are quality jobs. They have a great multiplier effect, and the fact that you’re having this conference here to spur more growth and connection with that sector – I think will take us a long way.

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Long Checkout Lines? Not this Holiday Season. http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140816/long-checkout-lines-not-this-holiday-season Updated Oct. 31, 2014Editor’s Note: We announced our plans for the Checkout Promise to our associates at our annual Holiday Meeting earlier this year. At that time, we were still hard at work making plans and understanding the details for the offer. It is absolutely our intent, in the majority of… Sat, 16 Aug 2014 13:57:36 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140816/long-checkout-lines-not-this-holiday-season 2014-08-16T13:57:36Z

Long Checkout Lines? Not this Holiday Season.

Business

Chief Merchandising Officer, Walmart U.S.

Updated Oct. 31, 2014

Editor’s Note: We announced our plans for the Checkout Promise to our associates at our annual Holiday Meeting earlier this year. At that time, we were still hard at work making plans and understanding the details for the offer. It is absolutely our intent, in the majority of our stores, to have all of our front-end registers open at peak times, but in the case that unforeseen circumstances occur absolutely all of our registers may not be open during the outlined times.

It’s not time to deck the halls yet, but at Walmart, we never stop thinking about the holidays. Nearly 6,000 of our managers and merchants just finished our annual Holiday Meeting in Denver – where we began getting ready for the biggest shopping season of the year.

While it’s still hot outside, we know our holiday offerings will be even hotter. But our customers have told us one of their biggest frustrations is long checkout lines. They want to get in and out of the store fast, especially during those busy shopping days between Black Friday and Christmas. We’ve listened and we’re making sure every register in our stores is open during those times this holiday season. We’re calling it our Checkout Promise. Here's how it would work:

Starting with the weekend after Black Friday and continuing each weekend through the final weekdays leading into Christmas, all of our registers will be open during peak shopping hours at our Supercenters and other stores that offer general merchandise like electronics, apparel, and toys. Customers can expect to find self-checkouts open and a cashier in every lane.

That’s a Walmart first. We want to do what’s best for our customers, and as Sam Walton always said – the customer is #1.  Shoppers want more convenience, and we’ll deliver so they can focus on celebrating the joy of the holidays with their family and friends.

As the season approaches, be on the lookout for more big changes and announcements to help our customers have the best holiday yet.

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Empowering Manufacturing’s Revolutionary Thinkers http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20140814/empowering-manufacturings-revolutionary-thinkers Creating big change doesn’t just happen in one big step. It does, however, require many big thinkers – the bright minds who can develop new processes and ideas to tackle every detail and slowly bring a massive transformation to life. Expanding U.S. manufacturing is a big change we at Walmart have… Thu, 14 Aug 2014 20:56:04 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20140814/empowering-manufacturings-revolutionary-thinkers 2014-08-14T20:56:04Z

Empowering Manufacturing’s Revolutionary Thinkers

U.S. Manufacturing

Chief Sustainability Officer and President, Walmart Foundation

Creating big change doesn’t just happen in one big step. It does, however, require many big thinkers – the bright minds who can develop new processes and ideas to tackle every detail and slowly bring a massive transformation to life.

Expanding U.S. manufacturing is a big change we at Walmart have been focused on for nearly two years now, and since then, we’ve taken many smaller steps to make it a reality. Today is one of those. At our second U.S. Manufacturing Summit, we not only brought together government leaders, suppliers and our own leadership – we joined the Walmart Foundation and U.S. Conference of Mayors in announcing the first grant recipients of the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund, an investment in the intelligence we need to shape a better future.

One example of a process that could use a forward-thinking re-examination is the manufacturing of blue jeans. This relaxed wardrobe staple may seem pretty simple, but making a pair is actually quite complicated – and not that efficient. The current method typically involves chemical washes and several dips into a vat of dye. It also consumes a good deal of water. Researchers at Texas Tech University, one of today’s fund recipients, have proposed an alternative wherein foam is used to apply the indigo dye, allowing jean manufacturers to finish three times as many pairs during the dyeing stage and reduce water usage by 50% to 70%.

Three other institutions received grants toward textile processes today – Georgia Tech Research Corporation and North Carolina State University at Raleigh have both created concepts for new sewing technology, and the University of Georgia Research Foundation developed an additional approach to more sustainable dyeing. Other recipients included Indiana University and Oregon State University for injection molding innovations and the University of Texas at Arlington for new systems in small motor assembly.

Innovation has long been part of the culture at Walmart, and I was proud to be a part of this announcement. Thinking creatively paid off today for these institutions, but the bigger payoff will be in changing the landscape of U.S. manufacturing and thus our collective future.

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How Trash-Ease Turned Waste into a Win http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20140813/how-trash-ease-turned-waste-into-a-win Garbage has become pretty golden for John Cundy. In July, he attended Walmart’s Open Call for products that support American jobs, and his creation, Trash-Ease, was chosen by our buyers to soon be added to store shelves. The invention is simple: a portable metal frame that allows a trash bag… Wed, 13 Aug 2014 21:53:22 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20140813/how-trash-ease-turned-waste-into-a-win 2014-08-13T21:53:22Z

How Trash-Ease Turned Waste into a Win

U.S. Manufacturing

Garbage has become pretty golden for John Cundy. In July, he attended Walmart’s Open Call for products that support American jobs, and his creation, Trash-Ease, was chosen by our buyers to soon be added to store shelves

The invention is simple: a portable metal frame that allows a trash bag to hang on almost any type of flat surface. But the idea has changed his life and is supporting jobs in Detroit. Watch how he turned his concept into reality – and then later entered the world of retail.

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5 Quick and Easy Back-to-School Crafts and Snacks http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140807/5-quick-and-easy-back-to-school-crafts-and-snacks It’s hard to believe that it’s time to start talking about Back to School already. I mean, it feels like summer just started! But a quick glance at the calendar tells me that the big day is practically here. I won’t lie – there’s a small part of me that will be doing a little happy dance that first… Thu, 07 Aug 2014 20:51:33 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140807/5-quick-and-easy-back-to-school-crafts-and-snacks 2014-08-07T20:51:33Z

5 Quick and Easy Back-to-School Crafts and Snacks

Life

Walmart Mom Blogger, Unsophisticook.com

It’s hard to believe that it’s time to start talking about Back to School already. I mean, it feels like summer just started! But a quick glance at the calendar tells me that the big day is practically here.

I won’t lie – there’s a small part of me that will be doing a little happy dance that first day when the bus pulls away. There’s been a lot of bickering and arguing among my five kids as of late…

But I’ll also miss the one-on-one time that summers afford me, as well as being able to schedule spontaneous family outings any day of the week. So we’ll be making the most of our time before school starts by cooking and crafting and creating fun memories.

I’m still planning exactly what projects we’re going to tackle, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites that we’ve done as a family in the past.

Washi Tape Personalized School Supplies School supplies just don’t get any cuter than these basics that have been doctored up with Washi tape! Young children will need some help using the X-acto knife for trimming the tape (or scissors will work as well), but they’ll have a blast choosing colors and patterns and wrapping the Washi tape to personalize all of their school supplies.

Create A Homework Box This is a little project that we complete every year as we’re shopping for school supplies. We pick up an extra or two of all of the items on our list that we may need to use for homework assignments, and pick up a plastic storage box that will house them all. It makes homework time so much simpler because the supplies are specifically designated for homework only, meaning those house-wide hunts for a glue stick or scissors are a thing of the past!

DIY Friendship Pins Kit Do you remember friendship pins? I put this adorable kit together for my girls when my youngest was starting first grade. She was a little nervous about being in school all day for the first time, and showing her how to make friendship pins was a great way to get her excited about going to school. She couldn’t wait to pass out her creations to her classmates – the pins were the perfect way to help her connect with old and new friends!

DIY No-Crust Frozen Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches Prep for school lunches by making a huge batch of these homemade No-Crust PB & J sandwiches. Dare I say my kids might prefer their custom creations to the store-bought variety? Making a huge batch in the days before school starts will make packing those lunches a snap!

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars for Back To School I’d recommend waiting to whip up a batch of the no bake PB bars until the night before school starts; any sooner and they just won’t last! Three main ingredients, plus your choice of mix-ins, means that this recipe can be made to please. They double as an on-the-go breakfast and a delicious after school snack!

My favorite aspect of all of these projects is that they take very little time and effort, leaving plenty of time for laughing and chatting about the upcoming school year. We all start to go a little stir crazy when the hottest days of summer are upon us, but activities like these always bring us together and end up being tons of fun.

Tara Kuczykowski is the mom behind the blog Unsophisticook.com and is a member of the Walmart Moms Program

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Walmart.com is Getting a New Look http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20140804/walmartcom-is-getting-a-new-look I’m very excited to share that over the coming months, we’re making some substantial updates to Walmart.com, overhauling familiar features and introducing new ones. I’d like to share some of the details of this new Walmart.com in this post.We’ve revised the site from the ground up with a simple,… Mon, 04 Aug 2014 16:12:20 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20140804/walmartcom-is-getting-a-new-look 2014-08-04T16:12:20Z

Walmart.com is Getting a New Look

Innovation

VP, Global Products, Walmart Global eCommerce

I’m very excited to share that over the coming months, we’re making some substantial updates to Walmart.com, overhauling familiar features and introducing new ones. I’d like to share some of the details of this new Walmart.com in this post.

We’ve revised the site from the ground up with a simple, bold, and modern design that sings on any form factor, be it a tablet, a laptop, or a big desktop display. We started our new design from the baseline of small tablets, optimizing it for that form factor, and then carefully considered how each area of the site could adapt itself to take advantage of larger screens with different input mechanisms (i.e., fingers versus mice) when available (I’ll talk more about our work on smartphones in a later post).

Speaking of adaptation, this updated Walmart.com now tailors itself much more to our individual customers, personalizing much more of the content than ever before based on many aspects of a customer’s history with us. We’ve also increased the quality and frequency of the personalized item recommendations we make throughout the site. These recommendations may be based on a customer’s past searches or purchases on the site, but we can also suggest items that other customers typically buy along with the item a customer is shopping. We’re able to deliver much more relevant suggestions because we are now able to draw from the massive trove of data from both online and store purchases.

We’re also continuing to integrate our digital and physical experiences to help customers easily move across our site and our stores. One way we’re doing that is through the new “My Local Store” area of the site that enables our customers to explore the features of their nearby Walmart stores, including a listing of the latest Rollbacks, a selection of coupons and more. Coupled with an all-new Store Finder, using Walmart.com to plan store visits is better than ever before.

The changes I’ve described above (and many more) are already live with nearly half of our daily online shoppers and will be rolled out to all of our customers soon. I’d like to tell you about a few more updates that we’ll release shortly thereafter.

When our customers click on an item to see more details, they’ll soon experience our updated item page, which features an increased focus on product imagery, simpler presentation of buying options and purchasing opportunities from our growing marketplace of third-party sellers, and improved item description content and user reviews.

Walmart.com is known for its fantastic “bundle” values, which give customers the opportunity to buy related products together for savings, and in some cases, to configure their own combinations of products. Coupled with this new item page is a greatly improved bundles experience, making them easier to discover and configure.

We’re also going to release a significant revision to our checkout process, which will become a simple, easy-to-use three-step flow that fits on a single page from start to finish.

The biggest change of all is one that our customers can’t see: an all-new e-commerce platform under the covers that we’ve been building from the ground up over the past two years. This platform fully modernizes the technology we’re using to build Walmart.com and includes our vaunted search engine, our sophisticated personalization and recommendation engines, and other state-of-the-art components that lay the foundation for future updates to come.

While we’re all thrilled for our customers to experience this new Walmart.com, updating the experience that millions of customers depend on isn’t something we take lightly. So we’re therefore being very deliberate about how we roll out these changes, taking it a step at a time and working closely with customers to get their input and making improvements as we go.

There are many more features and dimensions to this new rollout that I didn’t go into in this post, and I look forward to providing more updates as we go forward. Most of all, I’m excited about how all of us here at Walmart will continue to make shopping faster, easier and more fun for our customers.

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Back-to-School Shopping: 5 Stress-Free Tips for Your Family http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140801/back-to-school-shopping-5-stress-free-tips-for-your-family As you think about getting your family ready for back-to-school shopping, you may feel like there's a lot to remember and feel a little stressed. But, with a little planning, back-to-school shopping and organizing doesn't have to be stressful and can actually be relatively care-free – maybe even… Fri, 01 Aug 2014 14:11:37 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140801/back-to-school-shopping-5-stress-free-tips-for-your-family 2014-08-01T14:11:37Z

Back-to-School Shopping: 5 Stress-Free Tips for Your Family

Life

Walmart Mom Blogger, www.modernmami.com

As you think about getting your family ready for back-to-school shopping, you may feel like there's a lot to remember and feel a little stressed. But, with a little planning, back-to-school shopping and organizing doesn't have to be stressful and can actually be relatively care-free – maybe even fun for your family! Let me share some ideas to get your family involved in the back-to-school process.

1. Get the Whole Family Involved

The process of planning, organizing, and shopping for back-to-school doesn't have to fall on just one person. While it may seem easier for either mom or dad (or both) to purchase back-to-school clothes and supplies with little input from the children, getting the whole family involved is a good thing. Children will learn responsibility, the value of their clothes and supplies, and can take pride in being part of the decision-making process when picking out their items. As a parent, you get a little helping hand through delegating some of the responsibilities – an all around win-win! 

2. Plan Ahead 

One of the best things you can do to prepare for back-to-school time is plan ahead. I like to take inventory of clothes and supplies my kids have in the home that can be re-used for the next year. For example, younger kids like my third-grade daughter could easily use scissors, rulers, clipboards, and even pencil boxes that are in good condition. Sometimes at the end of the school year, teachers also return labeled school supplies that were not used, so I save those for use the next year and save myself a little money.

A great resource you can use to plan ahead is the Classrooms by Walmart tool on Walmart.com. This great online tool can help you find school supply lists from schools all across the nation, and if you choose, you can purchase those school supplies online for a super convenient option to help you save time!

3. Shop Early (But Not Too Early!)

It's good to shop a little early, especially for back-to-school supplies and perhaps clothes. The trick is to avoid shopping too early, so your children don't outgrow the new clothes before school begins! However, shopping early will help you bypass some of those last-minute crowds in the store and will give you greater selection on the shelves.

4. Take Advantage of Sales Tax Holidays and Walmart’s Savings Catcher

Many states offer sales tax holidays where state sales taxes are not collected on clothes and school supplies (up to a certain dollar amount). This helps stretch your dollar a little further and can really help save you money when purchasing back-to-school items for multiple children, especially when combined with Walmart's already low prices! Plus starting August 4, Walmart’s Savings Catcher will be available nationwide. Just visit Walmart.com/SavingsCatcher, enter your receipt number, and if a local competitor has a lower advertised price, you get an e-gift card for the difference.

5. In the Store: Divide and Conquer

When my family goes back-to-school shopping, my husband and I typically like to take the "divide and conquer" approach. We split our list up and decide ahead of time what each of us is responsible for. Perhaps he will be in charge of gathering up a few basic school supplies and choosing clothes for our 3-year-old son, while I help our daughter choose and try on clothing. What’s even better this year is that Walmart has new store maps that help you navigate through the store, finding just the supplies you need. Take it from me; consider dividing up when in the store to help you get through your back-to-school shopping quicker!

