Message from Sam Walton
Greetings, my friends!
Another month and another quarter has rolled around on the Thursday morning, the 14th of August, 1980. I’m flying en-route to Vivian, Louisiana to visit with our associates there, and hopefully, will get on over to Minden and then see the beautifully remolded store at Ruston. I hear those folks did one great job on their remodeling. Certainly their sales have been tremendous ever since.
Our July results were outstanding, as was the performance for our second quarter. July was up in sales about 29%, with profits in the range of 32% improved FIFO basis. For the quarter, we should be up about 30% in sales and about 32% in profit, which is exceptional performance for the economic climate that we’ve been in. No other general merchandise retailer in America has come anywhere near these numbers. You’re really making a believer out of me, as well as many others. Wal-Mart is No. 1 and I’m convinced we’ll maintain that position throughout the 80’s. Our people have, and do, make a difference!
What about that Wal-Mart stock? Closing today at 49 3/8 for an all-time high. We’ve had an unbelievable strong market and demand for our stock from individuals and various financial institutions from all over the world. It’s all a result of the recognition that our Company is an exceptional organization with an unparalleled opportunity for the future. We know it’s so. Today, many others believe also! I just hope – most of you that can, are buying a few Wal-Mart shares as we go. Certainly our Profit Sharing will be greatly improved, and we should all be most pleased with our profit sharing trust account by year-end 1980.
We’re frequently asked about our prospects for these six months. I’d say at this point that our prospects continue to be good. Our sales trend thus far in August continues strong, with at least a 13% increase in same stores. Our low everyday pricing program and the clean friendly stores you fine associates provide for our customers continue to expand our market share in each of our trade territories.
Also, our associates in our new Searcy and Bentonville Distribution Centers continue to improve daily, which allows us to keep a better in-stock position for our customers. We’ll play our inventories on the conservative side, but overall I’m confident we’ll wind up 1980 about on budget with another great record-breaking year for Wal-Mart. Together we hold the key as always.
I must tell you about Ol’ Roy, my English Setter bird dog. Incidentally, we’re coming out with a new brand of dog food called “Ol’ Roy” with his picture (on actual point) on the can. Roy and I would appreciate a little extra attention in promoting his special blend. Thanks. (He really does “gulp” it down!)
Anyway – he really got himself in a predicament last week – almost humorous – but I’m sure not to him! My grandson, Sam, was setting some fish hooked with liver to catch turtles in the pond beside our house. Roy, who is about half Water Spaniel, swims around the pond after the bull frogs constantly – (he’s really a mixed up bird dog!) apparently smelled the liver – went under water for the morsel, and of course got the fish hook through his tongue. So instead of a turtle, we caught Ol’ Roy! Helen finally got him to the vet where they put him to sleep and removed the hook. Seemingly, he’s no worse for the experience, but I suspect he’ll no longer be interested in liver!!!
One last subject – these Twelve Qualities of a Good Leader should be emphasized for all of us, and especially for those in a supervisory or management position. I would suggest you read them slowly – think on each one – then cut it out and carry in your purse or billfold for an occasional reference (like every day!). I’m convinced about 98% of our problems would disappear if we’d all apply these 12 principles of leadership.
Twelve Qualities of a Good Leader
1. Sets a good example.
2. Gets results through other people.
3. Treats everyone as an individual. Lets them know they are important.
4. Suggests or requests rather than commands.
5. Asks questions before reprimanding. Criticizes in private.
6. Leads rather than bosses.
7. Gives credit where credit is due.
8. Welcomes suggestions for improvement.
9. Explains why. Lets people know in advance about changes that affect them.
10. Lets people know how they stand. Suggests ways to improve.
11. Praises good performance rather than criticizing the bad.
12. Keeps all promises.
That’s enough for one session.
The next six months will be most challenging and interesting.