Message from Sam Walton
Once more, members of my Wal-Mart Family, it’s my visiting time with you. How this year has sped by. Already the first of December – only two months left of fiscal year 1981. Just doesn’t seem possible. And what a year this has been. As much as we’ve accomplished in the past, and we’ve taken on a number of challenges, this year has to top them all for total overall results and achievement.
We’re returning today from New York where we’ve made presentations to various institutional investors on a $60,000,000 convertible bond offering for Wal-Mart. Hopefully it will be finalized next week. (This stock offering was successfully completed and sold by Merrill Lynch and Stephens and their syndicate of our investment bankers, with our Wal-Mart stock closing at 43 7/8, an all-time high.) Approximately $40,000,000 of this money will be utilized to finance our Big K acquisition and the balance for the continuation of our Wal-Mart expansion program.
These presentations required us to recap and capsule the year’s activities and results. We’ve had a great year, and at this point, it would appear we’ll finish up with the 4th quarter on an equally good note.
So, my friends, I know that you, too, are proud of what all of us in our Wal-Mart Company have accomplished this year. I realize more all the time that our Wal-Mart Partnership is for real, and our associates are really special people – committed, involved and interested partners. Otherwise these “impossibilities” could never be achieved.
Consider these “for starters” in the last ten months:
*Sales – 1.6 billion – up 47% - 9 months (in 1980 our total sales for the year were 1.62 billion).
*Profits – up 41% on same period, including Division 14.
*Acquisition of Big K, representing 106 stores and 4.5 million sq. ft. of space.
*Remodeling and renovating and merchandising 21 of those 106 stores by Dec. 1st.
*Closing of 14 Big K stores.
*All other Big K stores were remodeled and remerchandised in varying degrees and are having strong cumulative increases of 25% or better in these stores. The average sales in our completely remodeled Wal-Marts is running an amazing 2 1/2 times their last year’s numbers. So hat’s off to all our new Division 14 associates. You’re doing one fantastic job for our Wal-Mart company, and it would appear you’re already almost a year ahead of our projections for sales and profits. Let’s keep it going.
*69 new Wal-Marts for 3,500,000 sq. ft.
*Expansion and remodeling of 15 older Wal-Marts for 500,000 sq. ft. as of December 1st.
*Stock is at all-time high of 43 7/8.
*Profit sharing up at least 30% year-to-date.
*On stream with a new Palestine, Texas distribution center that is really coming on strong and doing a tremendous job for us.
*A new Wal-Mart Photo Finishing plant in Texas that will be an excellent facility for us.
All this – and during this time we’ve had the highest same store increase (18%) ever achieved in the history of our Company. All this in the first ten months of 1981. And on and on – what a year for 1981, the first of the 80’s! And in my opinion, the decade of the 80’s will be our Wal-Mart Company’s greatest opportunity – if we will it to be, and work hard enough to achieve it.
So again I say – only Wal-Mart people could have done it! I’m so proud of you all, and hope that we haven’t placed too much strain on our assistant managers or managers and their families, or any other segment or our Wal-Mart associates. I recognize the load has been heavy, but hopefully, through good planning and organizing, we can ease up some in the coming year.
Bird season has started – I’ve hunted about three times and all good hunts. Twice in Texas, once in Missouri. I do miss “Ol’ Roy”, but my two young dogs, Sue and Belle, are doing well and will be excellent bird dogs with further experience and training. As for Roy – he’s left us, but as an epitaph we can say of him, “Gone but not forgotten.” Hopefully, he’ll help us sell many bags and cans of that very fine Ol’ Roy Dog Food through the years. And even though he would occasionally chase a cat or rabbit, and lay down on point once in awhile, he was a real friend, and I do miss the ol’ fella.
Before I close this last message of this year to you, my good friends and associates, I just wish it were possible to walk up to each of you, shake your hand, look you in the eye, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you individually have done to make this the best year we’ve ever known in Wal0Mart. Such a great job is being done throughout our Company by our associates at all levels. You’ll just have to know those of us here in Bentonville recognize your dedication, your talents, your importance, and your creative efforts, even though we don’t get to personally tell you so as we’d like to.
We have so much to be thankful for. At this Christmas Season, let us be especially appreciative of our families and friends who support us so completely through the year. And also let those of us who can, share and help others less fortunate than ourselves in every way possible.
So in closing – Helen and I and our family wish all of you and your families the very best of Christmas Season ever and much good health and happiness for the New Year and the years to come.
Again, my friends, my sincere appreciation for 1981. It was our best – thanks to you!