Hopefully you'll find these five simple back-to-school tips will help make this year's back-to-school season a little smoother for your family! What other tips can you share?

All photos © Melanie Edwards/modernmami™

Melanie Edwards is the founder and editor of modernmami™.com, an award-winning lifestyle blog, and a proud member of the Walmart Moms Program. Originally from Puerto Rico, Melanie now resides in the Tampa Bay area of sunny Florida with her husband of 11 years and two children. Connect with Melanie on Twitter at @modernmami.

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Why Do Ice Cream Sandwiches Melt Slowly? Here's the Scoop. http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20140731/why-do-ice-cream-sandwiches-melt-slowly-heres-the-scoop When I was growing up, a popular scientific experiment was to crack an egg on the sidewalk to see if it would fry. It didn’t. This summer, a new food experiment is becoming popular: measuring how long it takes for an ice cream sandwich to melt. It does melt, but more slowly than a bowl of ice… Thu, 31 Jul 2014 21:26:39 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20140731/why-do-ice-cream-sandwiches-melt-slowly-heres-the-scoop 2014-07-31T21:26:39Z

Why Do Ice Cream Sandwiches Melt Slowly? Here's the Scoop.

Innovation

VP, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, International Dairy Foods Association

When I was growing up, a popular scientific experiment was to crack an egg on the sidewalk to see if it would fry. It didn’t. This summer, a new food experiment is becoming popular: measuring how long it takes for an ice cream sandwich to melt. It does melt, but more slowly than a bowl of ice cream. As a food scientist, I find this experiment interesting; it demonstrates what our industry can do to make a great frozen treat even better. But some consumers have questions about slow melting ice cream.

Is it really ice cream?  Yes. Strict government standards define ice cream. It consists of a mixture of dairy ingredients including cream, milk and nonfat milk solids (such as dried milk or whey) and ingredients for sweetening and flavoring – such as fruits and chocolate – and other ingredients that promote a creamy texture and reduce ice crystals.

Why make a slow melting ice cream? An ice cream cone, stick or sandwich can be messy when it melts too quickly. Also, a slow melting product allows for the release of delicate flavors as the ice cream is consumed. And the melt rate can prevent ice crystals from forming during small temperature changes in the store or home freezer, which can ruin the taste of ice cream.

How do you make slow melting ice cream? There are lots of ways to control the rate that ice cream melts. The combination of ingredients in the ice cream can affect the temperature at which the ice cream freezes and melts. For example, the amount and type of sugars used can raise the freezing point, which is why a can of orange juice concentrate doesn’t freeze solid. Also, the amount of cream can contribute to the rate at which a product melts. 

What ingredients are used to slow melting?  Government standards allow for small amounts of stabilizing and emulsifying ingredients. These can include common food additives derived from beans, such as guar and carob, that interact with the water in the ice cream mix to control ice crystal formulation during freezing, so that the ice cream has a rich, creamy texture.

Emulsifiers, which can be derived from vegetable fat or egg yolks, help bind water and fat together to reduce ice crystals and separation while freezing. The amount of stabilizers and emulsifiers used allow ice cream to melt quickly or slowly and are always listed on the product’s label.

The next time you enjoy an ice cream sandwich, think about all the quality ingredients that your ice cream maker put into it to make it a delicious treat that isn’t dripping on your shirt.

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Luv and Joy in @WalmartLabs http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20140729/luv-and-joy-in-walmartlabs One of those big mail-order catalogs showed up on my porch the other day. I don’t see them too often anymore, and as I brought this one to the recycling bin, a wave of childhood memories came to my mind. I recalled hours spent flipping through such catalogs, full of joy at the discoveries I made on… Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20140729/luv-and-joy-in-walmartlabs 2014-07-29T16:00:00Z

Luv and Joy in @WalmartLabs

Innovation

VP, Global Products, Walmart Global eCommerce

One of those big mail-order catalogs showed up on my porch the other day. I don’t see them too often anymore, and as I brought this one to the recycling bin, a wave of childhood memories came to my mind. I recalled hours spent flipping through such catalogs, full of joy at the discoveries I made on every page.

In the retail business, we thrive on these moments—on finding products we think our customers will love and introducing them to each other. Whether in pages, pixels, or aisles, facilitating such moments is at the very core of what we at Walmart do.

With nearly 245 million people visiting our stores and websites every week, we’re fortunate to create more of these moments than any other retailer in the world. With this opportunity comes a heavy responsibility to do the very best job we can, so we’re always asking ourselves, “How can we improve in our mission help our customers save money and live better?”

Today, we’re giving that mission a big boost: I’m pleased to announce that we’re acquiring Luvocracy, an online community that helps people discover cool products recommended by people whose taste they trust, such as family members, friends and online influencers.

Among the 16 highly-talented people joining us from Luvocracy include its leadership team:

  • CEO/Co-founder Nathan Stoll, an early and influential product manager at Google and co-founder of Aardvark
  • Head of design Brooke Thompson, formerly of Yahoo! with a rich, decorated history there
  • Creative director Christine Martinez, a Pinterest “Power Pinner” with over 5 million followers and author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Pinterest Marketing
  • Head of engineering Ajay Agrawal, who previously was SVP of engineering at Blurb and has held prior roles at eBay, Microsoft, Oracle, and others

We’ve been spending a lot of time with Nathan, Christine, Ajay, Brooke, and the rest of the crew; what an amazing bunch! I’m so delighted to have them join us, and now we’ll be working together to create more of these fantastic moments when customers find delightful products at great prices.

Welcome to the team, Luvocracy. I can’t wait for the ideas we’ve been cooking up together to come to life in our properties around the world.

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It’s Time to Thank Teachers Across America http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140729/its-time-to-thank-teachers-across-america Her resume alone commands respect: She’s taught kindergarten at a rural elementary school since the 1970s. That means that every year, she not only ensures that students learn the basics like numbers and letters – she also shapes a gaggle of fresh-eyed, boundlessly energetic 5-year-olds into polite… Tue, 29 Jul 2014 13:02:20 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140729/its-time-to-thank-teachers-across-america 2014-07-29T13:02:20Z

It’s Time to Thank Teachers Across America

Business

Sr. Manager, Walmart Digital Communications

Most of us can recall a teacher who helped us learn, change and grow. For me, there were several, but there’s one who particularly stands out: my mom.

Her resume alone commands respect: She’s taught kindergarten at a rural elementary school since the 1970s. That means that every year, she not only ensures that students learn the basics like numbers and letters – she also shapes a gaggle of fresh-eyed, boundlessly energetic 5-year-olds into polite and productive members of society.

For some students, she may be the first educational influence they’ve experienced, and she takes that responsibility very seriously. When I lived at home, I remember her working countless nights not just grading papers, but also building and creating projects and materials that would give her class an extra boost. All that required was her own extra time, which she didn’t have much of, being a single mother to my sister and me.

So when Walmart announced Teacher Appreciation Week, I couldn’t wait to tell her about it. Through the program, which is happening now through July 31, she and other educators across the U.S. can receive 10% savings on classroom supplies. Over the years, going the extra mile for her class has sometimes meant digging into her own pocket, so I knew she would appreciate the discount. “Every little bit helps,” she replied when I shared the news.

This is the first year for Teacher Appreciation Week, but Walmart has been showing its support of educators for many years. The Walmart Foundation has a Teacher Rewards program, where all Sam’s Club, Walmart stores and distribution centers nationwide give gift cards to local schools to help teachers stock their classrooms. And for the third year, our online tool Classrooms by Walmart provides a convenient way for teachers to share supply lists with new students – and even create classroom wish lists of their own.

I’m proud that after all these years, families in my small town still request to have their kids enrolled in my mom’s class. There are stories like hers in schools in every state, and it’s the perfect time to let those teachers know how big of an impact they’ve truly had.

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Working Together for Change in Bangladesh http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140722/working-together-for-change-in-bangladesh This week, I’ve been in Washington, D.C., for the Annual Meeting of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety. It’s amazing that in one year, this coalition of retailers has driven significant change to the ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh. Not only have we worked to make it a safer place,… Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:10:09 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140722/working-together-for-change-in-bangladesh 2014-07-23T13:10:09Z

Working Together for Change in Bangladesh

Business

Vice President, Responsible Sourcing, Walmart

This week, I’ve been in Washington, D.C., for the Annual Meeting of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety. It’s amazing that in one year, this coalition of retailers has driven significant change to the ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh. Not only have we worked to make it a safer place, we’re also seeing the promising beginnings of a long-term shift toward a culture of safety, compliance and transparency.

From the structural and fire safety experts providing guidance to factory owners on how to make buildings safer, to the trainers who are not only educating workers on how to escape a dangerous situation but also empowering them to speak up when things aren’t right – this level of collaboration has been game-changing for Bangladesh.   

My team at Walmart is charged with driving the company’s global responsible sourcing efforts. Over the past year, our ability to impact our supply chain at the most critical intersections for improvement has been accelerated by working together with our Alliance member partners on the ground in Bangladesh.  In factories where we have mutual sourcing interests, owners are receiving clear and consistent guidance related to standards and together we’ve insisted that factories in remediation ensure that workers only work in buildings with an acceptable level of compliance.

As we look to the year ahead, I am ever grounded by the reason we’re doing this – and am hopeful that the investment of time and resources by people who are passionate about making a difference will result in a long-term positive impact on the workers.

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3 Technologies Farmers are Using to Protect the Environment http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140722/3-technologies-farmers-are-using-to-protect-the-environment In April, General Mills Chairman and CEO Ken Powell joined Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon to announce a commitment to accelerate innovation in sustainable agriculture and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through an initiative called Field to Market (FTM).The announcement was… Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140722/3-technologies-farmers-are-using-to-protect-the-environment 2014-07-22T13:00:00Z

3 Technologies Farmers are Using to Protect the Environment

Sustainability

Chief Sustainability Officer, General Mills

In April, General Mills Chairman and CEO Ken Powell joined Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon to announce a commitment to accelerate innovation in sustainable agriculture and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through an initiative called Field to Market (FTM).

The announcement was made in Bentonville, Arkansas, at Walmart’s first-ever Sustainable Product Expo.

General Mills and Walmart pledged to more than double the reach of Field to Market, a nonprofit organization dedicated to working across the agriculture supply chain to address the food demands of the rapidly growing population, while conserving natural resources.

Success in this endeavor would mean that FTM would expand to 2.5 million acres by 2015.

Last week, Walmart and General Mills met with FTM and farmers in Idaho to talk about sustainable agriculture best practices and to kick off an innovation challenge aimed at reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) through nitrogen fertilizer optimization technologies.

The technologies selected through this challenge will help farmers make sure that every pound of nitrogen they apply is used by their crop as effectively as possible, bringing the greatest yield at the lowest cost and reducing the impact on the environment.

So, what are some of the current technologies being used to increase farmers’ productivity and protect the environment for future generations?

Here are three examples:

1. Fieldprint Calculator – This innovative calculator offered by FTM allows farmers to track information related to their specific farm. They are able to compare how they are doing against average results in their area.

The farmers can then identify opportunities to improve their results and increase their productivity in future years while having a positive impact on land use, conservation, soil carbon, irrigation water use, water quality, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. “By visualizing what is happening, it changes the way we do things,” said one of the farmers in Idaho this week.

2. Fertigation – This technology allows the application of nitrogen at the same time irrigation water is applied.

This approach helps prevent the loss of nitrogen into the air that occurs when fertilizer is applied to the top of the soil by placing the nitrogen right at the roots of the plants, where it is needed.

3. Aerial imagery analysis – This technology is helping farmers target specific parts of their fields that require herbicide or fertilization treatment, avoiding the cost and potential environmental damage of spraying an entire field.

We’re excited to build on this toolkit of technologies this winter when we announce the results of our innovation challenge with Field to Market.

Accelerating innovation in sustainable agriculture will continue to be a priority for Walmart and General Mills given the promise it holds for farm communities and the long-term value it provides to society, the environment and business.

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Serving Customers Smarter for Back-to-School http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140721/serving-customers-smarter-for-back-to-school In fact, people are shopping for school earlier than ever – about 25% of families with kids start buying supplies two months ahead of time, up from just 15% a few years ago, according to the National Retail Federation. Because of this, our stores are ready now and will be until students are back to… Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:58:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140721/serving-customers-smarter-for-back-to-school 2014-07-21T16:58:00Z

Serving Customers Smarter for Back-to-School

Business

Sr. Director, Corporate Communications, Walmart U.S.

Kids across the nation are enjoying summertime, with nothing on their minds but swimming pools and late mornings. But many moms are already thinking ahead to when the school bell will ring.

In fact, people are shopping for school earlier than ever – about 25% of families with kids start buying supplies two months ahead of time, up from just 15% a few years ago, according to the National Retail Federation. Because of this, our stores are ready now and will be until students are back to class. 

This year, we’ve worked hard to serve our customers even better by making back-to-school shopping even easier and more affordable. That means no gimmicks, just low prices on the most popular items, backed all season by our Ad Match Guarantee.

We’re particularly excited about these five new elements:

1.     Lower prices. We’re rolling back prices on 10% more back-to-school items compared to last year, including more than 2,000 items for under $3, more than 800 items under $2 and more than 300 under $1. 

  • Back-to-school essentials like 1-inch binders, Expo dry-erase markers and Uni-Ball gel pens are all less than $3.
  • Top-selling items including 12-count colored pencils, Fiskars scissors, 10-packs of mechanical pencils, Sharpie highlighters and Five Star notebooks are all less than $2.
  • Popular favorites like 24-count Crayola crayons, 2-count Elmer’s Glue Sticks, 1-inch binders and packs of wide-ruled notebook paper are all less than $1.

2.     An easier, faster shopping experience. Walmart.com has more back-to-school items than ever – in fact, 30% more items than last year, making it even easier for our customers to find what they’re looking for.

In our stores, customers can find items like notebook paper, folders, pens and pencils placed in the aisles they shop the most, making it easy to pick up other items on their lists. As always, we’ll have school supply lists available, and we’ll also have maps for easier navigation.

3.     Expanded apparel guarantee. We’re expanding our quality guarantee for apparel to include clothing purchased on Walmart.com. If customers aren’t completely satisfied with clothing they’ve bought, they can return the item with a receipt for a full refund within 90 days.

4.     10% off for teachers. From July 25-31, teachers will get 10% back on a Walmart eGift Card on more than 15,000 classroom supplies every time they shop in our stores. The Teacher Appreciation event joins Walmart’s ongoing efforts to support educators, giving more than $20 million in the last five years.

5.     The hottest trends. Our customers will find exclusive apparel, including top-selling graphic tees with characters from popular movies like Disney’s Frozen and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

For more than 50 years, our customers have trusted us to have the items they need at the prices they can afford all year long, and especially during the back-to-school season. Whether we’re talking pencils and pens, new clothes or peanut butter and jelly, we work hard to be there for them.

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Make Your Summer Cookout a Surefire Success http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140718/make-your-summer-cookout-a-surefire-success Summer is here, and that means lots of grilling, lots of swimming, and even more ice cream for my family. Apparently, summer means grilling for plenty of other families, too – 80% of all U.S. households own a grill or smoker, and the most popular grilling occasions are holidays like Memorial Day,… Fri, 18 Jul 2014 11:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140718/make-your-summer-cookout-a-surefire-success 2014-07-18T11:00:00Z

Make Your Summer Cookout a Surefire Success

Life

Sr. Director, Corporate Communications, Walmart U.S.

