Roughly 50 years ago, Walmart began as a single store in Rogers, Arkansas providing customers with a wide range of goods at reasonable prices. Walmart's culture has from the beginning been about helping people save money so they can live an improved life and this tradition continues today. Currently, Walmart operates more than 10,000 retail units within 27 countries, and it is estimated that more than 2 million associates serve 200 million customers on a weekly basis. These associates deliver time and time again the mission that Sam Walton set out those 50 years ago. One of Walmart's finest achievements is its remarkable growth and staying power within the business marketplace. This is what makes the difference to their associates, customers, and investors and in worldwide communities. Customers continue to value the chance to rely on Walmart as being a one-stop shopping experience. In 2012, Walmart "reinvigorated the fundamental price promise by providing low prices day-in and day-out on the broadest assortment. The price message backed by a strong ad match policy in the industry ensured and continues to ensure that there is a separation in price with competitors. The certainty of great values throughout the store is what has been a fundamental element to Walmart for 50 years” (“Walmart 2012 Annual Report”). Walmart has and continues to be outstanding in providing quality products at very low prices.
In 2012, Walmart provided a strong financial performance, with net sales increasing by 59% to $443.9 billion. The earnings per share from the continued operations of Walmart was $4.54 per share. The explanation for Walmart's continued noteworthy fiscal position is seen in its growth as a company. Walmart added an addition 1,160 additional units, including acquisitions in both the United Kingdom and South Africa (“Walmart 2012 Annual Report”). As it stands now, Walmart has both a U.S. strategy and an International one. Their U.S. strategy seems to be functioning at great capacity as the company saw real improvements in their investing in lower prices, merchandising and operations. Walmart was able to close 2012 with two-quarters of positive sales comps. One of Walmart's sole focuses for 2012 will be to continue to remain steadfast in improving comp sales and the positive trends that last year brought. As of February of 2013, Walmart "initiated a quest to invest $2 billion in price through expense reductions and productivity improvements over the next two years." The expense reduction does come at a cost to employee wages. Walmart's international showing is also delivering excellent sales numbers at $125 billion. The retailer is current among the top three in the world. Walmart's top global priority is to see improving returns based solely on increased profitability. Without a doubt, Walmart is one of the most profitable retailers on the global stage. Continuing to strive to have all of the necessary pieces needed to flourish, Walmart time and time again builds on the success to deliver value for their customers and shareholders (“Walmart 2012 Annual Report”).
Five strategies that Walmart is looking to do in the future are: develop the people, driving a productivity loop, win in the global e-commerce area, revive the customer-focused culture and lead in environmental and social issues (“Walmart 2012 Annual Report”). These particular strategies proved to make Walmart one of the top retailers yet again in the 2012 fiscal year.
To Walmart, nothing is more important than continuing to deliver a powerful message to their people, both at the management and higher organizational levels. Walmart's center of attention is on developing existing talent through training programs and business series such as the Walton Institute. Walmart plans to recruit exceptional new talent where it is needed. Walmart prides itself on ensuring that their store and club associates are content working there. This allows the associates to make the necessary and incredible contributions to the Walmart name and brand. "Walmart U.S. achieved positive comparable store sales for fiscal 2012, having posted an increase in customer traffic for the fourth quarter. Net sales surpassed $264 billion, increasing 1.5 percent while operating income grew to $20.4 billion, a 2.2 percent increase from the prior year" (“Walmart 2012 Annual Report”). Walmart continues to strive towards opportunities for diversity, inclusion and more opportunities for women to advance within the organization.
The productivity loop is one of the main consistencies of the Walmart brand. Their mantra is delivering low prices at low costs every day. Within the past two years and due in part to their supply chain management, Walmart has continued to function for less, allowing them to sell items for lower prices and drive sales. In October of 2012, an additional guarantee by Walmart was made to "reduce operating expenses as a percentage of sales by at least 100 basis points over a five-year time span." This Walmart hopes will permit them to be more resourceful and dynamic in the operations creating a fully-fledged global influence throughout their business processes and informational systems. As E-Commerce becomes more and more important to the marketplace over the coming years, Walmart has opted to continue to grow its online business in the United States, the UK, and Canada and in Brazil. Walmart has been able to deliver so far with their multi-channel operations by enhancing the shopper experience within the online atmosphere. In Walmart culture, the customer is always put at the front of every assessment made. Walmart's global insights group continues to create analytical data that identifies the needs of the consumer marketplace and how Walmart can provide the needs. An important emphasis is made by Walmart to treasure the relationship they have with their consumers by listening to them, speaking with them to be able to recognize the changing trends of a growing population and to gain better insight into how retail plays a role in their lives (“Walmart 2012 Annual Report”). The last of Walmart's key strategies over the next few years and into the future is to be a leading force on environmental and social issues.
At Walmart, doing what is right is a mandatory part of its culture and decision making processes. The strength of Walmart lies in its doing what is both good for business, but what is right regarding issues such as philanthropic support and educational efforts around the world. Walmart is "increasing affordability of healthy foods and making significant donations to food banks. The sustainable agriculture program helps farmers earn more and become better stewards of the environment." Walmart also has sought to reduce greenhouse gas within its supply chain (“Walmart 2012 Annual Report”). 2012's global responsibility report was extended to incorporate more statistics and metrics regarding the achievement progressions made on environmental and social issues and the opportunities that lie ahead for the company.
Walmart continues to invest in growth opportunities through a variety of channels, such as their smaller formats known as Neighborhood Market and Walmart Express to its core supercenters. In doing so, Walmart has been able to develop its strategy of serving the needs of the public with excellent efficiency. The online business arena continues to soar and is driven by the fact that they offer Site to Store and Pick Up today options, which provide the consumer base alternatives to the traditional Walmart in-store shopping experience (“Walmart 2012 Annual Report”). In doing this, Walmart was able to achieve a profitable 2012 fiscal year overall through a workable mission and key objective in driving aggressive growth within the domestic and international marketplace.
"Walmart 2012 Annual Report." Online posting. Walmart Corporate. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2012, http://stock.walmart.com/annual-reports. Accessed 12 Feb. 2013.