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Walmart CEO Promises Multichannel Prowess At Meeting


Walmart is
well-positioned to compete in a multichannel
world of in-store, online and
mobile commerce, president/CEO
Mike Duke told attendees at the company’s
annual meeting here earlier this

Duke, who has come under fire for
Walmart’s modest financial performance
and weak U.S. comp-store
sales, outlined five corporate imperatives
to win over “the next-generation
customer,” including growth, everyday
low costs and prices, e-commerce competitiveness,
developing a global talent
pool, and improving people lives by
making healthier foods more affordable.

Duke noted that the next-generation
customer is “connected to the world
through smartphones and social media
… They’re in charge of when they shop
and how they shop, and they know who
has the lowest prices.

“With our stores and low prices,” he
said, “we can really take advantage of
mobile technology and this era of price
transparency. We can combine our
stores, our systems and our logistics
expertise into one continuous channel
to drive growth and serve the next generation
customer around the world.”

Walmart also used the opportunity of
the annual meeting to debut its first mini
Express Store, in rural Gentry, Ark., and
to approve plans to repurchase upwards
of $15 billion in Walmart shares. The
buyback would further consolidate the
founding Walton family’s control over
the company by giving them a greater
than 50 percent ownership position.

As per tradition, the shareholders’
event was held here at the University of
Arkansas’ Bud Walton Arena, and featured
a mix of management speeches,
pep-rally montages and big-name entertainment.

The latter included actor Will Smith
who served as host, and performances
by singer-songwriter Alicia Keyes and
hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas, which
thanked Walmart for being one of the
few retailers to still stock CDs.