By the time you read this article, you will be in the midst of our busiest season at Wal-Mart. During the past few months, we have all been involved in getting our stores ready for the holiday season. We have been receiving seasonal merchandise since early August...in fact, the earliest we have ever shipped it.
In visiting with many of you, I am well aware of the extra efforts you have made to get your stores ready for the holiday business. Your efforts have really paid off because we have just reported another excellent quarter. Our sales reached $122,000,000, which represented a 41.5%increase over last year. What's so important, our profits were also as good. Earnings per share rose from 21 cents to 26 cents, or up 25%.
This kind of performance is possible only through the cooperation of associates throughout the Company. Our merchandise department, our distribution and warehouse department, and every other division has pulled together to make this year...specifically, the quarter just ended...an accomplishment for which we can all be proud.
Now we need to look ahead. Our number one priority for 1977 in Wal-Mart must be inventory management, or you may know it as turnover or R.O.l.— return on investment. However you term the subject, there's something that every one of us in the Company can do to improve our turns in our stores and distribution centers during 1977. Inventory, by far, is our largest and most important asset. Let's not just be the number one regional discount store company in America...let's be the best at managing our inventories, as well!
Let's begin today to document and plan what each of us can do in our own areas to achieve these goals for 1977. It's unbelievable but true...an improvement of 1/2 turn in 1977 would save our Company almost $5,000,000 in pure net profit, much of which could be dropped into our Profit Sharing. Let's each of us make it happen in 1977. You develop the program individually and collectively and set your goals. I know we can do if together. Let us hear from you.
Again, my friends, I want to thank you all for everything you've done for me personally and for our Wal-Mart Company in 1976. It has been a difficult year in many ways, but certainly your support, your confidence, and your efforts and the results we've obtained in the last eight months are very gratifying. My sincere appreciation to each and every one of you.
Helen and our entire family join me in wishing you and your families a happy Holiday Season and the best New Year ever in 1977!
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