Brett Biggs: Transformation from a Position of Strength

June 03, 2016

Brett Biggs reports at Shareholders 2016

Remarks as prepared for Brett Biggs, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Good morning, Walmart!

I’m so honored to serve you and the company as the Chief Financial Officer.

This morning I hope you will come away with a sense of why I’m so proud to be a part of this company and why I feel so strongly about our future.

While this is my first time on this stage, it’s my 16th Shareholders’ meeting.

I’ve been part of many different areas of our business and they even let me out of Finance for a while to be part of the operations team at Sam’s Club. Now, letting a numbers guy actually run something is a sign of a company willing to take some risks! I assure you.

Through the years, I've learned so much about our business and culture, but most of all I've learned about leadership.

And, before we get into some numbers this morning, I want to highlight two leaders from my time at Sam’s Club – Jeff Thompson and Darryl Duncan – two of our great market managers who lead the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and they are here with us today.

When I took the operations role, my family and I moved to that area so, I was in their clubs A LOT! Which I know they really enjoyed!

Jeff is a leader with very high standards. I remember a time when Todd Harbaugh, my boss at the time, was coming to visit clubs in the area and I didn’t tell Jeff in advance.

He was not happy with me, and may still be mad at me! But, he ran such great clubs that I knew he didn't need any additional time to prep and, you know what – as expected – the visit was great! Jeff, thanks for showing what it means to have high standards!

Darryl showed me how to take care of members and associates. As I toured clubs with him, I saw how deeply he cared about his associates and how they responded to his authentic, genuine leadership. Daryl, you're a great example of our company culture and I want to thank you!

Leaders like Daryl and Jeff remind us that, even though this is a really big company it’s about one member or customer at a time and one associate at a time.

When I came to Walmart in 2000, we were just a small $165 billion “startup.” Hey, it sounded big at the time! In fact, there was even talk that Walmart had finished growing. Yet this past year – because of you – we reported total revenue of more than $482 billion! 

I think some people might have underestimated us!

And you know what … I’m as excited now as I was back then about our growth potential. In fact, last October, we said we anticipated growing sales, excluding currency, in a range of $45 to $60 billion over three years.

As context, as a company it took us about 30 years to reach that same level of sales. That’s incredible! And each part of the company will play a big role in our future growth.

In Walmart U.S., the investments we’re making in associate wages, technology and store standards are producing results. Customer scores continue to rise, and we’ve had seven straight quarters of positive comp sales and six straight quarters of positive comp traffic! Way to go Walmart U.S!

In Global e-Commerce, we’re setting the foundation for future growth opportunities and helping customers today shop however they want.

Just in the last year, we’ve added state of the art fulfillment centers we’ve introduced Walmart Pay, and we’ve expanded online grocery to nearly 40 markets. GEC, you’re a huge part of our future!

In Walmart International the majority of our markets have delivered positive comp sales for eight consecutive quarters led by the outstanding performances over the last year at Walmex and in Canada.

By itself Walmart International is one of the largest retailers in the world with net sales last year of over $123 billion. Thank you Walmart International!

And at Sam’s Club we’re pleased with the digital strategy and how membership income continues to grow. And our Club Pickup business grew over 30% last quarter. Thank you Sam’s Club!

As a company, we’re growing – and we’re changing.

Growth used to be just about building stores and growing comp sales. It’s still about that but it’s also about building apps and websites, a next generation fulfillment network and new services.

We’re bringing together great stores with e-commerce capabilities in ways no one else can.

I’ve seen a lot of change at Walmart. But where we are today – right here, right now – is one of the most exciting transformational times in the company’s history.

And we’re leading this transformation from a position of incredible financial strength.

Walmart is one of the strongest companies in the world – period. We have strong sales, excellent cash flow, a rock solid balance sheet, and provide robust returns to our shareholders.

In fact, last year, we generated over $27 billion in operating cash flow. In addition, last year, our Board authorized a new $20 billion share repurchase program and we increased our dividend this year for the 43rd year in a row.

That is strength!

We have the resources and the will to transform this company for the future while taking care of our customers, our associates, and our communities today.

We’ll continue to take care of our customers. We serve 260 million customers around the world each week helping them save both money and time.

We’ll continue to take care of our associates. We’re investing over $2.7 billion in wages and training over two years in our U.S. stores and clubs.

Now, this is one of my favorite numbers: Just last month, more than 99% of our Walmart U.S. stores received a quarterly MyShare bonus!

We invest in our people.

We’ll also continue to take care of our communities. Last year, we gave cash and in-kind donations of $1.4 billion – for causes like fighting hunger, creating economic opportunity, and responding to natural disasters. I’m very, very proud of what we do in our communities.

And as we do these things right, we’ll in turn, take care of our shareholders.

So…. we’ve discussed a lot of numbers this morning but I want to close by focusing on two numbers that each and every associate in this company can impact – our sales and our expenses.

Growing sales is the result of a lot of everyday actions. It’s the result of the smile you give a customer; asking how their family is doing. And making sure the shelves are fully stocked.

So let me ask you a question: can everyone here do something to help us grow sales?

In addition to sales, we’ve always been focused on the bottom line. Sam Walton once said: “Control your expenses better than your competition. This is where you can always find the competitive advantage.”  

It should be a source of pride when we cut back on things we just don’t need, eliminate waste, or find a way to do more with less. Those savings help us deliver value for our customers.

So, here's another question: Can you help us manage our expenses?

Good, because I like to win. It drives me and it drives this company. It always has.

I have a quote from Mr. Sam hanging in my office which says: “I don’t like to be ranked 2nd in anything.” And we don't either!

We are all a part of one of the most exciting times in our company’s history!

Here's my last question: Do you all like to win?

Yeah, me too, and I’ll bet on you and I’ll bet on this company any time.

Thank you for all that you do.