In his presentation today, June 3, at the Wal-Mart Stores annual shareholders meeting, Brett Biggs, evp and CFO, said internal investments the company is making are paying off. He also declared that the company’s omnichannel strategy will prove critical to its ability to continue serving consumers in a more diverse retail marketplace.
Biggs, in remarks as presented at the meeting, cited the investments the retailer is making in associate wages, technology and store standards.
He stated that those investments that the company has been making in its Walmart U.S. division “are producing results. Customer scores continue to rise, and we’ve had seven straight quarters of positive comp sales and six straight quarters of positive comp traffic.”
For the company’s omnichannel operations, Biggs said Walmart is setting a foundation for future growth opportunities. Although softness in some international economies, including Brazil and China, have impacted online sales recently, Biggs pointed out that Walmart’s strategy to help customers shop however they want is enhancing future prospects. He pointed out that over the past year, the retailer added state of the art fulfillment centers, introduced a Walmart Pay option and expanded online grocery services to nearly 40 U.S. markets.
As for Walmart international activity, Biggs maintained that the majority of the company’s operating markets delivered positive comp sales for eight consecutive quarters led by performances over the past year at Walmex and in Canada.
The combination of store and online operations is critical to Walmart’s plans to continue building business, Biggs indicated.
“Growth used to be just about building stores and growing comp sales,” he said. “It’s still about that, but it’s also about building apps and websites, a next generation fulfillment network and new services. We’re bringing together great stores with e-commerce capabilities in ways no one else can.”
Biggs said that the efficacy of Wal-Mart’s strategies comes out in numbers such as its generation of more than $27 billion in operating cash flow last year. In addition, he pointed out that last October, the company announced that it expects to grow sales, excluding currency, in a range of $45 to $60 billion over three years.
Wal-Mart plans to continue funding critical investments, Biggs said, for example, “We’re investing over $2.7 billion in wages and training over two years in our U.S. stores and clubs.”