Walmart headed into the annual shareholders meeting optimistic about the future of the company. The negative side of exceptional financial performance is the news of declining U.S. same store sales. The U.S. division of Walmart reported its eighth straight quarter of declining same store sales for stores open for at least one year. The performance of the U.S. business unit had Walmart Stores, Inc., President and CEO Mike Duke calling upon all associates to win over “The Next Generation Customer”.
The Next Generation Customer is the on the global middle-class, millions who utilize social media and smart phones to tell the retailer when and how they want to shop. According to Duke, Walmart has positioned itself in the “sweet spot of the next generation customer. Duke outlined an ambitious global plan to focus attention to the emerging global market. The global plan includes a five-step approach to better serving the customer.
Duke addressed the first need of the company, growth. The key metrics of growth for a company as large as Walmart is sales, customer traffic, acquisitions and new stores. A challenge for the company is comp store sales growth in the U.S. division. Duke pointed out that the growth in the U.S. is a great priority for the senior leadership team. Duke provided confidence in the growth strategy based upon feedback from customers and associates in the stores.
Every Day Low Price/Everyday Low Cost
A key component of Walmart’s five priorities to serve the next generation customer is providing the lowest price for goods and controlling costs. Duke pointed out the company’s ability to leverage expenses throughout the past year. The commitment to save customers money affects every market in which Walmart operates, with Duke expressing there is
“no exception — no excuse” to not provide the lowest price.
Walmart continues to be a major player in the global e-commerce market. With recent acquisitions in China, Duke states Walmart playing to win. This strategy aligns the stores, logistics and systems to better serve the next generation customer. To further Walmart’s commitment to global e-commerce, the company expanded its operation in California with former U.S. president and CEO, Eduardo Castro Wright leading the charge.
The fourth out of the five priorities to serve the next generation customer is talent. With a global workforce, Walmart maintains focus on the development of associates, managers and leaders. With such an increased focus on talent, Walmart opens up opportunities for associates as well as access to improved training.
Save Money Live Better
The final phase of the five priorities to serve the next generation customer is the mission of the company, Save Money Live Better. Duke spoke on initiatives such as sustainability and healthy foods which help the company focus on the big picture, the next generation customer.
Duke concluded by stating the priorities provided growth during the first 50 years and continues to be the growth vehicle for the next 50 years.
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Walmart Introduces “New/Old” Strategy – “Everyday Low Prices”