Business

How Walmart is Transforming to Better Serve Customers

Today, we welcomed members of the investment community to our home office to share how we’re doing as a company and how we’ll serve our customers in the future.

We enjoyed giving them an update because our associates are making so much progress. This is an exciting time to be part of Walmart.

In the U.S., our investments in people, stores and technology are helping us grow – as we reported last quarter, comp sales are up, and more customers are shopping with us. In Walmart International, we delivered positive comps in ten out of our 11 markets in the first half of the year. Membership income is growing at Sam’s Club. And, in addition to more than doubling the number of items available on Walmart.com, we recently welcomed Marc Lore and the Jet.com team to our Walmart family.

Our goal is to be the best place for our customers to shop – whether they choose to do it in stores, online, on mobile devices, or a combination of these, it will be fast and easy.

How will we do that?

It starts with making every day easier for busy families. Saving them money makes every day easier and now, more than ever, they need us to save them not only money but time. We’ll do that in stores and we’ll do that with e-commerce. We will continue to invest in technologies and services that make shopping even easier, like Scan and Go at Sam’s Club, Walmart Pay and more.

We are a company that must become more of an e-commerce and technology company. There’s no doubt that e-commerce is going to become a much more important part of our business. So as we run stronger stores and build a bigger e-commerce business, we will continue to link them together in exciting ways. Today, more of our customers are shopping with us in stores and online or using our apps. Our ongoing investments in online grocery, Walmart.com and Samsclub.com as well as new investments in Jet.com are just a few examples of how we will evolve to offer customers the flexibility and convenience to shop when, where and how they want.

The distinctions made today between stores, apps, pickup, delivery and websites are blurring into the background for customers. For them, it’s all Walmart, and we will continue to offer new solutions that create a seamless shopping experience.

As retail changes, and Walmart changes with it, we can drive strong, efficient growth by continuing to operate with discipline.

Our business model of everyday low costs fuels the everyday low prices our customers expect. That’s not changing. So we will be thoughtful about expense control and be more productive across the business. We’ll win the basket business in stores and in e-commerce. And one other benefit from taking this approach is that shipping larger baskets is more sustainable from an environmental point of view.

So as we help our customers save money and time, we are also running our business with more sustainable practices and that gives us the opportunity to be our customers’ most trusted retailer.

Our goal is to earn their trust every day and to ensure that all of our customers know why they should feel good about shopping at Walmart. We do that by offering products that make a difference in communities. We carry products that support American jobs and sell produce sourced from local farms. We share profits with our associates – like the performance bonuses 99% of our stores earned last quarter-- and invest in their careers.

Overall, I’m encouraged by our progress. Our team has momentum, we’re delivering results and positioning Walmart to win in the future.

But to earn both the trust and business of busy families, it will take all of us working together to create a seamless, more sustainable shopping experience that no one else can match. We know where we’re headed and we’re excited about making life easier for them.

Editor's Note: You can find a complete replay and supporting materials from our 2016 Investment Community Meeting here.

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U.S. Manufacturing

Making Your Favorite Jeans Better for the Planet

Almost everyone has a favorite pair of blue jeans. The ones that fit like a glove, your go-to pair for any occasion.

As we know them today, jeans were the invention of Jacob Davis and his friend, Levi Strauss, who patented the pants in 1873. Since then, jeans have become a huge part of American culture, from cowboys to rebels and rock stars, to hipsters and heads of state. They are a fashion statement and a wardrobe staple.

Blue jeans were once America’s most popular export. They are no longer widely manufactured nor dyed in the U.S. and, while blue jean manufacturing has evolved over the years, the indigo dyeing process has not. Most countries still use the same methods established in the early 1920s.

So, why does this matter? While indigo is a natural, non-toxic dye, the chemicals used to make the color stick to cotton fibers are quite harsh, and the process requires thousands of gallons of water to rinse the chemicals out later.

Recently, the Walmart Foundation, through the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund, supported a project at Texas Tech University where researchers are using a foam indigo dyeing technique on cotton fibers. According to Texas Tech, this method, which uses a frothy foam dye designed to penetrate the entire fiber, eliminates the use of harsh chemicals and reduces water and energy usage by nearly 90%. This innovation could be a game changer for denim manufacturers by lowering costs and reducing environmental impacts.

This project’s potential is just now unfolding. And it’s part of a broader effort to grow local economies, and ultimately, create more jobs in communities across the country.

Watch the innovative foam indigo dyeing process in action and hear from the people at Texas Tech University who helped create it.

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Business

The Baby-Soft Science Behind Parent’s Choice Wipes

New parents have enough on their minds – the price of high-quality, good-for-baby essentials shouldn’t be one of them.

