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In tandem with a pledge to continue pursuing aggressive growth, leveraging global scale and expenses, and improving the returns of each operating segment to further enhance shareholder value during the 16th annual Meeting for the Investment Community, top leaders from Walmart yesterday announced a plan to offer deep-savings events and new everyday low prices weekly on thousands of items, effective immediately through the holiday period.
“Many of these prices represent the lowest we’ve offered in years, because we know these are tough times for American families,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.’s vice chairman. “We made a purposeful decision to focus initially on everyday staples as well as items that often require larger spending commitments in preparation for Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
Several grocery items headline the retailer’s new lower prices, including rolls of 73 percent lean ground beef at $1.25 per pound (26 percent savings), bananas at 39 cents per pound (27 percent savings), and Spring Valley 500-milligram chewable vitamin C tablets (60-count) at $2 (60 percent savings).
“America is depending on Walmart to make the holidays affordable, and we are responding with a selection of stunning price reductions,” said John Fleming, Walmart U.S. chief merchandising officer. “We sell items for every holiday purchase occasion, so we’re perfectly positioned to help -- from quality food for holiday meals, to preparing the home for guests, to the toys under the tree.”
While, according to recent price audits, Walmart’s prices for frequently purchased grocery items averaged at least 14 percent less than the leading national supermarkets on the same items, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer said its customer satisfaction scores are at an all-time high as a result of operational improvements it’s made through an aggressive remodeling program across its U.S. fleet of stores and faster service at checkout.
During his presentation at the investor event on Wednesday, Mike Duke, Wal-Mart Stores’ president and CEO, declared: “There is no retail competitor -- here in the United States or anywhere in the world -- that can deliver the kind of growth that Walmart can over the next several years. Expenses will grow less than sales, and Walmart’s entire management team is re-energized to improve in this important metric,” added Duke, noting, “The productivity loop is back at Walmart.”
In addition to committing to improving the retailer’s expense structure by taking greater advantage of the company’s scale and driving further productivity and efficiency throughout the system, Duke said the company’s long-term return-on-investment plan will produce favorable impacts on each operating segment. “We plan to continue to produce significant free cash flow, which will drive our ROI performance and deliver greater shareholder value.”
Duke said the company’s strong operating performance demonstrates that its strategies are working, inclusive of the world’s largest retailer’s focus on delivering its core mission to “[save] people money so they can live better.”
With more than 8,000 retail units under 53 different banners in 15 countries, Walmart rang up $401 billion in fiscal year 2009 sales.