Summer is here, and that means lots of grilling, lots of swimming, and even more ice cream for my family. Apparently, summer means grilling for plenty of other families, too – 80% of all U.S. households own a grill or smoker, and the most popular grilling occasions are holidays like Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association.

So, how are you celebrating the rest of these sunny summer days?  Whether you want to grill the ultimate burger, or cool off with some Fire and Ice Punch, check out this graphic for recipe ideas and more, plus grilling tips and a few fun products to boost the flavor of your next barbecue.  

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Seeking: Leading Companies to Drive Renewable Energy Revolution http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140717/seeking-leading-companies-to-drive-renewable-energy-revolution Editor's Note: Earlier this month, Walmart joined Bloomberg, Facebook, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Novelis, Procter and Gamble, REI, and Sprint in signing the Renewable Energy Buyer’s Principles. The goal of these Principles is to increase availability of… Thu, 17 Jul 2014 16:13:11 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140717/seeking-leading-companies-to-drive-renewable-energy-revolution 2014-07-17T16:13:11Z

Seeking: Leading Companies to Drive Renewable Energy Revolution

Sustainability

Director U.S. Climate and Renewable Energy Policy, WWF

Editor's Note: Earlier this month, Walmart joined Bloomberg, Facebook, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Novelis, Procter and Gamble, REI, and Sprint in signing the Renewable Energy Buyer’s Principles. The goal of these Principles is to increase availability of cost-competitive renewable energy to run their businesses and better communicate their purchasing needs and expectations to the marketplace. 

What can rotary dial telephones, cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions and door to door milk delivery teach us about the renewable energy revolution? They show us how once commonplace products and services have and will always be replaced by newer ones. It’s not farfetched to say 2014 is to renewable energy what 1955 was to the CRT TV – the golden age of renewable energy is just now upon us.

Many of America’s largest companies are also convinced that a clean energy future is what they want, and they’ve set significant goals to get there. In fact, 43% of Fortune 500 companies have set renewable energy and efficiency targets, and – better still – 60% of the Fortune 100 have set targets.

These corporations are demonstrating real progress toward their goals. For example, Mars, Inc., a food company known for its chocolate products, recently announced that it will build a 200-megawatt (MW) wind farm in Lamesa, TX, which, according to Mars, is the largest long-term commitment to renewable energy made by any food manufacturing business in the U.S. We read about other large deals nearly every day.

In the process of switching to renewable energy, companies have gained a great deal of experience. Unfortunately, this transition hasn’t been easy. Utilities have been slow to respond to their major customers’ needs. When the companies bypass their utilities to purchase renewable energy elsewhere, they are having successes, but face complex deals and financing arrangements making it hard to buy renewables at the scale they need.

What do the companies want? The companies want utilities, utility regulators, and providers of renewable energy to understand that they have large demand for clean renewable energy. The system that exists now makes it difficult to meet their goals. But companies are willing, and in many cases would prefer to work with all these key players to make renewable energy available more quickly.

In every other aspect of their business, companies are used to a competitive market for the commodities they buy. The best quality goods at the most favorable terms win the contract. However, where energy is concerned -- and particularly renewable energy -- companies have far fewer choices. In many markets, companies have no choice at all. In others, choices are extremely limited or require a price premium over fossil-fuel produced energy, in quantities too small to meet the company needs, and subject to ongoing price volatility. All in all, this hinders companies’ ability to meet their renewable energy targets and discourages the setting of more ambitious targets. We should be rewarding these corporate leaders trying to do the right thing with their energy use, not slowing them down.

On the upside, there is a huge opportunity available to utilities and renewable energy providers who can bring companies what they need. The companies that have signed onto the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles alone account for 8.4 million megawatt hours of demand per year, enough electricity to power nearly 800,000 homes each of the next few years. Many of these companies would prefer to meet this need by purchasing renewable electricity through their local utility companies, but if utility companies are unable to provide it, they are -- and will -- continue to go elsewhere.

A more robust, open renewable energy market with innovative tariffs would create the competition needed to encourage other companies to set and meet aggressive renewable targets, something that would literally benefit the entire planet. If that sounds like a good idea to you, we welcome more companies to sign onto the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles.

Intrigued? Shoot me an email and we’ll talk about meeting your company’s renewable energy targets. For utility regulators, it’s time to find out what your customers want and find a way to meet that need. If you don’t, someone else will.

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From Sales Pitch to Shelf: A Merchant’s Advice http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140702/from-sales-pitch-to-shelf-a-merchants-advice Every week, my work is evaluated by 140 million bosses. That’s because in product development at Walmart U.S., my most important focus is pleasing our customers. Clearly, everyone at the company works toward this goal in some way or another. But in merchandising, understanding our customers’ wants… Wed, 02 Jul 2014 22:32:28 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140702/from-sales-pitch-to-shelf-a-merchants-advice 2014-07-02T22:32:28Z

From Sales Pitch to Shelf: A Merchant’s Advice

Business

Sr. Director, Product Development, Kids’ Apparel

Every week, my work is evaluated by 140 million bosses.

That’s because in product development at Walmart U.S., my most important focus is pleasing our customers. Clearly, everyone at the company works toward this goal in some way or another. But in merchandising, understanding our customers’ wants and needs is a science.  

On Tuesday, Walmart will open our doors to better serve our customers on one specific front: adding more great products that support American jobs. It’s our first Open Call event, where hundreds of U.S. suppliers will come to our headquarters and meet with Walmart buyers.

Have you ever wondered about a supplier’s journey from sales pitch to the shelf? As a merchant, I can tell you that there are definitely some points that suppliers hoping to sell to Walmart should consider.

First, go to a Walmart store.

Examine the products there, take a look at who’s shopping and ask yourself, why is Walmart the right place for my item?

Next, decide who the customer is for this product.

While I’ve listed this as the second step, it may actually be the most critical. Walmart’s customers are typically budget conscious and convenience oriented. Like I mentioned before, that’s 140 million people per week – and they’re all looking for great values.

Lastly, determine how the product should be presented in-store and/or online.

What’s the best way to get the attention of the customers you’re seeking – and what makes the most sense for your item? Is it a national or regional item? Should it be in one store, or at all of our more than 4,000 locations?

If the Walmart buyer and potential supplier are aligned on all of these points, the next questions are usually tactical: The next questions will be, how many can I get? What is the price? When can you ship the product? The Walmart buying team is collaborative. Your first meeting may not lead to an order – it’s simply the first step.

An example of a product that meets these expectations is our American flag t-shirt, supplied by Greensource. With Independence Day coming up, a mom can buy one for each member of her family of four for roughly $20 total. Is Walmart a place she can expect to find a graphic tee? Absolutely.  And even better – it’s made in the U.S., supporting our domestic manufacturing initiative I mentioned earlier.

On Tuesday, I can’t wait to see how we can exceed our customers’ expectations with many more great products that support American jobs.

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Serving Members Through Added Savings – And Security http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20140701/serving-members-through-added-savings-and-security When paying with a credit card, the safety of your information is priceless. So, what if you could enjoy even tighter security – and periodically even get money back? The new Sam’s Club MasterCard offers members just that. Not only is it the first card from a major retailer that employs… Tue, 01 Jul 2014 15:44:01 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20140701/serving-members-through-added-savings-and-security 2014-07-01T15:44:01Z

Serving Members Through Added Savings – And Security

Innovation

SVP, Merchandise Business Services, Sam’s Club

When paying with a credit card, the safety of your information is priceless. So, what if you could enjoy even tighter security – and periodically even get money back?

The new Sam’s Club MasterCard offers members just that. Not only is it the first card from a major retailer that employs chip-enabled technology – it also provides cash back benefits that make using the card an even greater overall value.

Our members pay to shop with us, so we’re constantly working on ways to expand the value of membership. Innovation and technology are huge drivers of that. Walmart has been working for eight years to upgrade to chip-enabled equipment across all our locations, and Sam’s Club is proud to lead the way in launching a card that goes along with it.

It works like this: In addition to a magnetic strip, each card has an embedded microchip that stores the information required to authenticate, authorize and process transactions. Using the card at a chip-enabled device provides an extra layer of security because the chip does not contain the credit card number – instead, it uses a dynamic code. Overall, the embedded chip also makes the card more difficult to counterfeit.

From talking to our members, we know that their top concerns are saving time and money. With credit cards, security also tops the list. This new MasterCard provides a solution for all of these, and because of that, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

When it comes to saving money, one topic our members constantly mention is gas. With fuel prices fluctuating daily around the country, anything helps. That’s one reason the top tier of our cash back program through the card applies to fuel – allowing our members to earn up to 5% cash back on those purchases.  They can also earn 3% cash back on dining and travel, and 1% on all other transactions, up to $5,000 annually.

As the leader of our services programs, enhancing the Sam’s Club membership with these extra benefits is my sole focus every day. With the announcement of greater security – and savings – through this new MasterCard, as well as initiatives like the travel booking portal we launched last week, our members are seeing the results. 

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​Are You Ready for Some Futebol? http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140626/are-you-ready-for-some-futebol News flash: There’s some fairly significant soccer going on in Brazil this summer, and all the world is watching. In celebration of the ongoing tournament, here are some fun facts about how fans bring Walmart into the game. Thu, 26 Jun 2014 16:14:21 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140626/are-you-ready-for-some-futebol 2014-06-26T16:14:21Z

​Are You Ready for Some Futebol?

Life

News flash: There’s some fairly significant soccer going on in Brazil this summer, and all the world is watching. In celebration of the ongoing tournament, here are some fun facts about how fans bring Walmart into the game.

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How Sustainable Growing Technology Creates USDA-Certified Herbs http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140618/how-sustainable-growing-technology-creates-usda-certified-herbs Shenandoah Growers has more than two decades of experience in culinary herbs—those that are fresh cut and kept in those plastic “clam” packs you often see in the supermarket, as well as living organic herbs that you find in pots in the produce section of your supermarket. The decade-long… Wed, 18 Jun 2014 17:17:16 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140618/how-sustainable-growing-technology-creates-usda-certified-herbs 2014-06-18T17:17:16Z

How Sustainable Growing Technology Creates USDA-Certified Herbs

Sustainability

Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Shenandoah Growers

Shenandoah Growers has more than two decades of experience in culinary herbs—those that are fresh cut and kept in those plastic “clam” packs you often see in the supermarket, as well as living organic herbs that you find in pots in the produce section of your supermarket. The decade-long relationship we’ve enjoyed with Walmart is indicative of our shared commitment to sustainable business practices.

We’ve learned some of those practices from Lincolnshire Herbs, a fellow herb grower in the U.K. that serves Walmart subsidiary, Asda. We share many systems and processes – such as capturing rainwater for use in plant irrigation, and using computerized methods to control ventilation – that make our growing practices consistently “green.”

Using innovative technology and sustainable agriculture practices is how many of our products bear the “USDA Organic” label, meaning they have been raised in accordance with U.S. National Organic Program requirements. This is important to us – and to consumers who want fresh, organically-grown herbs straight from the plant as a natural, healthy way to add flavor to meals. 

One of the unique aspects of our greenhouse is a flapper technology on the cart that moves over each line of several times per day. We built this into the original greenhouse design back in 2008. The flappers play an integral role in the growing process for these plants, as well as the biological controls that protect them. Because our plants are certified organic by the USDA, we have to make sure all biological controls are also organic. The flappers pass by the plants 14 times per day, they shake the leaves, which disturb insects. When these insects fly up, they get caught on the yellow sticky tape that is connected to the apparatus. It’s an ultra-organic insecticide, in a sense.

These flappers also help make the plants stronger. Every time they move across the tops of the plants, they brush the leaves, simulating the wind. This brushing of the leaves forces the plant stalks to become stronger to support that movement and keep the plant from falling over. That strengthening is part of the natural process of a plant to support itself against the elements. Ultimately, this helps grow plants that are stronger than other greenhouse grown herbs, allowing us to supply our customers with high quality, strong plants year round—and consumers with herbs they can enjoy around the dinner table.

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A Special Bond Between Walmart and Associates http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20140611/a-special-bond-between-walmart-and-associates I met Dina and Joanne under the awning of Walton’s 5&10 last week.   Together, Dina and her daughter Joanne had driven to Bentonville, Arkansas, “on their own dime” to experience the wonder of Associate Week and the Shareholders Meeting.  They made the journey because visiting… Wed, 11 Jun 2014 21:12:29 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20140611/a-special-bond-between-walmart-and-associates 2014-06-11T21:12:29Z

A Special Bond Between Walmart and Associates

Heritage

Sr. Director, Walmart Heritage Group

I met Dina and Joanne under the awning of Walton’s 5&10 last week.  

Together, Dina and her daughter Joanne had driven to Bentonville, Arkansas, “on their own dime” to experience the wonder of Associate Week and the Shareholders Meeting.  They made the journey because visiting Walton’s 5&10 was on Dina’s bucket list.

Dina said that someone had told her she wouldn’t have a good time if she wasn’t an associate selected by the store to represent them at the meeting. Dina didn’t listen. She didn’t take this journey off her bucket list. She came anyway – and was having the time of her life.

“Let’s give you a real good story to bring back,“ I offered. And so Dina and her daughter got a glimpse of The Walmart World Room during the space’s rare down time.  It’s a unique room above Walton’s Five and Dime where special events take place with views of the Bentonville Square.

A meeting of the Walmart World magazine team was in session one floor below us.  And so, as we made our way to the second floor, Dina remarked how her visit was even better than she expected.  Interrupting the meeting, I introduced Dina to the team. The team, of course, was delighted to meet her.  Tears came to Dina’s eyes as she told them how being in Bentonville and part of Shareholders was “so wonderful, it’s like a dream.” Turning her head, she apologized for being so sentimental. But no apology was needed; we’ve all been there before.

Amanda Recalls Hurricane Katrina

Down in the gallery, Amanda from New Orleans watched the video of how Walmart responded to Hurricane Katrina. “Walmart was there for me,” she said. “I lost everything and Walmart helped me through it, every step of the way. I know people often say we’re like a big family, but we really are.” And then the tears welled up in her eyes and she remarked how much it all meant to her.

A Special Bond

There’s something about our company that moves even the most stoic among us.  It’s always been there and is as strong as ever. It’s part of our company’s DNA. That something is a bond we all feel, belonging to and caring for something more than just our selves, knowing that we’re not alone in this world and that Walmart makes a difference in our own lives and in the lives of others.   

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Meet Zach: CMN Hospitals Colorado Champion Child http://blog.walmart.com/community/20140610/meet-zach-cmn-hospitals-colorado-champion-child Zach was chosen to represent his state for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals as its 2013 Colorado Champion child. He served as an ambassador for the millions of sick and injured kids treated at CMN Hospitals. Zach, 14, is a competitive snowboarder, winning the 2012-2014 Wells Fargo Ski Cup… Tue, 10 Jun 2014 15:40:22 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/community/20140610/meet-zach-cmn-hospitals-colorado-champion-child 2014-06-10T15:40:22Z

Meet Zach: CMN Hospitals Colorado Champion Child

Community

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals 2013 Colorado Champion

Zach was chosen to represent his state for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals as its 2013 Colorado Champion child. He served as an ambassador for the millions of sick and injured kids treated at CMN Hospitals. Zach, 14, is a competitive snowboarder, winning the 2012-2014 Wells Fargo Ski Cup National Adaptive Races and was selected to participate on a training team for the International Paralympics.

