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We will play to win Next Generation Customer - Walmart CEO
Jun '11
At the company's annual shareholder meeting, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. President and CEO Mike Duke energized associates, managers and leaders behind the goal of winning over the global customer of the future, which he called: “The Next Generation Customer.” Duke said that serving these customers is “a clear and direct path to a stronger business and a better company.“ He added: “Walmart is the best-positioned retailer on the globe. We are right in the sweet spot of the Next Generation Customer.”

Beginning his third shareholders address as president and CEO, Duke reflected on shopping while growing up in rural Georgia and the emotional connection that his parents formed with the first Walmart in his hometown. He said customers continue to share a “common humanity” in wanting to “live better in a better world.” He also discussed the differences in today's world and how people live now: “Our Next Generation Customer will include millions who are striving to join the emerging global middle class. They're connected to the world through smart phones and social media. They're in charge of when they shop and how they shop, and they know who has the lowest prices.”

Growth: Duke defined the company's first priority, growth, as “growth in sales, growth in the number of customers, and growth through new stores and acquisitions.” He emphasized that comp sales growth in Walmart U.S. remains the “greatest priority” for him and the entire Walmart U.S. team. He said Walmart U.S. “has the right plan, and it is gaining traction. I really like what I'm hearing from customers. And I love the enthusiasm I see from managers and associates.”

EDLP (Everyday Low Prices) and EDLC (Everyday Low Costs): Duke reiterated Walmart's unwavering commitment to the second priority, EDLP and EDLC. “Nothing builds more loyalty with customers than everyday low prices,” said Duke. “Everyday low prices in every market. No exceptions. No excuses.” Duke highlighted the company's success over the past several quarters with leveraging expenses, but said there are still places where Walmart can save money: “No one controls costs better than Walmart because we do it for the right reason. It's all for the customer.”

E-Commerce: On the heels of recent investments in the U.S. and China, Duke emphasized Walmart's commitment to the third priority, global e-commerce. “With our stores and low prices, we can really take advantage of mobile technology and this era of price transparency,” said Duke. “We can combine our stores, our systems, and our logistics expertise into one continuous channel to drive growth and serve the Next Generation Customer around the world. In global e-commerce, we will not just be competing. We will play to win.”

Talent: Duke said of talent, Walmart's fourth priority for serving and winning the Next Generation Customer, “We have to be more intentional about developing talented leaders, managers and associatesaround the world. That means better training and greater opportunity for our store associates. And it means thinking globally and building teams that reflect today's world.”

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