Speaking at the meeting, president and CEO Mike Duke said progress and success within the brand were productivity loops. He also said that there was much more success to come beyond current plans.
Duke said: “Walmart is strong, and we are getting stronger. We have momentum in our business that’s producing top-line and bottom-line results. We’re delivering on the productivity loop and being even more disciplined about operating expenses and capital spending. We’re making investments that are creating a better business. I believe the combination of momentum, investment and discipline will continue to deliver growth, leverage and returns for our shareholders.”
Business for the company in the US is in a great place and still making progress on a number of fronts, which are driving strong competitive sales, said Duke.
According to Duke, Walmart International has seen strong growth through its ability to turn customers to the brand, which has led it to gain share in almost every country in which it operates. There has also been a focus on the sort of leadership Walmart provides on issues such as sustainability, economic empowerment of women, nutrition and hunger, and agriculture.
Much of the company’s success comes from how it spends money and Duke highlighted Walmart’s 11 quarters of leveraging expenses as part of that and credited its “productivity loop, lower prices and more sales across the business”.
Duke added: “Now you’re going to see us bring the same increased discipline to our capital expenditures that we have been bringing to operating expenses. We are driving efficiencies in new stores and remodels by reducing construction costs while keeping our square footage growth where we want it to be. We are smarter about matching our systems investments to the size of the box and the needs of the market.”
While being cautious with what is spent, Duke also said the company had brought a lot of discipline to the investments Walmart has made to grow its business and position to succeed in the short and long term.
Global eCommerce and Walmart’s share in the Chinese web retailer Yihaodian, are areas Duke believes are ripe for positive growth. He said: “I believe we are playing to win in a very real way now — driving innovation, working together across the entire business and investing in our vision.”
Duke added: “Investments in shared services, systems and global processes are yielding, and will continue to yield, real productivity and expense savings.”
Ongoing financial goals are tied into momentum, discipline and investment and areas of growth for the company are leverage and returns. Duke said: “We will generate growth through comp [comparable store] sales from existing business, new stores and e-commerce. Our international business will continue to be a growth engine. My commitment is that we have a lot of open road ahead, even beyond our current plans.”