Hi, Walmart! My name is Zach. I was born with left hemiplegic cerebral palsy, which caused seizures, movement challenges and problems eating from a very young age. Doctors told my parents I would not be able to do many things, but once I began treatment at my local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, Children’s Hospital Colorado, doctors began to tell them what I could do. By the time I entered elementary school I was well enough to join the Hospital Sports Program, where I learned to snowboard with adaptive equipment.

Last week at Walmart and Sam’s Club meetings, I got the opportunity to thank you for helping fund a gait lab at my hospital. This lab could see my leg length discrepancy, how I was walking (my gait) to accommodate it and then helped doctors understand which muscles I needed to target in my treatment plan. Because of that I found a compatible sport, and now I’m able to be a competitive snowboarder!

I love sharing my story with others and spreading the message that children’s hospitals are in need of financial support from their community. It’s thanks to donations from people like you that I am where I am today.

I recently got to interview Walmart and Sam’s Club associates about how you have helped kids like me by raising funds for CMN Hospitals. I even got to step aboard a Walmart truck with the Logistics crew as its honorary driver for the day. What a blast! Everyone was so giving and kind. I had people from all over giving me pins from their stores and states and patches specific to their job, and I will wear them all with pride.

I’ve loved the chances I’ve had to talk with you in person. If you didn't work so hard to raise funds for my Children's Miracle Network Hospital, I wouldn't be able to walk, run and make awesome family memories like I have today. Thank you, Walmart!

To learn more about Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, or to donate to the member hospital serving your community’s kids, please visit CMNHospitals.org.

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Shareholders Meeting 2014 Highlights http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140606/shareholders-meeting-2014-highlights Harry Connick Jr. crooned, Pharrell made us all happy, and Robin Thicke showed off his moves — all before 9 a.m. The 2014 Shareholders Meeting celebrated the hard work of our associates around the world, and CEO Doug McMillon emphasized our continued commitment to serve our customers. Who knew a… Fri, 06 Jun 2014 16:12:55 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140606/shareholders-meeting-2014-highlights 2014-06-06T16:12:55Z

Shareholders Meeting 2014 Highlights

Business

Harry Connick Jr. crooned, Pharrell made us all happy, and Robin Thicke showed off his moves — all before 9 a.m. The 2014 Shareholders Meeting celebrated the hard work of our associates around the world, and CEO Doug McMillon emphasized our continued commitment to serve our customers. Who knew a business meeting could be so much fun?

Check out the slideshow below for the highlights, and watch the webcast replay here: walmartshareholders.com.

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A Message from Our Chairman - Nearly 30 Years Ago http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20140606/a-message-from-our-chairman-nearly-30-years-ago Our board chairman Rob Walton started the 2014 Shareholders Meeting by sharing some words written by his father and our chairman, Sam Walton. Rob reminded associates and shareholders that our customers are the most important part of our business. Here's the original article by Sam Walton that… Fri, 06 Jun 2014 14:01:59 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20140606/a-message-from-our-chairman-nearly-30-years-ago 2014-06-06T14:01:59Z

A Message from Our Chairman - Nearly 30 Years Ago

Heritage

Director, Walmart Digital Communications

Our board chairman Rob Walton started the 2014 Shareholders Meeting by sharing some words written by his father and our chairman, Sam Walton. Rob reminded associates and shareholders that our customers are the most important part of our business. Here's the original article by Sam Walton that appeared in Walmart World Magazine in 1985.

My Friends:

I seem to be a little light on a material this Monday (certainly shouldn’t be) and my deadline is on me.  So why not let me repeat the most basic fundamental and important part of our business.  You’ve seen it before, we’ve talked about it often, but we can’t over-emphasize the importance of our wonderful customers to us and our futures. Think on each of these Wal-Mart commandments:

  • Customers are the most important people in any business.
  • Customers are not dependent on us.  We are dependent on them.
  • Customers are not interruptions of our work – they are the purpose of our work.
  • Customers do us a favor when they shop with us.  We are not doing them a favor by serving them.
  • Customers are part of our business. They are not outsiders.
  • Customers are not people with whom you argue or match wits.
  • Customers are people who bring us their wants.  It is our job to fill those wants.
  • Customers are not cold statistics.  They are flesh and blood human beings with emotions and feelings like our own.
  • Customers are deserving of the most courteous and attentive treatment we can give them.
  • Customers are the people that make it possible to pay your salary.
  • Customers are the lifeblood of this and every other business.

Our stockholders and directors meetings last week were terrific.  I felt real good about the entire event and we all owe so much to Bette Hendrix and all the teams that worked so hard to make it all come off on time and so very well done.  I just can’t say enough for everyone – all the committees and drivers from out General Office.  It was without questions the best we’ve ever had, even if high water prevented our Annual Float down Big Sugar Creek. 

The highlight, for me at least, was getting to see, visit and listen to the over 400 stockholder associates who were elected by you to attend our shareholders meeting.  They were the greatest – all eyes full of enthusiasm and Wal-Mart spirit – all during the trip – all day – and I’m sure they didn’t let up on those long bus rides home.  What wonderful associate partners we have. That’s the real key to our Wal-Mart success.  Our people, like those who represented you so well here, and everyone throughout Wal-Mart.

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Shareholders T-Shirts Are a Big Deal, Eh? http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20140606/shareholders-t-shirts-are-a-big-deal-eh Sometimes they're funny, sometimes they sparkle, but no matter what, they always embody the culture of the market and brand. I loved Asda associates in their hot pink, and Brazil showcased their country's flag design. With the World Cup right around the corner, I saw quite a few soccer jersey tees… Fri, 06 Jun 2014 11:45:03 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20140606/shareholders-t-shirts-are-a-big-deal-eh 2014-06-06T11:45:03Z

Shareholders T-Shirts Are a Big Deal, Eh?

Heritage

Director, Walmart Digital Communications

It's not a real competition, but it should be, and this year I'm unofficially declaring Walmart Canada the winner. Every year at our annual Shareholders meeting, visiting associates wear matching t-shirts to identify their country or market. They have a new t-shirt design for each day of the week, and we all look forward to seeing what each country has created.

Sometimes they're funny, sometimes they sparkle, but no matter what, they always embody the culture of the market and brand. I loved Asda associates in their hot pink, and Brazil showcased their country's flag design. With the World Cup right around the corner, I saw quite a few soccer jersey tees this week too. But, oh, Canada. They're my favorite this year -- particularly the shirts that look exactly like RCMP uniforms (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), or "Mounties" to those of us south of their border. And no Mountie uniform is complete without the trademark hat, so they all had one of those too. 

One of our very own associates is responsible for the design. Angela Woodcock, who works in our Private Brand department at Walmart Canada headquarters, was honored for her handiwork at an associate meeting this week by Shelley Broader, President & CEO of Walmart EMEA and former CEO of Walmart Canada. Shelley even took a selfie with Angela to celebrate.

Angela designs products for Walmart's private label clothing line, George, so she's already a natural fashionista. When I asked what inspired her to use the RCMP uniform, she said, "Canadians are known for our sense of humor and poking fun at ourselves. The RCMP uniform immediately came to mind."

Angela has been with Walmart Canada for four years, and thinks she has a pretty good gig. "I think I have the best job at Walmart. I like developing products for customers, and this was a good way to flex a different creative muscle."

I have to admit I'm a little jealous of all the international associates' amazing shirts, and I wish I could get a few for myself. But you won't find these for sale at your local Walmart store. These are one-of-a-kind and are reserved only for associates invited to attend Shareholders Week -- making them extra special souvenirs and something associates will remember for a lifetime. 

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Then and Now: 1984 vs. 2014 http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20140605/then-and-now-1984-vs-2014 Walmart CEO Doug McMillon's first Shareholders experience was in 1984. It was his first day at Walmart and although he was hired to pick orders and load trailers, he helped decorate the high school gym where the big event took place. A lot has changed since then, both with the Shareholders meeting… Thu, 05 Jun 2014 21:32:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20140605/then-and-now-1984-vs-2014 2014-06-05T21:32:00Z

Then and Now: 1984 vs. 2014

Heritage

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon's first Shareholders experience was in 1984. It was his first day at Walmart and although he was hired to pick orders and load trailers, he helped decorate the high school gym where the big event took place. A lot has changed since then, both with the Shareholders meeting and with our company. Take a look at how the business has grown — from Doug's early days in the warehouse to taking the Shareholders stage as CEO.

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Who is Hosting Shareholders 2014? http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140605/who-is-hosting-shareholders-2014 My first Shareholders meeting was in 2007, and that just happened to be the first year that Walmart invited a celebrity to host the event. I was so excited when Sinbad took the stage and surprised everyone in the arena, and I've been starstruck each and every year since then. Hugh Jackman in 2013… Thu, 05 Jun 2014 21:26:08 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140605/who-is-hosting-shareholders-2014 2014-06-05T21:26:08Z

Who is Hosting Shareholders 2014?

Business

Director, Walmart Digital Communications

My first Shareholders meeting was in 2007, and that just happened to be the first year that Walmart invited a celebrity to host the event. I was so excited when Sinbad took the stage and surprised everyone in the arena, and I've been starstruck each and every year since then. Hugh Jackman in 2013 has been my favorite host so far, and I can't wait to see who will take the stage tomorrow. The anticipation every year is half the fun!

2007 – Sinbad

2008 – Queen Latifah

2009 – Ben Stiller

2010 – Jamie Foxx

2011 – Will Smith

2012 – Justin Timberlake

2013 – Hugh Jackman

2014 -- ?

 

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Walmart Celebrates Associates http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140604/walmart-celebrates-associates Shareholders Week is in full swing in Bentonville, and thousands of Walmart associates are celebrating their hard work and a company they're proud of. This is our week to celebrate our associates — our shareholders. The people who keep this company running and who serve customers in stores every… Thu, 05 Jun 2014 03:42:59 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140604/walmart-celebrates-associates 2014-06-05T03:42:59Z

Walmart Celebrates Associates

Business

Vice President, Walmart Corporate Communications

Shareholders Week is in full swing in Bentonville, and thousands of Walmart associates are celebrating their hard work and a company they're proud of.

This is our week to celebrate our associates — our shareholders. The people who keep this company running and who serve customers in stores every day are here because this is our associates' week to shine.

Take a look at the slideshow below and see for yourself.

Watch the replay of the 2014 Walmart Shareholders Meeting

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Bringing the Shareholders Event to Life http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140604/bringing-the-shareholders-event-to-life Mark Henneberger, vice president Shows and Events at Walmart, shares what it takes to make Shareholders week a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for associates, as excerpted from the June 2014 edition of Celebrate Arkansas Magazine.  Celebrate Arkansas Magazine: Tell me a little about the… Wed, 04 Jun 2014 15:18:53 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140604/bringing-the-shareholders-event-to-life 2014-06-04T15:18:53Z

Bringing the Shareholders Event to Life

Business

Mark Henneberger, vice president Shows and Events at Walmart, shares what it takes to make Shareholders week a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for associates, as excerpted from the June 2014 edition of Celebrate Arkansas Magazine. 

Celebrate Arkansas Magazine: Tell me a little about the preparation that goes into Shareholders week and the people who make it happen.

Mark Henneberger: We actually start preparing for Shareholders the week after the last meeting, so it’s about a yearlong preparation. We really get focused after the Year Beginning Meetings are done across the country, which is mid-March. Then we are 100% focused on Shareholders. There is a team of 27 associates in the Shows and Events group that lead the effort of Shareholders, but we have hundreds of Home Office associates who volunteer their time to make visiting associates’ stay really memorable. It’s definitely a team effort across the board, and there’s not a department or business unit in the company that doesn’t contribute to making this really successful.

CAM: What kind of experience do you hope the associates will have when they come?

MH: It’s a great opportunity to let our associates from around the world experience the Walmart culture and also the hospitality of northwest Arkansas. I think that this area goes out of its way to embrace the associates who travel. The hope is that they’ll take away a better understanding of what the company is all about and a greater appreciation for who Walmart is and what we try to do every day for customers, associates and communities around the world.

CAM: How many associates attend the meeting and from which countries?

MH: We have representatives from 27 countries who attend. There are approximately 5,000 associates who travel by bus or plane.

CAM: How are the associates who attend chosen?

MH: The countries, stores, clubs and distribution centers are able to select representatives based on customer service, involvement in the community, solid performance or tenure with the company. We also give them the latitude to select associates based on who they feel would best represent their store, club, distribution center or country. We think it’s quite an honor to be selected, and we hope the associates who come go back and become advocates and tell the Walmart story unfiltered.

CAM: What do you hope that associates take away from the meeting?

MH: I think one of the things we really hope associates take away is what this company stands for — that we are a purpose-driven company. Saving people money so they can live better really is more than just a slogan. It’s why we exist, and we try to give them examples of that whether through executive story telling or through other associates telling their stories.

CAM: Can you talk about the talent that it takes to pull off an event like this?

MH: One of the biggest things that makes our Shows and Events team so successful is our focus on the customer, and the customers in this case would be the visiting associates. The goal is to ensure that we do everything possible to see that they have a fantastic time while they’re here. The skill set would be customer service, project management, production expertise and the ability to manage large groups of people. We actually manage quite a few suppliers who come in and help with some of the technical aspects of the event. I just think it’s a really hardworking, creative group.

CAM: It sounds like this is a company effort, as well. How do you see everyone come together to help?

MH: There are really a lot of associates who get involved very early on in the process to bring this thing to life. The process is really everything from travel arrangements to get associates here to local transportation, food and beverage, the entertainment, business meeting content, and putting together the Friday and Saturday meetings. The team does a fantastic job, but we have a lot of help. It truly is an across-the-company effort to make this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

CAM: How do you select the theme each year for the meeting?

MH: We really try to have the theme reflect what our corporate goals are for the year. This year, with Doug McMillon as our new CEO, there’s been a renewed focus on the customer. We’ve always had the customer at the center of everything we do, but I think we’re making a bigger emphasis of it this year. We are trying to do that in many ways through innovation. We don’t have a theme that shows up on the screen somewhere at the Shareholders Meeting; it’s more of an overarching messaging.

CAM: What is something that happens before the doors open up for that Friday Shareholders meeting that most people might not know about?

MH: I think one of the keys to the success of this team is the ability to recover. There are always things that are weird that you never plan for. It’s just one of the curses of live events. You can try to anticipate everything, but there is always something that comes up that you just have to be ready for. The team does a great job of preparing ahead of time. But you get in the moment and you just have to make the right decisions to keep moving. The team is really good at making that happen.

CAM: Tell me about the June Saturday Morning Meeting at the AMP.

MH: This will be a great opportunity to get everyone together in one venue for our Saturday morning meeting on June 7. After all the fun throughout the week, we get to get up at 7:30 in the morning and do it again on Saturday. 

Watch the replay of the 2014 Walmart Shareholders Meeting

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A New Leader Takes the Stage http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20140603/a-new-leader-takes-the-stage Because he’s the youngest CEO to ever take his place in Sam Walton’s office, some may call Doug McMillon an overnight success — if 23 years with Walmart can be considered “overnight.” In 1984, at the age of 17, he joined Walmart, loading trucks at a distribution center in northwest Arkansas. It was… Tue, 03 Jun 2014 12:44:54 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20140603/a-new-leader-takes-the-stage 2014-06-03T12:44:54Z

A New Leader Takes the Stage

Heritage

On Friday, Doug McMillon will take the stage at the Walmart Shareholders Meeting for the first time as CEO. This is his story of advancement and history with the company, as excerpted from the February 2014 edition of Walmart World Magazine.

