This is my third and final attempt to do my Wal-Mart World
article. Ellen and Loretta have been most patient, but deadlines are deadlines,
and the World has one also. So even though I’ve written several pages
previously, I’d like to start fresh on it today, August 10th.
Specifically, I think it would be fun to think together
about our Wal-Mart partnership, and as always, I’d like to dwell on our people
relationships. And as hard as we try, and overall I think we do well above
average in this department, you and I both know we could all do much better
“if” – so all 55,000 of you partners are invited.
What are our limits? How can we do more for our customers?
How can we do more for our associates? Are we recognizing the real achievers
and productivity gain increases on an individual basis, with proper pay and
recognition rewards? Just a few random thoughts. These subjects should relate
well with all our store associates and the roundtable discussions being held in
each store on how we can do an even better job in all 600 of our Wal-Marts on
improving customer service and saving our customers as much time as possible,
which also translates to saving their money.
Before I go further, let me share with you some amazing
results. I’ve just gotten July’s numbers. July sales and profits were
absolutely fantastic! The best ever in the history of our Company. June, as you
remember, was also a bang-up month as well. For July, we’ll be up about 42% in
sales, and 60% range in profits. This will really give us some kind of an
outstanding 2nd quarter ending July 31st. What a start we
have for this 1983 year! So, my associate partners, congratulations and thanks
to you all for these past six great months. Our profit sharing literally
continues to “go through the roof” and is building a sizable percentage
increase in each of our accounts again this year. (In spite of my annual
prediction that our rate of increase will slow.)
July sales for comparable stores were up about 17% total
company, approximately 42% increase. On such optimistic news with our Wal-Mart
team doing such an outstanding job now from South Carolina, Georgia, Florida,
Alabama, and north and west throughout our Wal-Mart Country, with the totally
best group of new stores we’ve ever added in any one year, why should we be
concerned about doing better? Aren’t we doing enough? Why don’t you relax, Sam
Walton, and we’ll all take a little time to read and believe all the nice
things being written and said about our Wal-Mart Company. There certainly is no
question but what our sales and profits and ROI have been #1 in the retail
industry for the last 5 years plus.
Yes, my friends, I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished,
and you’ve done it. Wal-Mart developed into quite a dominant retailing force through
the years. In fact, I think it’s true we’re one of the finest retail companies
– top to bottom – in the entire world. But as much as we have improved, and as
well as we’re doing, you must know we are right in the middle of the most
competitive business in the world, and in my opinion, our stores are located in
the most competitive regions in the entire U.S.A. Most importantly, our many
good competitors are not being blasé or casual during these times. I see them
all – almost 100% – running the best and most improved customer service
operations ever. They would love to see us become just a little complacent and
a little self-satisfied. Need I say more, my partner-associates? There’ll never ever be a time in this
wonderful free enterprise country of ours where we’ll ever want to, nor can
afford the luxury of coasting. So, as we’ve done so often, let’s once more
“circle our wagons” – maybe run off another batch of our favorite Ozark
Mountain Wal-Mart Brew – resulting in a double dose of Wal-Mart Fever – and
together, take up the current challenges that face us. (Outsiders may not quite
understand that Wal-Mart mystical brew business – non-alcoholic, for sure!)
We can all agree then that we can do better. Especially in
the whole big area of customer service and friendliness, and that’s what we
together need to zero in on. The other main objective in my opinion must be to
continue to see to it that all of us in Wal-Mart Management “truly put the
interest of our associates first” – or that we treat each other with respect
and as true Wal-Mart partners with a future to share. As we’ve said so often –
a true leader must be a real servant always. He who would lead must serve and
If we actually accomplish in a consistent way these two
great and most important objectives – taking care of our associates #1, and
providing our customers with service, friendliness, and the best quality of
merchandise available at the lowest possible prices – a very simple, but
effective formula, we will guarantee our Wal-Mart future for years.
This has developed into a much longer treatise than I had
intended, but let me throw out a few other random thoughts.
1. Participative – creative – interested associates who care
– about says it all, doesn’t it? Let’s don’t lose it, and how can we do it
2. I like Walt Disney’s approach with their customers …
every customer should be treated as a guest. Why not treat every last customer
that enters our store doors next week as a special V.I.P. – an appreciated
guest of our Wal-Mart family? Just as we’d welcome them in our homes. They’ve
chosen our store, so how could we make them feel like guests – part of our
Wal-Mart Family even – and appreciated? How can we do this for our customers in
all of our stores every day?
How does the song go? “We’ve only just begun!” “We’ve only
just begun!” That’s for sure! You’re one great group of partners. You have made
the difference in our Wal-Mart Company.
Let those creative juices flow! Let me encourage you to keep
at least two or three fresh experiments alive in every store and unite within
our Company and keep challenging the past and our traditions! Keep thinking!
Keep enjoying your work! Let’s make it fun! With the right leaders, it will be
fun and good for all of us!
Thanks, my friends, for hearing me out. We’ve all got to get
out into your stores and distribution centers more. Good luck, and keep that
Sam M. Walton
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Tags: Transportation, Associates, Distribution, Commitment, Retail Industry