Our Culture and Our People

Walmart Shareholders' Meeting 2012

By Bill Simon, President & CEO, Walmart U.S.

June 01, 2012

Walmart Shareholders' Meeting 2012

Remarks as prepared for delivery

It's an honor to be here celebrating 50 years of this great company and to represent the 1.4 million associates of Walmart U.S.  From our sales associates to our cashiers…from our zone and department managers to the back office team…to the associates in our Distribution Centers…and, of course, our truck drivers.

We've got a lot to celebrate...in addition to 50 years.  Two weeks ago, Walmart U.S. posted a 2.6 comp - our biggest comp sales increase in 3 years!

We've got momentum in our business.  You can see it in our results.  And you can feel it in our stores.  We run an every day low cost company, so that we can deliver every day low prices on the broadest assortment of merchandise.

That's Walmart.  That's who we are.

And the single biggest reason for our company's results this year – and for 50 years – is that we listened to our associates.  They're not shy about speaking up for their customers, and I love that about them.

We listened to them on clothing styles and sizes – and we just had our best comp in apparel in six years.  They talked to us about bringing fabrics back – and we had an 11 comp last year.  They said customers want help with home improvement projects -- and our new Projects Made Simple program is averaging over 30 percent comps.

Let me say to our associates: you did that!  You know your customers, and you want to serve them.  And these results remind us that our job at the Home Office – our real job – is to listen to you.

That idea is so simple…so powerful.  It's so…Walmart.  And like most good things around here, that idea was given to us by Mr. Sam.

Now I've worked for other companies, and I've served in government.  And I could tell from my very first day that this place is different.  That it's special.

It's our culture and our people that make it so special, and that's what I love most about working for Walmart.  And that's what I want to talk to you about today.

Sam Walton and the earliest associates gave us more than a great business model; they gave us the great culture that our Chairman spoke about earlier. 

It's a culture of service, of action, of purpose.  It's passed down from one associate to another.  And I believe it's what sets Walmart apart.

Here's what I see: all over the world, the contributions of our associates are truly valued.  We treat each other - and our suppliers - with respect.  We put the needs of our customers above our own.  And all of us strive to get better every day.

And like Joan and Francine show us, Walmart is a place of opportunity. Where talent and commitment are recognized and rewarded.  Every associate can achieve their dreams at Walmart.

You can't bottle this spirit.  We'll never fully understand it or explain it.  And rather than listen to me, I thought you might want to hear what some of what our associates had to say about our culture.

Those associates we heard from are special, but they are not unique.  You'll find these unbelievable associates in all of our stores and clubs...from Arkansas to Zambia.  They're in Asda and in Argentina.  In China and Canada.  At SEIYU and at Sam's Club.  All around the world.

I wish I could go to every one of our stores today and thank every associate by name who has made this company what it is today…but I can’t.

I can only say: to every associate who works all night to stock our shelves and serve our customers…thank you.

To every driver who spends time away from your families, even during your Christmas, so other families can have theirs…thank you.

To every associate who has invested their time, their energy, their heart and soul in making a career here – and making this company better…thank you.

Every day our customers come to us to stretch their paychecks, and every day you give them more than any other retailer can.

Every day your fellow associates need you – to lean on in bad times and celebrate with in good times – and every day you're there for each other. 

I wish I could shake every one of your hands.  But I can only say, on behalf of your leadership team, your board of directors, your shareholders: thank you, thank you, and thank you.

This is your company.  Never forget that.  As you hear the story of these last 50 years, know that this is your story.