Because he’s the youngest CEO to ever take his place in Sam Walton’s office, some may call Doug McMillon an overnight success — if 23 years with Walmart can be considered “overnight.” In 1984, at the age of 17, he joined Walmart, loading trucks at a distribution center in northwest Arkansas. It was the camaraderie, enthusiasm, and passion he saw in others that told Doug he was working someplace special.

“I was surprised when I started working in those trailers in the summertime,” Doug says. “I was working with people who were highly engaged. People who were doing hard work in the heat of the summer but enjoying it and talking about the company in a positive way—and with a genuine affection for Walmart.”

Romance on the Bentonville SquareWhile working on his college degree, he went to work for the Bank of Bentonville, now known as Arvest, where he met his future bride, Shelley. The young couple have two sons, who, like their parents, are proud of their hometown of Bentonville. Not surprisingly, it’s Doug’s family life that’s kept him anchored as he’s taken on more and more responsibility within Walmart.

Fishing Line—and a Note From SamCut to Tulsa, Okla., where Doug completed his graduate studies while working as an assistant manager at a Walmart store. He had caught the Walmart culture bug—and a passion for retail. Following graduation, he followed up on a previous job lead and moved back to Bentonville, where he was hired as an entry-level assistant buyer managing the fishing tackle category. It was on his first day that Doug found a Post-it Note in a pile of papers on his desk. It was in Sam Walton’s handwriting, pointing out that a competitor had better pricing on fishing line. Doug points to that note as the spark that ignited his fire of urgency, a hallmark of Walmart business that’s served him well over the years.

McMillon the MerchantHe soon moved on to other merchandise categories, learning the ropes from some of the most talented merchants in the retail industry, working his way up to divisional merchandise manager in furniture and eventually a promotion to Vice President of Infants and Toddlers. In the ensuing years, his passion for retail and constantly improving leadership skills kept him moving up the ladder, working in International, then Sam’s Club, (both divisions he would eventually return to run), then back to Walmart U.S. According to Doug, electronics and toys were the most fun categories he’s led. An admitted technology buff, he jokes that he’s probably bought everything our stores have to offer in the electronics department along the way.

Leadership in the Sam Walton TraditionIn 2006, Doug was given the keys to drive Sam’s Club. Ron Loveless, Sam’s Club’s first CEO, sees Doug’s time leading the division as a time of great growth for Doug as a senior leader, calling him “refreshingly available, eager to listen, and always open to new ideas that could be beneficial to the business.” Like many others, Ron sees Doug as being cut from the same cloth as Sam Walton. “I always described Sam Walton as being forever a ‘student’ of the retail business, and I see Doug with this same attribute.”

“We Don’t Just Sell Products”When Sam Walton received the Medal of Freedom just prior to his passing in 1992, he said that if we work together, we’ll give the world an opportunity to see what it’s like to save and have a better life. That vision is something Doug has worked hard to advance globally as CEO of Walmart International, his most recent assignment before taking on the top job he’s in today.

“We don’t just sell products,” Doug says. “Every time we save someone a little money, we’re helping them pay the rent or put a down payment on an apartment or home … put a few extra items into their shopping cart … or pay for their children’s education. We help them save money so they can invest it elsewhere and, literally, live a better life.”

People as the Engine of Our CultureWhen he first took on the role of leading International, Doug brought his family with him on one of his first trips, so that they would better understand what he does for our company and our customers during the many grueling hours he spends around the globe. To many who know him, caring about how others feel is just “typical Doug.” He sees people as the key to our culture and a crucial part of the equation for success.

“Walmart culture is not about the poster on the wall, and it’s not just a feel-good exercise,” he says. “Walmart culture matters. It generates results, all kinds of good results—financial results that are positive, but also a positive environment as it relates to people. When people have a good experience, they generate good results.”

Opportunity Knocked, Doors OpenedIt’s no surprise that Doug is the quintessential example of opportunity at Walmart. His story of promotion and advancement is echoed in the lives of associates who prosper every day in our company, both here in the U.S. and around the world.

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The Evolution of Walmart Shareholders Meeting http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20140602/the-evolution-of-walmart-shareholders-meeting Humble Beginnings The year was 1970. Walmart succeeded with its initial public offering (IPO), and a grand total of six shareholders attended the first meeting, held in a coffee shop near Walmart’s warehouse. Debuting at $15 per share, the run-up to $16.50 put smiles on the shareholders’ faces. The… Mon, 02 Jun 2014 14:58:56 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20140602/the-evolution-of-walmart-shareholders-meeting 2014-06-02T14:58:56Z

The Evolution of Walmart Shareholders Meeting

Heritage

Sr. Director, Walmart Heritage Group

Humble Beginnings

The year was 1970. Walmart succeeded with its initial public offering (IPO), and a grand total of six shareholders attended the first meeting, held in a coffee shop near Walmart’s warehouse. Debuting at $15 per share, the run-up to $16.50 put smiles on the shareholders’ faces. The IPO was a success.

Now THAT’S Shareholder Value

Fast forward to today, where the number of Walmart’s shareholders numbers many thousands. Inside The Walmart Museum is a display case housing a 100-share certificate in Sam Walton’s name.  But the name on the certificate is not the story here. The real story is that the initial $1,650 investment in Walmart made by anyone holding a similar amount of Walmart stock back then would be worth over $10 million today. By any standard, that’s a great return for a show of faith in a growing retail company in an ultra-competitive environment.

The decision to hold the next shareholders meeting at the Coachman’s Inn in Little Rock, Arkansas, was based on some less-than-sound advice to attract big-city investors.  Unfortunately, even fewer people showed up at that shareholders meeting than the first. In fact, attendance, as they say, was a goose egg.

Back to Bentonville

Next stop: The Benton County Fairgrounds. For a year.  And then over to Bentonville High School, where a young Walmart assistant buyer helped decorate the gym for the company he would one day come to lead. That rookie was Doug McMillon, and the memories he has of those days are of a time of hope and great optimism.  (Apparently, that hope and optimism just kept growing stronger. Some things never change – and we’re glad about that.)

Back to the Walmart Home Office auditorium in 1985, where then-Governor and future President Bill Clinton reprises his earlier appearance at the meeting in 1980.

Graduating to the University of Arkansas

Finally, in 1987, Sam moved the shareholders meeting to the University of Arkansas, where it still takes place today. The early meetings were held at Barnhill Arena, where they took place until 1994, when the Bud Walton Arena was finally opened. Also named the “Basketball Palace of Mid-America,” Bud Walton Arena has a seating capacity of about 20,000 and was built in large part by a donation from James “Bud” Walton, Sam’s brother and co-founder of Walmart.

Since that first shareholders meeting in 1970, attendance has grown – as has the level of production and excitement. Now much more than a business meeting, Shareholders has evolved into a week of celebrations here in northwest Arkansas, with thousands of associates coming into the region from around the world. They’re greeted and thanked for what they do by Home Office associates, treated to special events and immersed in Walmart heritage. As the torchbearers of our culture upon their return to their stores, clubs and distribution centers, they share the experience with others.

And that’s the point: While the term “Shareholders” technically refers to owners of Walmart stock,  Shareholders week really does refer to those things we all share as Walmart associates: our basic beliefs, our culture, our history, and pride in our brand.  In a word? Heritage.

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Tyson, The Ultimate Fighter http://blog.walmart.com/community/20140528/tyson-the-ultimate-fighter When Tyson was born, his parents Justin and Meg were thrilled to have a healthy baby boy. But when he was only 17 hours old, Tyson’s skin turned a chilling shade of blue and he was rushed to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Doctors diagnosed him with Shone’s… Wed, 28 May 2014 20:59:23 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/community/20140528/tyson-the-ultimate-fighter 2014-05-28T20:59:23Z

Tyson, The Ultimate Fighter

Community

When Tyson was born, his parents Justin and Meg were thrilled to have a healthy baby boy. But when he was only 17 hours old, Tyson’s skin turned a chilling shade of blue and he was rushed to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Doctors diagnosed him with Shone’s complex, a serious type of heart disease, and he endured open-heart surgery before he was one week old. He suffered cardiac arrest – twice – and bleeding in the brain, and he spent a total of 125 days in the hospital.

Tyson’s father, Justin, has been an area manager at Walmart distribution centers for seven years, and knows firsthand the level of support that Walmart provides to associates who are struggling, as well as support the company provides to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Thanks to CMNH, Tyson is now a healthy, thriving two-year-old.

Walmart has partnered with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals for 27 years, raising more than $700 million to benefit sick and injured kids.

To contribute to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and help children in your community, you can make a donation at the register at any Walmart store now until June 11.

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Helping Walmart Meet Sustainability Goals with Fuel Cell Technology http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140516/helping-walmart-meet-sustainability-goals-with-fuel-cell-technology Sustainability is important to growing industry in the world we live in today. Leading corporations are always on the lookout for new ways to make operations cleaner and more environmentally friendly. Plug Power, the premier systems integrator for hydrogen fuel cell systems, provides companies with… Fri, 16 May 2014 16:25:28 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140516/helping-walmart-meet-sustainability-goals-with-fuel-cell-technology 2014-05-16T16:25:28Z

Helping Walmart Meet Sustainability Goals with Fuel Cell Technology

Sustainability

CEO, Plug Power Inc.

Sustainability is important to growing industry in the world we live in today. Leading corporations are always on the lookout for new ways to make operations cleaner and more environmentally friendly. Plug Power, the premier systems integrator for hydrogen fuel cell systems, provides companies with an economically viable solution to help them meet their sustainability goals.

Walmart specifically has made clear that they maintain three sustainability goals:

  1. To be supplied 100% by renewable energy
  2. To create zero waste
  3.  To sell products that sustain people and the environment

Through a partnership with Plug Power, companies like Walmart can get closer to meeting their objectives.

Since 2012, we have been working together with Walmart to bring a zero-emission power source distribution warehouses in North America. This depends on material handling lift trucks for moving pallets full of perishable foods and consumer products down from warehouse storage shelves and into delivery truck trailers.

Traditionally, lead-acid batteries have powered these warehouse lift trucks. But any grid-dependent power can be polluting, hazardous and wasteful. A fuel cell on the other hand, runs on clean hydrogen fuel. Plug Power’s GenDrive fuel cells are designed as a drop-in replacement for the batteries – you just pull the battery out of the forklift and drop in a GenDrive unit.

Not only do fuel cells produce only heat and water as a by-product, but they also eliminate the need for Walmart to use up valuable space on its warehouse floor for battery storage and charging. GenDrive fuel cells are easily refueled by the truck operator in as little as 60 seconds, significantly decreasing the amount of time lift trucks are not operational during the day.

 

To date, Walmart has more than 500 GenDrive fuel cell units in operation at several warehouses, including its Washington Courthouse facility in Ohio, and a fresh food distribution center in Balzac, Canada, considered the most energy-efficient distribution facility of its kind in North America.

 

Most exciting, Walmart is about to expand that number dramatically with a roll out that totals more than 1,700 new GenDrive units to be installed in forklift trucks at six more Walmart warehouses in North America.

Plug Power is making it much easier to bring sustainability to these new sites because it has become a one-stop hydrogen solution provider, delivering fuel cells, hydrogen, maintenance service and support.

Hydrogen-powered fuel cells emit only a small amount of heat and water, making them an environmentally-friendly alternative energy source. By using hydrogen fuel cells in material distribution warehouses, Walmart is deploying lift truck operations that are efficient, clean, quiet, and most importantly, sustainable.

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What's Bringing President Obama To Walmart? http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140509/whats-bringing-president-obama-to-walmart It’s not the everyday low prices. No, not even professional family photos with Bo and Sunny. It’s about businesses making smart decisions about energy.Today, the President will visit Mountain View, California’s Walmart to announce big news for solar power and energy efficiency. Walmart is already a… Thu, 15 May 2014 21:11:42 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140509/whats-bringing-president-obama-to-walmart 2014-05-15T21:11:42Z

What's Bringing President Obama To Walmart?

Sustainability

Natural Resource Defense Council

It’s not the everyday low prices. No, not even professional family photos with Bo and Sunny. It’s about businesses making smart decisions about energy.

Today, the President will visit Mountain View, California’s Walmart to announce big news for solar power and energy efficiency. Walmart is already a commercial leader in solar installations, but is committing to double the number of panels on its store roofs in the next six years, harnessing 7 million GWh of clean energy by 2020. But not just Walmart thinks solar power is great idea. Today the President is announcing 300 private and sector commitments to advance solar deployment, representing 850 MW of electricity, enough to power 130,000 homes. The industry is growing at breakneck speed, and President Obama is directing his Administration to ensure the American workforce can keep up the momentum.

Since Obama took office, the U.S. had just 1.2 GW of solar capacity; today that number stands at a whopping 13 GW. That’s enough to power 2 million American homes. Not to mention, that’s 2 million fewer homes we have to power to polluting coal or natural gas.  The industry boasted more than 140,000 jobs in 2013, a 20% increase since the previous year. So what’s next for solar?

Clean Energy 101: The President will direct the Department of Energy to invest in community colleges in 49 states to prepare 50,000 students to enter the solar industry by 2020. Solar energy- whether its photovoltaic or thermal- is not only complex, but is becoming increasingly specialized as new technologies hit the market. From the 1,700 acre concentrated solar plant (CSP) in California to a 10’ x 10’ pair of photovoltaic panels on a rooftop in New Jersey, the growth of solar in the coming years will demand a diverse, skilled workforce. By developing the Department of Energy’s Solar Instructor Training Network, more Americans will have the exciting opportunity to be a part of the clean energy economy.

Sustainable Housing: The DoE and Department of Housing and Urban Development will partner to advance education in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to bolster energy literacy and employment in low-income communities and public housing projects across the country.

Clarity and Consistency in the Tax Code: The DOE will be releasing an updated and revised Guide to Federal Financing for Clean Energy. This excellent tool assists Americans to identify energy efficiency and renewable financing programs in Federal agencies, including the Department of Agriculture, Treasury and Environmental Protection Agency.

NRDC looks forward to being a part of the solar industry’s rapid growth. Last fall, we launched our Solar Schools program, an innovative way for communities from North Carolina to California to crowdfund solar projects on their local schools. To learn more, read NRDC Director of Renewable Policy Nathanael Greene’s blog on this exciting project. Our affiliate organization, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), is tracking the growth in the clean energy economy, noting where companies are hiring new workers to help manufacture solar panels and install PV systems on roofs. To see where solar is hiring in your state, please visit www.cleanenergyworksforus.org. Last year, E2 tracked more than 21,600 jobs announcements in solar generation alone!

But wait! Solar is just one of the President's exciting announcements today. Mr. Obama is also setting exciting new energy efficiency standards, that together with other efficiency standards that his administration has issued, will save a whopping 2 billion metric tons of carbon pollution through 2030. To get the inside scoop from an expert, check out my colleague Kit Kennedy's blog on how new efficiency standards will save our economy billions in the coming decade.

Our 100% clean energy future is on the horizon, let’s join our President and support its continued progress.

