Doug McMillon, President and CEO, Walmart Inc., Remarks at 2018 Walmart Associate and Shareholders Meeting

June 1, 2018

10 Min. Read
Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart, speaks in front of tree at Walmart Associate Meeting during Shareholders 2018

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June 1, 2018 - Remarks as prepared for Doug McMillon, President and CEO, Walmart Inc.

Good morning Walmart! Have you had a great week? I hope so— Thank you for the feedback and ideas you’ve shared with us.

This is my favorite week of the year and I know Sam Walton loved it, too. He brought such great energy and passion to these meetings. He loved us all being together. We are truly blessed to have him as our founder.

He gave us our purpose, our values and culture, and they continue to guide us today. When he combined his beliefs and behaviors with his disruptive idea that he could build a good business by providing quality merchandise at affordable prices to people in small towns…well, he had something special.

And he planted that seed of an idea right here in small town America. And from that start, we grew. And as we grew, we became deeply rooted by our purpose, our values and our culture. We respect one another.

We’re here to serve our customers. We have high standards of performance …and we do the right thing. Acting with integrity is a core value. That's why we pay such close attention to and invest so much in ethics and compliance.

These four values -- these roots-- give us strength and stability... a strong foundation. Over time, our foundation enabled us to grow bigger and stronger. We bore fruit – fruit for our customers, for our associates in the form of opportunity, for the communities we serve, and for our shareholders.

We bore a lot of fruit last year, didn’t we? We grew revenue by more than $15 billion to become a half-a-trillion dollar business! We were the first company in history to achieve that milestone.

But our goal isn’t to be big, it's to be the best. And that’s measured by our customers' satisfaction and our growth.

Last year our revenue growth was higher than the annual growth of Target, eBay, Netflix, Snapchat, Spotify, Twitter and Tesla combined! So we ARE a growth company, we just happen to be a big one.

Just last year you served 270 million customers a week! More customers are shopping with us and our customer scores are improving. As we strive to exceed their expectations, we create a stronger company.

Our operating cash flow of $28 billion enabled us to return more than $14 billion to our shareholders. The fundamentals of our business, thanks to you, are strong. And the resulting financial strength gives us flexibility.

And we’re delivering more than just financial results. We believe that business can maximize value by addressing societal needs.

So we're using the strengths of our business to do that and create shared value for our communities. Our communities are the soil where we live and grow -- and we’re giving back to keep it rich.

This past year we were reminded just how important our role can be. As natural disasters hit places like Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and Mexico-- you stepped up, giving your time and your heart to help those in your community.

Meet Dennis Northam. When Hurricane Harvey brought over 60 inches of rain to parts of Texas, Dennis braved major flooding and was among the first to arrive at the convention center in Houston with needed supplies. When many others were leaving, Dennis went in, and he helped people whose lives had been turned upside down. Thank you, Dennis.

Meet Jorge Arroyo from Puerto Rico. He and his family lost everything in Hurricane Maria—their house and all their possessions. With nothing but the clothes on his back and the shoes on his feet, Jorge went to work the next day because he knew how much the community needed his store open.

A few days later, as Jorge was searching through what was left of his home, he found something that had remained unscathed: his Walmart vest. It has become a symbol of perseverance to him as he serves others. To us, Jorge symbolizes all of our associates in Puerto Rico and their ability to overcome. Please help me appreciate him and all of our associates on the island.

The people we serve in communities not only trust us to be there for them when disaster strikes, they also want to feel good about our social and environmental impact every day and trust that the products we sell are good for their kids and the planet.

In our own operations, as a result of new solar and wind projects, we will more than double our renewable energy use in the U.S. Once these new projects are operational, 35% of our energy globally will be supplied by renewables!

And when it comes to products, did you know that every banana we sell at Walmart, Sam’s Club or Asda is now sourced from a sustainably certified farm? Last year, in the U.S. alone, we sold over a billion pounds of bananas... that's billions of bananas.

Last year, we also launched a commitment to work with suppliers to reduce one gigaton of emissions from our supply chain by 2030 and in the first year our suppliers reported reductions of more than 20 million metric tons! Thank you to our suppliers for helping us make that happen. We appreciate you.

Our customers care about these issues – they want to feel good about shopping at Walmart, and they expect us to do the right things. We welcome that.

Let’s talk about what else they want. They want value for their money, they want great items, and they want a shopping experience that’s easy, fast, friendly and fun! Our customers are the boss. Their expectations are going up and we’re transforming, to serve them even better tomorrow.

So, what does our transformation look like? Let’s take a look at what we’ve done over the last few years. We started out by strengthening our foundation. We committed that our investments in our people, in our stores, and in eCommerce would lead to a stronger positioning for the company.

You’ve embraced better tools, better training, improved benefits and wages and we’re seeing a better store experience as a result.

We acquired Jet. Our eCommerce business is now stronger, and we’ve made acquisitions to give our customers more choice. We've been aggressive with grocery pickup and delivery, leveraging our expertise from around the world. Investing in JD.com has opened new doors for us in China.

We’re adding hundreds of thousands of Walmart Pay users a month! And Scan and Go has enabled Sam’s Club members to save time by skipping the checkout altogether. And we continue to expand pickup and delivery capabilities around the world.

