Walmart Shareholders Meeting 2014It's a real privilege to be introduced by Alok today.
Alok's store was recently voted Walmart International store of the year. We have extraordinary associates just like Alok all over the world. They work in stores, Distribution Centers and home offices from Beijing to Buenos Aires, from London to Lagos.
I'm in no doubt that the reason our business continues to grow and flourish is down to the commitment of these dedicated people.
I am very proud to introduce you to 1,187 associates who traveled from all over the world to experience firsthand the scale, the passion, and the connection that exists across our business. So Walmart International, say hello!
Now for those of you who don't know, Walmart International is 22 years old and in 26 countries with over 70 different banners around the world.
Sales last year were $137 billion— making us the second largest retail business in the world in our own right.Business Update and Strategy
Last year we increased sales by 4.6%. We opened 324 new stores — that's 12 and a half million square feet or the equivalent of 163 football fields — that's real football fields — I think here in America you call them soccer fields.
So, we now have more than 6,300 stores serving over 100 million customers a week.
International is a growth engine for Walmart and to succeed we must focus on being in good businesses and running them well.
We have to manage a balanced portfolio of businesses across the globe from mature but slow-growing markets like the U.K. or Japan to fast-growing markets like China, Africa or Brazil.
Our formats must be relevant to the local customer. And we need to run our businesses exceptionally well.To do that, four key things need to be consistent wherever we operate: EDLP, EDLC, trust, and people.
First, EDLP. We are always focused on growing comp sales through price leadership to ensure that we save customers money.Second, EDLC. We must have the lowest cost to operate. Our ability to work together to share ideas and best practices is having a big impact across our operations.
Third, trust. We will build trust by investing in our communities, delivering on our sustainability commitments and ensuring that all our businesses have world-class compliance programs.
Fourth, people. Our extraordinary associates.Rapidly Changing Customer
Of course, everything starts with the customer. And I see customers' shopping habits changing more rapidly than I can ever remember. They are shopping more online, with mobile devices and they really like convenience.If our customer changes fast, we have to change even faster if we want to continue to exceed her expectations.
So, today I'll take you around the globe and show you how Walmart associates are innovating and making a difference for customers every day.
Innovations around the WorldProduct Innovation
First stop, Brazil and product innovation. Last year Walmart Brazil brought Wrigley's gum products into their country for the first time, and customers LOVE it. Sales have been great, and in just five months, Wrigley's represents over 8% of category sales!This was the work of Rafael Rossatto and his team. Rafael noticed that customers returning from the U.S. were bringing back Wrigley's products like Orbit gum or Starburst and they were even giving them as gifts.
Rafael saw an opportunity and went for it. Now to buy Wrigley's, customers can simply visit their local Walmart!Leadership Innovation
Now to Canada and leadership innovation. A team of retail leaders were given a challenge to improve female diversity across our business. Most of our customers are women, so they knew this diversity of thought would benefit the business. They developed the Women in Retail Initiative and it worked.
Our female store managers increased by 55% and Shelly Broader was Walmart Canada's first female CEO until she was promoted to regional CEO last week. The best thing is that this innovation has rolled out across all of International!
Finally let's move to Mozambique and format innovation.
We're really proud that in October, Massmart opened our first Builder's Warehouse home improvement store, in Tete, Mozambique. In just seven months, the store is ahead of plan and has exceeded profitability expectations.
This is due in large part to store manager, Amilcar Matsinhe who is here today — please stand, Amilcar!
What an incredible group of associates! Every one of you here this morning can do what those associates did and more!The ability for anyone to make a difference is one of the things that makes our business so special.
So I'd like to close by telling you about an extraordinary associate named Pamela Serna who works at the Sam's Club Delicias in Chihuahua, Mexico.
Every year her Club supports worthy causes during Christmas. Children submit requests about what they hope to receive. One little boy wrote that he'd like bunk beds to share with his sister — she had cancer and his brothers had significant health challenges.
The children slept on the floor of a small room with their mother. She worked hard every day selling candy on the street to support the family, but she'd never been able to buy them a bed. So Pamela promised she'd get him his wish, and she did.
And to make it happen, she invested half of her own bonus to make his Christmas wish come true.
Pamela, where are you? Thank you for caring so deeply for your community. You're amazing.You represent the best of who we are at Walmart. And so next Christmas we will join you in supporting a worthy charity in Chihuahua. You'll choose the right cause, and Walmart will donate $10,000 to that charity!
Do you see the common thread in all of these stories? It's you. Because of you, we innovate. Because of you we run better businesses every day. It's you doing incredible things for our customers and making a difference.
So take the passion and the inspiration from this week and go back home, and do even more! Let's make 2015 our best year yet! Thank you.