This post originally appeared on: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/dmurray/whats_bringing_president_obama.html

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10 Tips for Building a Business http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20140515/10-tips-for-building-a-business National Small Business Week is in full swing and Sam’s Club is so excited to be part of it. After all, Sam Walton was one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, and when he began Sam’s Club in 1983, he developed it with small business owners in mind. To celebrate the more than 600,000… Thu, 15 May 2014 14:44:04 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/heritage/20140515/10-tips-for-building-a-business 2014-05-15T14:44:04Z

10 Tips for Building a Business

Heritage

National Small Business Week is in full swing and Sam’s Club is so excited to be part of it. After all, Sam Walton was one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, and when he began Sam’s Club in 1983, he developed it with small business owners in mind.

To celebrate the more than 600,000 businesses Sam’s Club serves every day, we wanted to share Mr. Sam’s 10 Rules for Building a Business as excerpted from his book: Sam Walton, Made in America: My Story. Whether your journey is just beginning or well under way, we hope these ideas will keep you growing and innovating long into the future.

1. COMMIT to Your Business. Believe in it more than anybody else. If you love your work, you'll be out there every day trying to do it the best you possibly can, and pretty soon everybody around will catch the passion from you – like a fever.

2. SHARE Your Profits with All Your Associates, and Treat Them as Partners. In turn, they will treat you as a partner, and together you will all perform beyond your expectations.

3. MOTIVATE Your Partners. Money and ownership alone aren't enough. Set high goals, encourage competition, and then keep score. Don't become too predictable.

4. COMMUNICATE Everything You Possibly Can to Your Partners. The more they know, the more they'll understand. The more they understand, the more they'll care. Once they care, there's no stopping them.

5. APPRECIATE Everything Your Associates Do for the Business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They're absolutely free – and worth a fortune.

6. CELEBRATE Your Success. Don't take yourself so seriously. Loosen up, and everybody around you will loosen up. Have fun. Show enthusiasm – always. All of this is more important, and more fun, than you think, and it really fools competition.

7. LISTEN to Everyone in Your Company. And figure out ways to get them talking. To push responsibility down in your organization, and to force good ideas to bubble up within it, you must listen to what your associates are trying to tell you.

8. EXCEED Your Customers’ Expectations. Give them what they want – and a little more. Make good on all your mistakes, and don't make excuses – apologize. Stand behind everything you do.

9. CONTROL Your Expenses Better Than Your Competition. This is where you can always find the competitive advantage. You can make a lot of different mistakes and still recover if you run an efficient operation. Or you can be brilliant and still go out of business if you're too inefficient.

10. SWIM Upstream. Go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom. If everybody else is doing it one way, there's a good chance you can find your niche by going in exactly the opposite direction.

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Mom Knows Best http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140510/mom-knows-best This is an excerpt from the May 2014 edition of Parade Magazine, by Alison Gwinn and Lan Truong. If you want a window into American families today, ask a mom to describe her life. This is what you’ll hear: “Nonstop.” “Overwhelming.” “Chaos.” But you’ll also hear this: “Grateful.” “Blessed.”… Sat, 10 May 2014 19:15:51 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140510/mom-knows-best 2014-05-10T19:15:51Z

Mom Knows Best

Life

This is an excerpt from the May 2014 edition of Parade Magazine, by Alison Gwinn and Lan Truong.

If you want a window into American families today, ask a mom to describe her life. This is what you’ll hear: “Nonstop.” “Overwhelming.” “Chaos.” But you’ll also hear this: “Grateful.” “Blessed.” “Fulfilled.” To mark the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day, in partnership with the Walmart Moms Research Project*, Parade Magazine conducted in-person interviews and polled 1,000 moms to understand what matters most to them in 2014.

Here are a few highlights:

Moms Have a Lot on Their Plates

47% help their kids with their homework every night

They Keep Their Family Close

78% eat dinner together with their kids most nights every week

They Are Confident That They’re Doing a Good Job

38% consider themselves a better mom than their own mothers

Read more at Parade.com and hear directly from moms on whether they’re saving for their kids’ college education, how they feel about the effects of the recession…and what they wish they had done differently. Get the full story.

* The Walmart Moms Research Project, which began in 2009, sheds light on a critical group of swing voters (defined as women with a child under 18 at home, who have shopped at Walmart at least once in the past month). Learn more at Parade.com

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Walmart’s Commitment to Solar http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140509/walmarts-commitment-to-solar Walmart’s commitment to solar energy is nearly a decade old — a decision we made for many reasons. For one, using the power of the sun and installing solar panels lowers our energy costs and is clearly good for the environment, but another benefit is that it keeps prices low for our customers. … Fri, 09 May 2014 17:08:13 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140509/walmarts-commitment-to-solar 2014-05-09T17:08:13Z

Walmart’s Commitment to Solar

Sustainability

Senior Director, Energy, Walmart U.S.

Walmart’s commitment to solar energy is nearly a decade old — a decision we made for many reasons. For one, using the power of the sun and installing solar panels lowers our energy costs and is clearly good for the environment, but another benefit is that it keeps prices low for our customers.

Since 2007, when we made a formal commitment to being more energy efficient, we have taken significant steps toward making that a reality, including solar installations and even eco-roofs. But we’re always looking to build on that success, so we’ve continued our goal setting in this area.

This week we signed on to the Department of Energy’s Better Building’s Initiative, which commits to reducing the energy intensity of Walmart U.S. buildings by 20 percent versus 2010 by 2020. And today we announced that Walmart will double the number of solar energy projects in the U.S. and Puerto Rico by 2020.

Our commitment to solar has paid off. In fact, since our first on-site solar installation in the U.S. in 2007 we have become the No. 1 commercial solar energy user according to the Solar Energy Industry Association and are now recognized as the largest on-site renewable energy user in America by the EPA’s Green Power Partnership. Our efforts have even been publicly recognized by President Bill Clinton. And today, of course, President Obama made a visit to a Walmart in Mountain View, Calif. to highlight the importance of energy efficiency and renewable energy in keeping America strong.

At the end of 2013, we had more than 335 renewable energy projects in operation or under development across our global portfolio. These projects provide our facilities with more than 2.2 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable electricity annually. Together with renewable electricity from the grid, 24.2 percent of our electricity needs globally are supplied by renewable sources.

What’s more is that last year we committed to driving the production or procurement of 7 billion kWh of renewable energy globally by Dec. 31, 2020. We’re already 32 percent of the way there, but we’re not finished. And we’re doing even more to meet that goal, including:

  • Walmart U.S. installed 240 solar projects through 2013, saving approximately $4.8 million. Walmart U.S. grew its number of fuel-cell sites to 42, each site providing 40 percent to 60 percent of store needs. These new systems bring us closer to our anticipated total of more than 1,000 projects worldwide.
  • Walmart’s first 1 MW wind turbine completed its first year of operation. It provides approximately 15 percent to 20 percent of the total electricity required by our Red Bluff Distribution Center in California.
  • Walmart Mexico broke ground on four large-scale renewable energy projects that will be completed in 2014. Combined, these projects will add 252 megawatts (MW) of clean energy. Walmart Mexico is on track to supply 60 percent of its energy demand needs for 1,233 stores through renewable energy by the end of 2014. 
  • Walmart Brazil entered a bid to purchase green power on the open market sourced from sugar mill, hydropower and small hydropower plants. To date, 84 stores are being served by this clean energy, with an expected savings of 11.5 percent on each store’s energy bill. Eventually, 97 stores will be served through this green power bid.

Our work in renewable energy is an ongoing process, one that we are fully committed to because the future of the environment depends on it—and our customers deserve it.

 For more details on our approach to renewable energy, please read our white paper on the topic.

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Walmart’s Approach to Renewable Energy http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140508/walmarts-approach-to-renewable-energy We’ve talked a lot about our renewable energy goals and progress, but what does it really mean? Well, to put it all into context, we have 335 renewable energy projects in operation or under development around the world. Between those new projects and the renewable energy we get from the grid, 24… Thu, 08 May 2014 23:19:29 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140508/walmarts-approach-to-renewable-energy 2014-05-08T23:19:29Z

Walmart’s Approach to Renewable Energy

Sustainability

Senior Director, Energy, Walmart U.S.

We’ve talked a lot about our renewable energy goals and progress, but what does it really mean? Well, to put it all into context, we have 335 renewable energy projects in operation or under development around the world. Between those new projects and the renewable energy we get from the grid, 24 percent of our electricity needs worldwide will be met from renewables.

You would probably never think of us this way, but Walmart is actually the largest on-site green power generator in the U.S., according to the EPA. But we're overachievers, so we always want to take it a step further. So, we’ve developed our renewable energy activities with three core objectives in mind: to develop and install new energy projects at scale; to drive down the cost of renewable energy; and to secure cost-effective, stable energy pricing that meets or beats utility power pricing.

One of the ways to stabilize pricing is through long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs). Under PPA agreements one of our renewable energy providers owns, installs, and operates the systems, and Walmart agrees to buy the renewable power they produce over a long period of time — usually five, 10, or even 15 years or more. It sounds a bit confusing but basically it means that we have control over an operating expense as there is price certainty for a portion of our energy expense over the term of the PPA. The project developers benefit because PPAs provide a predictable source of income.

PPAs can sometimes be tricky because Walmart and other big energy buyers need more market freedom to approach renewable energy developers directly for large-scale offsite projects rather than go through the utility. But we’re actively working with policy-makers to find a solution that works for all parties involved.

As you can see, we’re as committed as ever to renewable energy and making a change in the way we do business so that it benefits the environment. You can read more about it in a whitepaper on the topic here.  

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Find the Best Gift for Mom with our Empowering Women Together Collection http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140507/find-the-best-gift-for-mom-with-our-empowering-women-together-collection There are a million ways most of us could describe our moms. Beautiful. Loving. Generally awesome. But there are two words in particular that come to mind about my own mother: independent and empowered. My mother was a woman who worked hard, and ever since I was little, she instilled in me the… Wed, 07 May 2014 20:51:15 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140507/find-the-best-gift-for-mom-with-our-empowering-women-together-collection 2014-05-07T20:51:15Z

Find the Best Gift for Mom with our Empowering Women Together Collection

Life

Walmart Mom Blogger, www.greenandgorgeous.net

There are a million ways most of us could describe our moms. Beautiful. Loving. Generally awesome. But there are two words in particular that come to mind about my own mother: independent and empowered. My mother was a woman who worked hard, and ever since I was little, she instilled in me the value of being self-sufficient. She raised me to feel like I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. So for Mother's Day, instead of flowers or some other random gift, I wanted to find something that honors the person she is and the values she passed on to me. Walmart's Empowering Women Together collection is the perfect way to do that.

These products are produced by women and women-owned businesses around the world. They help these women to sustain themselves and enrich their communities, often in places where there are few other opportunities to do so. They provide a livelihood for the women who make them, and that is something to celebrate. I know that my mother would appreciate any gift that helps other women, and being able to share the story behind them feels a bit like a gift in itself. And in fact, these gifts come with a bonus: Each one is signed by the artisan who made it, so you'll know her name.

In this collection, you can find a ton of options for any woman on your list, from beautifully designed mugs and cups to pretty printed aprons and infinity scarves. Then package them all in a gorgeous gift bag to match and top it off with a greeting card that tells mom how you feel.

These are the type of gifts you can feel great about giving. And for the first time, you'll be able to find products from the Empowering Women Together collection in Walmart stores, so you can hold these products in your hands and see why I love them so much.

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Welcome Adchemy to @WalmartLabs! http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20140506/welcome-adchemy-to-walmartlabs Our journey to build the very best techWalmart isn’t a retailer in Silicon Valley, we’re building an Internet technology company inside the world’s largest retailer. We are 2,100 strong and growing.  Today, we’re thrilled to welcome the 60+ talented technologists from Adchemy to @WalmartLabs,… Tue, 06 May 2014 04:03:27 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20140506/welcome-adchemy-to-walmartlabs 2014-05-06T04:03:27Z

Welcome Adchemy to @WalmartLabs!

Innovation

SVP and CTO, Walmart Global eCommerce

Our journey to build the very best techWalmart isn’t a retailer in Silicon Valley, we’re building an Internet technology company inside the world’s largest retailer. We are 2,100 strong and growing.  Today, we’re thrilled to welcome the 60+ talented technologists from Adchemy to @WalmartLabs, adding to our expertise in areas like semantic search, data analytics and marketing.

Getting to where we are today has been quite a ride. Several years ago we realized that to scale e-commerce to Walmart’s 245 million weekly customers around the world, we needed world-class talent and agile teams that could develop innovative and scalable technologies. We set forth to recruit, acquire and integrate the best technologies and talent in Silicon Valley.  It started with the creation of @WalmartLabs three years ago, which is the tech and innovation arm of Global eCommerce. And, Adchemy is our twelfth acquisition since Labs’ creation, and one of our largest to date in terms of people.

 Adchemy is a product search company and a leader in e-commerce technology. The company was founded in 2004 in Foster City, Calif., and over the years has built an impressive team that will help Walmart transform the shopping experience for millions of shoppers each week. This latest acquisition continues our quest to build best-in-class e-commerce capabilities in-house. We have been hiring highly-talented teams organically and are augmenting that by acquiring talent to build our own technologies that can scale with our global business. 

Among the talented team joining us are Rohit Deep who was the VP of Engineering and was previously the Chief Architect and Engineering Lead at WebEx; Ethan Batraski who served as VP of Products, formerly the head of search innovation at Yahoo!; and data scientist Esteban Arcaute, Head of Research, who holds a PhD from Stanford and also worked at Yahoo!.  

Some may be surprised to hear we’ve hired nearly 1,000 talented associates over the past year, and have augmented our teams through acquisitions like this one.  The result of this approach is a highly-talented workforce delivering high-impact products. Our internal search engine, built by the Kosmix team, took only 9 months to ship and led to 20% increase in search conversion.  Inkiru technology was integrated within four months after the team joined, and today their predictive analytics platform is applied to 100% of our transactions.

We’re excited about the possibilities ahead and the opportunities for the Adchemy team.  Welcome!

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Smartphone Activation Made Easier with Simplexity Technology http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20140505/smartphone-activation-made-easier-with-simplexity-technology Smartphones have become an increasingly popular part of our customers' everyday lives.  We know that holds true for the rest of America as well. According to Nielsen, research shows that for the first time, a majority of U.S. mobile subscribers of all age groups own smartphones.We’ve seen more… Mon, 05 May 2014 16:28:55 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20140505/smartphone-activation-made-easier-with-simplexity-technology 2014-05-05T16:28:55Z

Smartphone Activation Made Easier with Simplexity Technology

Innovation

EVP and Chief Information Officer for Walmart

Smartphones have become an increasingly popular part of our customers' everyday lives.  We know that holds true for the rest of America as well. According to Nielsen, research shows that for the first time, a majority of U.S. mobile subscribers of all age groups own smartphones.

We’ve seen more and more customers choosing where they purchase new smartphones based on where they'll get the best value for their trade-ins. Now, when they come to Walmart they’ll not only get low prices on the newest phones and exclusive offerings, but they’ll also receive a much quicker process for getting their new phone activated. That’s because Walmart acquired a best-in-class technology solution for selling and activating wireless devices that require data plans. The technology was developed by industry-leading wireless services provider Simplexity. After the company filed for bankruptcy, Walmart acquired Simplexity’s Wireless Activation Retail Platform (WARP) solution on May 2.