Focus is a priority. That’s why you see us divesting non-core assets like shopping malls and banks and investing in new growth areas and technologies.

We’ve announced bold steps like our investment in India’s Flipkart and the proposed combination with Sainsbury’s in the U.K. so that our Asda colleagues are positioned to thrive. Meaningful change is rarely easy but it’s essential to set us up for success in the future.

The common thread in this story is that we’re positioning ourselves for sustained growth while at the same time finding new ways to serve customers today.

We know we ask our shareholders for patience sometimes so that we can set this business up for long term success. We are mindful of how important it is to balance these time horizons. Today's results matter.

Let me introduce you to someone who is delivering great results right now. This is David Han and he leads our digital product team in China, where we are moving very quickly.

David is one of the people responsible for what is one of my favorite, recent stories about speed. One of our customers who lives near our new supermarket in Shenzhen placed an order on the JD Daoija app and it was delivered from the store in just nine minutes! Nine minutes from using the app to a knock on the door! David and the team are also connecting digitally with our customers through Tencent’s WeChat app. Take a look!

Now that's easy and fast! David, thanks for what you and your team are doing!

We have a talented team of technologists in this company and they, combined with entrepreneurial business leaders, are working to get ahead, to where customers are going.

We’re experimenting with the use of virtual reality to create amazing, interactive shopping experiences. We see a future where we’ll use autonomous vehicles for grocery delivery.

What’s cool to me is that as we use technology to build new solutions, you can see people's creativity come to life. It’s clear that in a future that is even more tech-empowered, it’ll be our human characteristics that set us apart. You can certainly see that in merchandising.

Let me tell you about one merchant who blew me away while I was visiting her store in Mexico City. This is Blanca Malvido and she leads the produce area. We were standing in front of her pumpkin display and I asked her how many she planned to sell during the season. She said “15." And I thought, "15 sounds kind of low," I’m sure she could see that on my face.

So, she clarified that she meant 15 TONS! I love that she thinks in tons. Just so you know, we checked, and she BEAT that number. Sometimes we can sell more than what a computer would suggest. Thank you, Blanca. It’s fun to be a merchant, isn’t it? It's a never ending study of human behavior.

It's further evidence that we need to keep learning and equip our people for the future. We want you to fulfill your potential. And as you do, we grow. To help you fulfill your potential, we must have strong leaders creating inclusive environments in every store, every club, every D.C., every part of our business.

Diverse teams help us perform better and make us stronger. We want to be that place where you can find opportunity and where everyone is included. And we'll all keep learning to help us prepare for the future of work. From apps on our mobile devices to automation in the back room, we’ll keep innovating to help you spend more time with customers and members.

We’ll continue to create new opportunities, new skills, and new jobs like personal shoppers for grocery, customer hosts, and Academy Facilitators. From our fresh certification program in Japan that we now have at Sam’s Club in the U.S. to our women in retail programs around the world, we are developing new knowledge and new training.

We are becoming lifelong learners. That’s why we are proud to announce this week that we’ll help U.S. associates earn a college degree at accredited universities. Those of you who graduate from our Academies can get college credit towards that degree. We want to help you.

Let me share the story of a lifelong learner I met earlier this year.

Meet Krystal Rivas.

Join me in thanking Krystal! Krystal seized opportunity for herself and now she's investing in others.

I also want to introduce you to Lourdes Garcia. Lourdes-- would you please stand. Lourdes was one of the students at the Academy where Krystal teaches. She was proud to graduate for the first time when she completed her Academy training.

Lourdes wrote down her thoughts about that day:
I had never experienced a graduation before. I tried on my gown and my emotions were overwhelming. Walking to the stage, and seeing my four year old son… hearing him scream my name… having my family there to see… was such a life changing experience, I will forever old in my heart.

Lourdes, we’re proud of you. We're proud of both of you.

Look at how these two partnered together. As the world becomes more digital and technology continues to change our lives, it will be our associates, our people, the humanity of Walmart that make us special. That is what Sam Walton taught us. He knew people were our edge.

This is that place where we care for one another, where you can make a difference, and help people live better. We know he believed that. He said it so many times. I've often wished those of you that didn’t get to be around Sam could have that opportunity.

The videos we share of him are great but, given what technology can do today, we’re going to take a shot at going to the next level this morning. As you get a chance to see and hear him please listen carefully to what he says.

Did you hear him? He said it will be mind-boggling what we can achieve if we continue to work with one another, listen to one another and keep the ideas flowing! He put it right there on our badges: our people make the difference.

Listen, we could choose to just be happy that we had a good run and keep doing things the same way. But that’s not what I think Sam would’ve done. The purpose, values and culture he instilled in us are worth fighting for. The world is a better place with Walmart in it. The next generation needs this company.

You save people money so they can take care of their kids, invest in their education, pay the rent or buy a home.

With people like, Dennis, Jorge, David, Blanca, Krystal and Lourdes and all of you, we can make a difference.

Sam’s original seed of an idea has grown big, strong and tall—with a deep root system. How long can we keep this up? How high is up? Trees can grow for thousands of years. There’s SO much room for us to grow. Let’s make it happen!