Serving Customers by Investing in our People

Walmart Shareholders Meeting 2014

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

June 06, 2014

Walmart Shareholders Meeting 2014

Remarks as Prepared for Bill Simon

Thank you, Assal. ...What an incredible story! Good morning everyone!

That's what makes Walmart such a great place. We have opportunity for everyone, wherever we operate all around the world.

Opportunity at Walmart
You can come to us for a first job, extra income, a long-term career or as a U.S. veteran looking for a job after active duty service. We want you on our team.

And today, on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, I am proud to tell you that we've hired 42,000 veterans in the last year alone! You bring us skills that make us better.

And there is a wealth of opportunity. In addition to hiring 42,000 veterans, we promoted thousands this year as well. 

As you've heard this morning, our customers' needs and expectations are changing.

And so we're investing in new formats, new products, and new technologies to better serve customers. We're also investing in our most important asset — our people.

Investing in Our People
That's what I want to talk about today — how we're investing in you, so you are fully equipped to serve our customers now and in the future.

Last year we launched scheduling changes and access to open shifts to make additional hours more available.

But we're not stopping there. Since then, we've spent a lot of time listening to you about what you want in terms of schedule choice, job growth, and access to opportunity.

We took your feedback and incorporated it into our plans.

So I'm really pleased to tell you that we're investing in new programs that will give you even more opportunity.

We're redefining what it means to work at Walmart, and we're going to be even clearer about what it takes for associates to advance.

We're working to create more flexible schedules to support you and the needs of all our associates now and in the future.

We'll start here in the U.S. but our goal will be to roll out opportunities like this at stores and clubs around the world.

These are going to be meaningful changes that will ultimately benefit our customers, and we'll have more details later this year.

Business Update and Strategy
Last year, in the U.S., you served 140 million customers each and every week.

You delivered net sales of more than $279 billion — think about that that's an increase of $5 billion from last year.

But I know you're never satisfied and always looking for ways to grow our same store sales through innovation, merchandise and service offerings.

More than ever, customers want quality merchandise at great, low prices so we launched several exciting new programs.

For example, the Wild Oats line of organic food has made a big splash in the market. 

We're also excited about our video game trade-in program. And last quarter, we launched the Walmart-2-Walmart money transfer program.

This program is half the cost of similar domestic money transfer programs that we offer ... saving our customers money.

Of course, we continue to focus, as we have in recent years on improving our fresh meat and produce business.

Our customers also value convenience so we're investing in the integration of digital and physical retail while building a world class eCommerce business.

Neighborhood Markets and Walmart Express stores have been a big hit, providing fast, easy access whenever and however customers want it.

Our Neighborhood Markets delivered a 5% same store sales increase last quarter, so we're building up to 200 more of those this year alone.

So you can see why we are so excited about this format.

And Walmart Express is fast becoming a customer favorite because of its easy access, and it is a favorite of ours because of its sales growth. We'll add 80 to 100 this year.

Plus, these new stores will all be digitally connected.

We have seen that it's increasingly cost-efficient to manufacture goods close to the point of consumption in all our markets all around the world.

So, here in the U.S., we've pledged to buy an additional $250 billion over 10 years in products supporting American manufacturing. That has the potential to create 1 million jobs right here in the USA!

Take a look at what happened when one of our suppliers moved production to a small town in South Carolina.

And you know what — those TVs are available in our stores today and are one of our best-selling items!

That's good for our communities, good for customers, and good for the American economy.

There's a lot of cool stuff going on! The future of retail is exciting, but none of it is possible without you! You play such an important role in our future — by serving our customers in your stores every single day.

So, to close I'd like to tell you about Jennifer. She is one of our customers in Arizona — a single mom of four.

She wrote me a letter — actually I know she meant it for you. So I'd like to share it with you.

She wrote, "I struggle each month to make ends meet.  My life would be much more difficult if I couldn't do price matching at Walmart for my groceries.

My family and I take a lot of prescriptions ... we wouldn't be able to survive without your $4 and $10 prescription costs.  Life in today's world is difficult at best, but with people like you and stores like Walmart, it makes the hard things a little easier to swallow. Thank you again for all you do."
You see, I know it was written to you. Because you know Jennifer — she's in your store every day.

You are the ones making a difference in her life and the lives of all our customers around the world.

That's why we're investing in you, our people. And that will make us a better Walmart ... it will be better for America ... and better for communities all around the world.

Thank you very much!