What a truth, and certainly that must be the principal difference in Wal-Mart and the many other retail companies who constantly ask "What is it that has made Wal-Mart one of the outstanding retail companies in America for the past 10 years?" My answer, as always, is – our people, their dedication, their pride, their enthusiasm, and their participation and commitment to our total program.
What a tremendous group of folks! As I've said on numerous occasions, I wish I could get out and visit with all of you more, - both here in Bentonville and Searcy, as well as in the stores. I always come away with a positive feeling about our Company and our future after my visits with you. "It's better than taking medicine" has been my expression.
My visits still go on throughout the Company, but we really have become a large Company within the last 10 years when I realize we now have over 16 000 associates and some 228 Wal-Mart stores after getting our great new store, Harrisburg, Illinois open last week. So the numbers partially prevent my getting around as often as I'd like. But I must admit, too, that the bird season (quail) has just opened, and as usual, Roy, Jill and a new pup, Sue and I have been hunting some of late and hope to continue occasionally through January. Our third quarter was the best comparative quarter we've had in sometime. It really came out much better than I had expected. We were up totally 29 percent in sales and 38 percent in profits, and certainly had the best third quarter ever in the history of the Company. We're now well on our way to wrapping up the year, and from all appearances now, we've got a good shot at reaching our November sales goals and completing the most outstanding year ever for our Wal-Mart Company.
Throughout our Company, all 16,000 of our Wal-Mart associates have been sitting down with each other to set our objectives and goals, both individually and corporately, for 1979 and beyond. It's a good exercise and one that is most beneficial for us all. We get some of our best ideas and directions from your suggestions. Let's don't ever forget –Wal-Mart is a partnership. We're in this thing together. It's ours. We're all part of one fine Company, and we have some future together as partners if we continue to work with and for one another!
In thinking about 1979 and our corporate objectives, I'd like to share with you two or three thoughts:
1. Our first priority must always be a continuing commitment to providing our customers with the lowest possible everyday prices on name brand quality merchandise. We must stress that our prices be lower than our competitors or anybody else's prices. And how can this be done? By being totally more efficient, more productive, better trained harder working and committed than our competitors. It simply means that in order to have the lowest prices, we - all of us have to do a better job in every respect than do our counterparts in this business meaning the K-Marts, TG&Ys, Targets, Gibsons or whichever. Quite an order, but I'm confident we can and will do it.
2. Secondly, and equally important in our Wal-Mart formula is a total commitment from all of us in management to continue to share the profits of our Company with our associates in every way possible, and this, I'm sure you'll all agree, we are doing. This is a very important plank in our platform.
So as we enter 1979 - a year that will see our small Wal-Mart Company of ten years ago become a billion dollar retail giant let's not forget from "whence we came' and the fundamental basics that brought us here.
Let me repeat once more - we're a People-Company. "Our associates make the difference." Our determination must be 100 percent to sell quality merchandise only at the lowest prices in our markets. To do this our expenses must be lower than our competitors, and our productivity must be higher. We want our customers to say: "Wal-Mart's my store. They save me money, and their people are more friendly." That’s what it's all about, and out of our recent meetings, I'm sure we'l1 have some excellent suggestions and programs that will enable Wal-Mart to remain the number one retailer in our marketing regions for years to come! So here’s to Wal-Mart, the partnership. The future is ours as long as we remain truly partners in the years ahead.
Thanksgiving and the Christmas Season is upon us once more, and we all have so much to be thankful for. Let me take this opportunity from Helen and I to wish you all, your families, and your loved ones, the very best Thanksgiving and Holiday Season ever. Your warm friendship and support through the years has meant so much to me and my entire family
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1978 rolls on! Our September results were much better...