That’s the thought behind our Parent’s Choice cotton baby wipes. They’re made with 99% pharmaceutical-grade purified water and plant-based ingredients, then pass through four levels of filtering and treatment. The result? An ultra-pure wipe that parents can trust to be safe and gentle on sensitive skin – at a great value.

Diaper changes are a time when every child deserves to be clean and comfortable so their skin remains naturally healthy. We trust the Nice Pak factory in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to create the best product possible. They don’t take shortcuts, so moms and dads who use Parent’s Choice cotton wipes can expect excellent care for their baby, every time.

Watch the story behind how Parent’s Choice cotton baby wipes are made.

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Heritage

The Valentine Love Story Behind the Walmart Brand

Before a fledgling family-run retail chain flourished into what it is today, there was a simple and sweet love story.

On Valentine’s Day in 1943, after serving a year of active duty in the Army, Sam Walton married his wife, Helen, in her hometown of Claremore, Oklahoma.

In his book, “Sam Walton: Made in America,” Sam says on an April night in a bowling alley in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he noticed Helen Robson – his future bride – who just happened to be on a date with another fellow.

After she took her turn and rolled her ball down the alley, she saw Sam with his leg up over the armrest of an old chair, with a smile on his face. She recalls Sam’s greeting as being rather “corny.”

Helen said Sam asked if he had met her somewhere before. It turns out Sam had dated a girl Helen knew in college. Instead of asking for Helen’s number, Sam initially asked Helen for the other young woman’s number. However, according to Helen, soon after that encounter, Helen and Sam started dating.

Both Helen and Sam have said they instantly fell in love with each other. Sam said Helen was “pretty and smart, and educated, ambitious and opinionated and strong-willed – with ideas and plans of her own.” After dating for a little while, by the time Sam was called up by the Army for active duty, he said two things were very clear to him: He knew who he wanted to marry Helen, and knew he wanted to go into retail.

From there, the rest of their story went down in the retail history books. “I always told my mother and dad that I was going to marry someone who had that special energy and drive, that desire to be a success,” Helen said. “I certainly found what I was looking for, but now I laugh sometimes and say maybe I overshot a little.”

To commemorate their anniversary, The Walmart Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, honors their love every Valentine’s Day with a special flower display.

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Innovation

Your Shopping Trip Just Got Easier with This New Store Assistant

Smartphones have become a vital part of our lives, helping to make virtually everything faster and more convenient. No matter what we’re doing these days, relying on our favorite apps is almost second nature.

That’s why we’ve been applying this kind of thinking to shopping, by building tools and features within the Walmart app to save you time on everything from prescription pickups to merchandise returns. But we also know that we can do even more. This week, we’re releasing a handful of new and improved features to the Walmart app that not only help you get in and out of the store quickly, but also help you before you ever leave the house.

All of these new features come together under something else that’s new: a totally re-imagined experience for in-store shopping called Store Assistant. Next time you visit your local store and open the app, you’ll notice that the Walmart app transforms into Store Assistant. All of the tools you need to make shopping fast and easy, such as Walmart Pay, will be right at your fingertips. We’ve also made the product search bar and the scanner easier to find, so you can quickly read reviews, find items in store and double-check prices.

Pretty neat, right? Now, let’s dive into the other new features that are part of Store Assistant:

  1. Smarter, Better Lists: Eighty percent of Walmart customers make a list before coming to the store, so we’ve made list-building within the app more convenient for you – like the ability to enter a custom term like “milk” (in other words, no need to pick an exact item match) and check item stock at your local store. The total cart – plus tax – will now be calculated as you make your list, allowing you to see the cost of your basket before even stepping foot inside the store. Store Assistant makes your list easily accessible, so you can see what aisle the items are located in, as well as cross off and add items as you go.
  2. Improved Store Navigation with Store Maps: We’re creating a map unique to each and every one of our stores – and with over 4,700 of them, this is going to be a real game-changer. These maps will help you find where an item is located, down to the aisle and shelf area. Store Maps is already available for a handful of stores, and we’re rolling it out to the rest of our stores just as fast as we can.
  3. Even More Store Information: You can now easily check whether a store has a department like a Photo Center or Auto Care Center and see department hours and phone numbers. We’ve also taken this a step further by adding other valuable information – such as checking for things like Rug Doctor availability – to make your store shopping even easier.

Of course, these are just the updates we’re launching this week; there’s much more to come. Imagine dropping pins on a store map tied to the location of items on your list, enabling you to plan your route through our stores, or the ability to book services like an oil change in advance. Imagine even smarter lists … maybe so smart that you’ll hardly have to make them!

We’re building a shopping tool unlike any other in retail – and one that makes virtually every element of the store shopping experience faster and more convenient for you. We’re excited about the Walmart app updates we’re launching this week, but we’re even more excited about what’s to come. With the Walmart app, shopping our stores is seamless, easy – and pretty darn cool.

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