Innovation is in our DNA.  A key part of our ability to innovate is leveraging technology, like Simplexity’s software, to create enhanced and differentiated experiences for our customers every day.  Once our technology team integrates the new platform in U.S. Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs and online later this year, customers and associates will see a tremendous difference.

  • The new platform and its easier-to-use interface will complement sales by enabling us to more efficiently support our customers when they purchase cell phones or other wireless electronic devices. We expect customers will experience a significant decrease in wait time in Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs when activating their wireless device.
  • The enhancements should seamlessly resolve any exception issues that are typically encountered during the activation process. For example, a database monitoring all orders will help us ensure Walmart sells phones to customers that intend to fulfill their contracts to carriers.
  • Walmart.com will also eventually benefit from the technology, which will provide a seamless online option that will walk customers through the activation process.

Buying a cell phone shouldn’t be stressful or confusing. We are simplifying the process for our customers by providing them with choice, value and I am excited that very soon, we’ll also have a streamlined system for getting new phones up and running.

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Quest for Change http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140502/quest-for-change At Walmart’s Sustainable Product Expo 2014 this week, I witnessed a groundswell of companies working together to help create a more sustainable future. Forward-thinking companies and their leaders know that if business is going to succeed and flourish long into the future, sustainability has to… Fri, 02 May 2014 16:02:25 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140502/quest-for-change 2014-05-02T16:02:25Z

Quest for Change

Sustainability

President & CEO, World Wildlife Fund

At Walmart’s Sustainable Product Expo 2014 this week, I witnessed a groundswell of companies working together to help create a more sustainable future. Forward-thinking companies and their leaders know that if business is going to succeed and flourish long into the future, sustainability has to move from niche to norm.

At WWF, we have been working for more than two decades to help businesses around the world embed sustainability into the very core of their operations and supply chains. We’re driven by a quest for change—a vision of a future in which people live in harmony with nature; one in which consumers don’t have a choice between sustainable and unsustainable products.

Growing Demand for Sustainability

As retailers and manufacturers, your relationship with consumers matters beyond what they purchase or the price point at which they buy it.

Consumers are demanding environmental and social accountability. They want to know that the products they buy are good for them, good for society, and good for the planet.

A recent Global Corporate Social Responsibility Study from Cone Communications and Echo Research found that 93% of global consumers want to see more of the products and services they use support social or environmental issues.

And when we look at Millennials—the rising consumer generation –this coveted demographic is ready to put their money where their mouth is.  According to Nielsen, 50% are willing to spend more on a product from a socially responsible company and 60% are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products.

It’s Time to Exceed, Not Simply Meet, Consumer Expectations

As a result of this increased consumer interest, David Jones, a leading thinker on these issues from Havas International, says that social media has taken corporate social responsibility from a reputational silo to a business imperative.

Consumers expect companies to play an integral role—to be a driving force—in solving the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. Corporations that ignore these expectations, do so at their own peril.  Nine-in-10 global consumers say they would boycott a company if they learned of irresponsible behavior.

Don’t just meet consumer expectations – exceed them. In order to do that, there are four specific things every business should be thinking about.

1.     Supply Chain

What’s the most basic thing you can do? Start with making a commitment to your supply chain.  Begin with sustainable sourcing of your product, water stewardship and emissions reduction throughout your operations. This is fairly simple to measure in the abstract but hard work in the details.

When Walmart committed to working with WWF and agreed they would only sell sustainably caught wild seafood, it sent ripples throughout the fishing industry. It led a number of fisheries to examine their practices, become certified, and they began to do more of the right thing.

2.     Four Walls  

Think about how you use the “four walls” of your company to educate the consumer. How can you do more than just present price points, or build end aisle displays? How can you actually educate consumers on the issues—moving beyond a marketing tagline and using your products to communicate your shared values?

3.     Community

How can you use social media to build a community and engage with your consumers to help solve problems?

4.      Open Source

Finally, I’d urge you to think about how you can make sustainability “open source” by collaborating with each other to change the way people think about their relationship with the natural world. We’re going to see more examples of companies collaborating on issues—engaging both one another and engaging consumers.

At the end of the day, the decisions Walmart and its suppliers make are hugely important to the places we care about and the species we cherish. The tigers, elephants and rhinos we work hard to protect around the world won’t survive unless we change the way we source food and other products.

You have a tremendous amount of influence to usher in a better future for people, nature and business. We have it within ourselves to change the way the market works—and that’s a powerful thing.

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Sustainability is an Industrywide Effort http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140501/sustainability-is-an-industrywide-effort What could bring nine CEOs from some of the largest companies in the world to Bentonville on a Tuesday? Well, our first-ever Sustainable Product Expo, of course. The three-day event brought together buyers, suppliers, nonprofits, and government agencies to help customers have access to products… Thu, 01 May 2014 22:21:06 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140501/sustainability-is-an-industrywide-effort 2014-05-01T22:21:06Z

Sustainability is an Industrywide Effort

Sustainability

VP of Sustainability, Walmart

What could bring nine CEOs from some of the largest companies in the world to Bentonville on a Tuesday? Well, our first-ever Sustainable Product Expo, of course. The three-day event brought together buyers, suppliers, nonprofits, and government agencies to help customers have access to products that sustain people and the environment. It’s part of what makes this such an exciting time here at Walmart, especially for those of us who work in sustainability and merchandising.

The Expo was a really special event in that it gave us a chance to sit down and collaborate with our suppliers on how to work collaboratively and innovate to bring sustainable solutions to our customers. By working together, we can address food production and recycling, as well as other pressing issues in the product supply chain. And it helped that we had the CEOs of some of the largest companies in the world in attendance working along with us, including Kellogg’s, PepsiCo, Unilever, General Mills, Coca-Cola, Cargill, Johnson & Johnson, and Campbell Soup Company, among others.

Our goal is to always to provide customers with more sustainable products on our shelves without having to make sacrifices. We work together with our suppliers to create efficiencies in our businesses and pass the savings to our customers. Of course, we want to make this as easy as possible for consumers, which is why we’ve decided to create a sustainability store on walmart.com. The shopping portal, expected to launch by the end of 2014, will allow customers to easily identify brands that are leading sustainability across popular categories, such as food, consumables, and electronics.

These types of efforts are only as strong as the relationships with all our partners. That’s why the Expo was so important; it’s something we will continue to do to improve on our service and deliver on our commitment for our customers. Personally, sustainability has been part of my career for nearly 10 years, I am passionate about sustainability and business -- and I’m looking forward to being part of this ongoing journey here at Walmart.

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A First-Of-Its-Kind Auto Insurance Comparison Service http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20140430/a-first-of-its-kind-auto-insurance-comparison-service I’m thrilled to announce the launch of AutoInsurance.com, a first-of-its-kind auto insurance comparison service that helps customers compare, buy and save on auto insurance policies all in one simple and convenient place.At Walmart, our business is driven by a commitment to taking products and… Wed, 30 Apr 2014 14:23:41 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20140430/a-first-of-its-kind-auto-insurance-comparison-service 2014-04-30T14:23:41Z

A First-Of-Its-Kind Auto Insurance Comparison Service

Innovation

Senior Vice President of Services for Walmart U.S.

I’m thrilled to announce the launch of AutoInsurance.com, a first-of-its-kind auto insurance comparison service that helps customers compare, buy and save on auto insurance policies all in one simple and convenient place.

At Walmart, our business is driven by a commitment to taking products and services that are complex and pricey and making them easy and affordable.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve been hearing a lot from our customers about auto insurance. They’ve been telling us that it’s one of their biggest monthly expenses -- even bigger than healthcare for some.

But it’s not just expensive. It’s frustrating. And it’s time consuming to shop for and compare quotes from multiple carriers. In fact, nearly 90% of people comparison shop online for products and services like airline tickets, but only one in five comparison shop for auto insurance.

The result of all of this is that customers too often have to settle for auto insurance policies that aren’t the best fit and cost more than they want to spend.

Using AutoInsurance.com, customers are provided with multiple quotes from many of the leading national insurance carriers in just minutes that are available to purchase right then and there. It’s that easy!

The results have been incredible. Over the past year, we’ve tested AutoInsurance.com in Pennsylvania.  Customers who purchased policies and reported their savings reduced their annual insurance costs by $1,168 on average.

This first-of-a-kind service, which has no additional cost or commitment, is available immediately in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas, with plans to offer it nationwide in the coming months.

AutoInsurance.com is the latest example of innovation and has the potential to forever change the way people shop for auto insurance.

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Walmart Sustainable Product Expo Gathers Top CEOs to Renew Sustainability Commitments http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140429/walmart-sustainable-product-expo-gathers-top-ceos-to-renew-sustainability-commitments Our first-ever Sustainable Product Expo begins today, and it’s a great opportunity for Walmart showcase some of the work we’re doing in product sustainability. What’s even more exciting is that it’s a chance for Walmart to collaborate with some of the largest companies in the world to sign new… Tue, 29 Apr 2014 19:46:42 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140429/walmart-sustainable-product-expo-gathers-top-ceos-to-renew-sustainability-commitments 2014-04-29T19:46:42Z

Walmart Sustainable Product Expo Gathers Top CEOs to Renew Sustainability Commitments

Sustainability

Our first-ever Sustainable Product Expo begins today, and it’s a great opportunity for Walmart showcase some of the work we’re doing in product sustainability. What’s even more exciting is that it’s a chance for Walmart to collaborate with some of the largest companies in the world to sign new commitments that accelerate innovation in recycling and sustainable agriculture.

Eight of the largest food companies announced pledges to help ensure that tomorrow’s food supply is affordable and sustainable for the nine billion people projected to inhabit the planet by 2050. The commitments aim to drive more collaboration and efficiency across the current food system.

Additionally, companies joined with Walmart and the Walmart Foundation in announcing plans to launch a groundbreaking recycling initiative called the Closed Loop Fund, with the goal of making recycling available to all Americans.

And these commitments are coming from the top; the CEOs from these companies and organizations — including EDF, Procter& Gamble, PepsiCo, and Campbell Soup Company — are in attendance because they truly believe in the work that Walmart has done, and want to be a big part of it in the future.

Here’s what they had to say:

Environmental Defense Fund

"It is good news that so many prominent CEO's have stepped up and made commitments to reduce GHG's and make their supply chains more sustainable, and EDF looks forward to seeing real progress in the days ahead -- because follow-through is what matters most. We are very proud of our partnership with Walmart, which led to the aggressive 20MMT goal, and we'll be even prouder on the day the company announces it has reached that goal. We know our colleagues at Walmart feel the same way. We are results-oriented organizations -- and strong results begin with the commitments that were made today." – Fred Krupp, president

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

“This partnership highlights the powerful potential of private capital to encourage more efficient use of our resources while spurring local job creation and community engagement. We are excited to be working with leading companies who are committed to developing market-based solutions that can address critical societal and environmental issues in innovative ways.” - John Weinberg, vice chairman and co-head of the Investment Banking Division

Campbell Soup Company

“At Campbell, we seek to make a positive, sustainable impact in the world through our primary purpose – real food that matters for life’s moments. Campbell has a heritage of environmental stewardship that is deeply rooted in our belief that we have a responsibility to nourish the health of our communities and conserve the Earth’s natural resources for future generations. We look forward to working with Walmart, our industry peers and suppliers in optimizing sustainable agriculture and creating efficiencies that strengthen local economies, provide access to affordable and healthy food and benefit the planet.” - Denise Morrison, president and CEO

Kellogg Company

“Because rice is one of our largest ingredient purchases – used for Rice Krispies and Special K worldwide – it’s appropriate that our new partnership with Walmart focuses on helping smallholder rice growers improve their practices and livelihoods, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” – John Bryant, president and CEO 

General Mills

“For the global food system, the challenge is clear: How do we produce more food for the world’s growing population and conserve and protect the natural resources and communities upon which our business depends? In response to this challenge, General Mills announced in 2013 our commitment to sustainably source 100 percent of our 10 priority ingredients by 2020 – representing more than 50 percent of our annual raw material purchases. Today’s joint commitment with Walmart builds on these efforts to advance sustainable agriculture and create long-term value for society, the environment, and business.” – Ken Powell, chairman and CEO

Monsanto

“Agriculture is at the center of some of the world’s most pressing challenges from meeting rising global demands to conserving precious natural resources like soil and water,” said Hugh Grant, Chairman and CEO of Monsanto Company. “But given the right tools, farmers have the opportunity to be at the forefront of solutions to grow even more safe, affordable, nutritious and sustainable food for all of us around the world. That’s why the people of Monsanto are proud to partner with our customers to continue to innovate and improve nutrient use efficiency on 1 million acres of US cropland in support of this effort. Farmers are good stewards of the land today and with continued investments in innovation, can accomplish even more in the future.” - Hugh Grant, chairman and CEO

Coca-Cola North America

“Because Coca-Cola views packaging as a valuable resource, we are developing initiatives to recover and reuse our packaging. Investing in innovative programs like Walmart’s Closed Loop Fund provides more communities with access to recycling infrastructure, while decreasing the materials deposited in landfills.” – Sandy Douglas, president

PepsiCo 

“We’re pleased that, together with Walmart, we’ll be expanding PepsiCo’s Sustainable Farming Initiative (SFI) to cover 500,000 acres under sustainable management practices in North America.  The SFI, which was developed collaboratively with stakeholders, establishes a clear and universal standard for defining, implementing and quantifying sustainable agriculture.  Integral to this partnership is joint action to develop and encourage adoption of low-carbon fertilizers, a key element of sustainable farming practices. We are also honored to join Walmart and industry partners in creating The Closed Loop Fund, an innovative funding mechanism to support and scale initiatives to increase recycling rates across the United States.” - Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO

Procter & Gamble

 “The “Closed Loop Fund” is an innovative step to enable local municipalities to invest in ways to increase local recycling to give more consumers consistent and reliable ways to reduce waste by recycling more of their everyday products.  That will, in turn, enable a larger supply of usable, recyclable content, which will enable manufactures to give consumers what they want - more packaging with recycled materials.  This is good for consumers, and good for the environment.” - A.G. Lafley, chairman of the board, president, and CEO

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Family of Companies

“Babies hold a special place in our hearts at Johnson & Johnson. Our Babies Will Inherit Our Planet® and that’s why we’ve always been committed to caring for our natural resources. We launched our Care to Recycle® campaign to raise awareness of recycling, particularly in the bathroom where most of our products are used. We are thrilled to be a founding member of the Closed Loop Fund which will help bring recycling to more American households.” - Roberto Marques, company group chairman, North America

Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. 

“Our target to make 100 percent of our K-Cup® packs for Keurig® brewing systems recyclable by 2020 is multi-faceted.  Part of accomplishing this target requires changes to the recycling infrastructure that Keurig Green Mountain can’t address alone.  This collective approach brings to life the power of partnerships, which is one of our core company values.  We share the commitment of our peers to explore solutions together in the quest to use our products and our business to impact the world in a positive way.” – Brian Kelley, president and CEO 

SC Johnson

“We’re honored to join Walmart and others in the pursuit of real progress in waste reduction.”  – Fisk Johnson, chairman and CEO

Unilever

“At Unilever we’ve put sustainable living at the heart of our business model – through our brands, innovation, sourcing and operations.  While we are making progress, the environmental, social, and economic issues we face as a society are far too complex for any individual, company, or government to tackle alone. The Closed Loop Fund is a great example of how we can drive transformational change through partnership. We’re excited to join forces as an industry to address the challenge of increasing recycling rates.” - Kees Kruythoff, president, North America 

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Walmart Offers a Helping Hand after Arkansas Tornadoes http://blog.walmart.com/community/20140428/walmart-offers-a-helping-hand-after-arkansas-tornadoes Last night, tornadoes devastated central Arkansas, and unfortunately, it’s a familiar sight for those of us who remember how Vilonia, Ark., was ravaged by a tornado only three years ago. When disasters happen, it hits home for us because Walmart is in so many towns, and so closely connected to… Mon, 28 Apr 2014 20:13:13 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/community/20140428/walmart-offers-a-helping-hand-after-arkansas-tornadoes 2014-04-28T20:13:13Z

Walmart Offers a Helping Hand after Arkansas Tornadoes

Community

Market Manager, Walmart

Last night, tornadoes devastated central Arkansas, and unfortunately, it’s a familiar sight for those of us who remember how Vilonia, Ark., was ravaged by a tornado only three years ago. When disasters happen, it hits home for us because Walmart is in so many towns, and so closely connected to every community we serve. 

We, as individual associates and members of the community, want to do everything we can to help our fellow associates and customers. So last night, Walmart associates immediately took action, donating supplies to first responders. Within an hour of the storms, stores in Conway, Beebe and Maumelle donated flashlights, batteries, tarps, snacks and anything else needed to help with search and rescue efforts.

Kevin Stephens, store manager in Conway, loaded his personal truck with water and supplies to take to the devastated areas this morning. Several other associates followed his lead by bringing aid to the damaged communities in Mayflower and Vilonia until Walmart trucks could arrive this afternoon with bottled water from the Walmart Foundation.

Yesterday’s storm system directly impacted many of our associates, not only in Arkansas, but also in Kansas and Oklahoma. We know of at least 10 who have lost their homes or their vehicles, some sustained injuries, and there are 12 associates in Vilonia that we’re still trying to make contact with. To make sure everyone is accounted for, we are personally going to their homes to check on them.

When something like this happens, we do whatever we can to support associates who are in need. Tornadoes usually leave little behind, so we make sure they have clothing, food, and a place to stay as they work to rebuild their lives. We take care of our own, but we’re also working to take care of our neighbors and customers. I’m proud of my team for taking action when it was needed most, and proud of my company for consistently stepping in to help during times like these.

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Five Ways Walmart is Upping Its Sustainability Game http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140423/five-ways-walmart-is-upping-its-sustainability-game With Earth Day now behind us and just about a week left of Earth Month, it’s time to take another look at the steps we are taking to be a more sustainable company. Here are the top five: Opened our first 100% LED supercenter in South Euclid, Ohio, which consumes 35% less than a conventional store.… Wed, 23 Apr 2014 20:36:35 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140423/five-ways-walmart-is-upping-its-sustainability-game 2014-04-23T20:36:35Z

Five Ways Walmart is Upping Its Sustainability Game

Sustainability

Sr. Manager - Sustainability, Walmart

With Earth Day now behind us and just about a week left of Earth Month, it’s time to take another look at the steps we are taking to be a more sustainable company. Here are the top five:

  1. Opened our first 100% LED supercenter in South Euclid, Ohio, which consumes 35% less than a conventional store. This store goes beyond sales floor LED to include all lighting throughout the building and parking lot.
  2. Improved efficiencies in our stores in Walmart Mexico, which reduced water consumption by more than 30% compared to 2008, as well as recycled 27% of the water consumed in stores.
  3. Installed our 250th solar energy system in the U.S., each of which provides 15% to 30% of a store’s electricity needs.
  4. Celebrated the one year anniversary of our 1 megawatt wind turbine that provides between 15% and 20% of the total electricity needed to run our Red Bluff Distribution Center in California.
  5. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation committed to train 1 million farmers and farm workers, half of which are women, by the end of 2016. In the past year alone, we have funded projects in Nepal, Bangladesh, and West Africa and continue to search for high impact opportunities to train farmers in developing countries.

These are just a few of the steps we’ve taken so far—and we’re looking forward to continuing this work to help the environment and improve the lives of our customers. You can read more in our 2014 Global Responsibility Report here.

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Feeding the World Demands Change from Farm to Fork http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140422/feeding-the-world-demands-change-from-farm-to-fork Last weekend, in the wake of one of the longest, coldest winters in recent memory, my family and I walked in the spring sunshine, past stands of oaks and blossoming redbuds, along the winding trails of Crystal Bridges.  We love our new Ozarks home, and have been reveling in the signs of spring… Tue, 22 Apr 2014 15:24:16 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140422/feeding-the-world-demands-change-from-farm-to-fork 2014-04-22T15:24:16Z

Feeding the World Demands Change from Farm to Fork

Sustainability

Chief Sustainability Officer and President, Walmart Foundation

Last weekend, in the wake of one of the longest, coldest winters in recent memory, my family and I walked in the spring sunshine, past stands of oaks and blossoming redbuds, along the winding trails of Crystal Bridges.  We love our new Ozarks home, and have been reveling in the signs of spring all around us. We are excited to celebrate Earth Day in “the Natural State” of Arkansas.

Here at Walmart, we’ve been marking Earth Day with the release of our Global Responsibility Report and the renewal of our commitment to sustainability. While we are proud of our progress in energy, waste, and product chains, we have a long way to go.  

Nowhere is this more the case than in the food chain.  In the next 30 years, the world population will approach 9 billion, putting further stress on already-strained natural capital.  As the world’s largest grocer, we are concerned with one of the greatest challenges of our time: how to help provide people on every continent with food that is safe, affordable, and sustainable for people and planet.

No one can solve this alone.  Progress will require collaborative problem solving among people all along the food chain – from farmers and fishers to transporters, development agencies, manufacturers, scientists, activists, regulators, retailers and consumers.  It’s why, for example, Walmart recently joined USAID’s groundbreaking Global Development Lab, along with a number of other organizations, to develop innovative solutions to development challenges such as this.

Will you join Walmart and so many others in creating a more sustainable food chain? Here are just a few of the ways we are trying to make a difference, from field (and ocean) to fork:

Resilient sourcing: We’re working with farmers to adopt innovative agriculture practices that preserve the environment and are fair to the people who use them. For example, we are working with partners on technologies to reduce fertilizer and pesticide use, and to conserve water; and we recently joined the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) Fair Food Program – an initiative to improve farmworkers’ working conditions and wages.

Waste reduction: We’re addressing food waste all along the chain - for example, by gleaning fallen produce from the ground, and making use of an entire crop.  We cull fresh food from our stores before it goes bad, so that instead of becoming waste sent to landfill, it gets sent to hunger relief organizations and then on to people who need it most.  

Food safety: Walmart was the first U.S. grocer to require suppliers of food products such as produce, meat, fish, poultry and ready-to-eat foods to have their factories certified against one of the internationally recognized Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standards. We are bringing our food safety approaches to our operations around the world, including not only North America, but in many countries across Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

Food security and access: Improving access to affordable food is a core part of our business strategy. It’s why we’re saving customers more than $1 billion each year on fresh produce and opening stores in food deserts. Earlier this month, we announced the rollout of affordable organic foods under the Wild Oats label.  And for years, we’ve worked with food banks to provide more links from our stores and suppliers, as well as the infrastructure to support a permanent cold chain – all in an effort to route millions of pounds of food to communities that need it most.

Making healthy easy: Of course, it’s not just about feeding the world – it’s about feeding families well. So we’re taking the homework out of healthy shopping, working with suppliers to reduce sugars and sodium and remove trans fats in everyday foods, while making the more nutritious choices easier to spot with our Great For You icon in stores. We’re providing tips and tools for how to turn these foods into simple, healthy and delicious meals, and working with valuable partners to educate families on cooking skills and nutrition.

We are committed to using our strengths – our market access, investment dollars, technological expertise and scale – to help others.  Please join us; bring your unique strengths to the table, and work with us, to set the table for everyone. 

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Easy Easter Crafts for Kids http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140418/easy-easter-crafts-for-kids Easy Easter Crafts for KidsTake some time this weekend to get creative! These crafts are fun for the whole family, and can brighten up any Easter celebration.Fresh Ideas for Easter EggsEvery egg deserves a little decoration! This year try something new, like hand painting your eggs… Fri, 18 Apr 2014 21:50:51 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/life/20140418/easy-easter-crafts-for-kids 2014-04-18T21:50:51Z

Easy Easter Crafts for Kids

Life

Easy Easter Crafts for Kids

Take some time this weekend to get creative! These crafts are fun for the whole family, and can brighten up any Easter celebration.

Fresh Ideas for Easter Eggs

Every egg deserves a little decoration! This year try something new, like hand painting your eggs to create a custom masterpiece. Once dry, display them in a beautiful basket.

Eggs-travagant Art

Little hands can have a tough time dying or painting real eggs. To let them in on the fun, cut pieces of construction paper into the shape of eggs and let them go wild with watercolors. Just remember to put down newspaper or a plastic table cloth for easy clean-up!

Peep Topiary

A great meal requires great ambiance. Create a whimsical centerpiece with spring's cutest candy: Peeps! Watch the video for a quick how-to, and check your local Walmart for the newest Peep flavor: Blue Raspberry.

Easter Cards

Share handmade easter cards with family and friends. You can use paper, markers and any other craft supplies you have around the house. Or, try using one of our special Easter cards below:

Download one and give it to a friend this Easter! 

Bunny Ears

If your little bunny doesn't have a pair of ears, print these and attach to a headband. Easy, festive and cute!

Find more Easter crafts and recipes in the Walmart Easter Center and check out our other deals!

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Money Transfers at Affordable Prices http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20140417/money-transfers-at-affordable-prices Last year, our CEO received a letter that read: “Dear Executives, Can you explain to me why it only costs $7.00 to send $1,000 or more to Mexico, and it cost me $37.00 to send $600.00 emergency money to a dear relative in California?!?!” This wasn’t the first time we heard this complaint. It was… Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:10:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20140417/money-transfers-at-affordable-prices 2014-04-17T13:10:00Z

Money Transfers at Affordable Prices

Innovation

Senior Vice President of Services for Walmart U.S.

Last year, our CEO received a letter that read:

“Dear Executives, Can you explain to me why it only costs $7.00 to send $1,000 or more to Mexico, and it cost me $37.00 to send $600.00 emergency money to a dear relative in California?!?!”

This wasn’t the first time we heard this complaint. It was one of many but it was the one that made us step back and say to ourselves, “there has to be a solution.”

According to an FDIC study, almost a third of the country is classified as either underbanked or unbanked. Many of these Americans use money transfers as a critical part of maintaining household budgets when away from their family or to help others in time of need. 

Unfortunately, for these individuals the process of transferring money isn’t that easy and comes, at times, with a hefty price tag.

I’m excited to share that we have an answer. It’s called Walmart-2-Walmart, and it will allow customers to transfer money to and from more than 4,000 stores nationwide starting April 24 for significantly less than what’s currently available on the market.

And because 95 percent of Americans have a Walmart store within 15 miles of their home, convenience is another benefit this service provides.

Walmart-2-Walmart offers a simple and transparent fee structure with just two price points: customers can transfer up to $50 for $4.50 and up to $900 for $9.50.

The savings customers will see at Walmart are very clear when looking at the cost of money transfers over $50, which are the majority of transactions in the U.S. For example, a person transferring $500 with other services could pay up to $40 to complete the transaction. At Walmart, they’ll only spend $9.50.

Walmart-2-Walmart is an innovative new service that is good for our customers and good for business. It’s also a great example of how Walmart continues to partner with world-class providers to offer customers financial products and services that provide clear benefits and help them save money.

So, the next time you need to wire money to someone I hope you consider Walmart-2-Walmart. You’ll have more money left in your pocket if you do. 

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Did You Know? Walmart Exports Washington Apples Around the World http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140416/did-you-know-walmart-exports-washington-apples-around-the-world Contrary to popular opinion, Walmart doesn't just import products to the United States. We export a lot of products too, supporting U.S. suppliers and farmers by selling their goods around the world. For example, last year alone, we exported about $45 million of apples, pears and cherries from… Tue, 15 Apr 2014 12:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/business/20140416/did-you-know-walmart-exports-washington-apples-around-the-world 2014-04-15T12:00:00Z

Did You Know? Walmart Exports Washington Apples Around the World

Business

Sr. Director, Federal Government Relations, Walmart

Contrary to popular opinion, Walmart doesn't just import products to the United States. We export a lot of products too, supporting U.S. suppliers and farmers by selling their goods around the world. For example, last year alone, we exported about $45 million of apples, pears and cherries from Washington State to our retail markets in Mexico, Canada, India, China and the U.K. 

That's on top of the 400 million pounds of tree fruit, 15-20 million pounds of potatoes and 80 million pounds of onions we purchased from Washington State producers last year. In fact, Washington is such an important source of produce for Walmart that we opened a sourcing office in Yakima in 2009.

By using the strength of our supply chain, we're able to source from 60 countries to send the right products at the right price to customers, not just in the U.S., but to every market where we operate stores.

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ECO:nomics: Walmart on Sustainability vs. Profit http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140407/eco-nomics-walmart-on-sustainability-vs-profit Walmart’s former President and CEO Mike Duke was at The Wall Street Journal’s ECO:nomics conference last week.  He sat down with WSJ Editor in Chief Gerard Baker to discuss Walmart’s sustainability journey and our responsibility to lead. Why Sustainability?Mike explains that our… Mon, 07 Apr 2014 15:54:38 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140407/eco-nomics-walmart-on-sustainability-vs-profit 2014-04-07T15:54:38Z

ECO:nomics: Walmart on Sustainability vs. Profit

Sustainability

Walmart’s former President and CEO Mike Duke was at The Wall Street Journal’s ECO:nomics conference last week.  He sat down with WSJ Editor in Chief Gerard Baker to discuss Walmart’s sustainability journey and our responsibility to lead. 

Why Sustainability?Mike explains that our sustainability journey began and continues today for four main reasons: 

1. It's the right thing to do for our communities, our stores and the planet;

2. We listened to our customers and recognized that they want more sustainable products from an environmentally responsible company;

3. It's good for our business, in that we've found new ways to grow profits through saving resources;

4. It's what our associates want.

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Watering Solutions That Save Big http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140407/watering-solutions-that-save-big Did you know it can take 15-20 seconds to properly water a plant? And in Walmart’s garden centers, where we house an average 12,000 plants in peak season, that adds up to a lot of watering time. So figuring out how to responsibly manage our water usage has been topping our to-do list for quite some… Mon, 07 Apr 2014 12:00:00 GMT http://blog.walmart.com/sustainability/20140407/watering-solutions-that-save-big 2014-04-07T12:00:00Z

Watering Solutions That Save Big

Sustainability

Sr. Director, Merchandising (Live Goods), Walmart

Did you know it can take 15-20 seconds to properly water a plant? And in Walmart’s garden centers, where we house an average 12,000 plants in peak season, that adds up to a lot of watering time. So figuring out how to responsibly manage our water usage has been topping our to-do list for quite some time.

We’re excited to say we’ve found a great solution. Last year, we started working with WaterPulse, an irrigation technology company focused on sustainability, to implement watering mats in place of our hose-based system