Wal-Mart CEO outlines priorities at annual investors meeting

Bentonville, Ark. In opening remarks at the company’s 16th annual investors meeting today, Wal-Mart Stores president and CEO Mike Duke said the chain will focus on executing three key priorities -- continuing to have aggressive growth, leveraging global scale and expenses and improving the returns of each operating segment -- to further enhance shareholder value.

“There is no retail competitor -- here in the United States or anywhere in the world -- that can deliver the kind of growth that Walmart can over the next several years,” Duke said.

Duke said he was committed to improving the chain’s expense structure by taking greater advantage of its scale and driving further productivity and efficiency throughout the system.

“Expenses will grow less than sales and Walmart’s entire management team is re-energized to improve in this important metric,” Duke said. “The productivity loop is back at Walmart.”

The CEO said that each operating segment has a long-term plan to improve return on investment, and that it plans to continue to produce significant free cash flow, which will drive its ROI performance and deliver greater shareholder value.

“Growth, leverage and returns throughout the company all lead to greater shareholder value,” he added.

Duke noted that the company’s strong operating performance demonstrates that its strategies are working. He also made clear his drive to succeed and confidence.

“I’m competitive by nature and I want to win. There is no doubt in my mind that Walmart will continue to win in retail around the world,” Duke said.

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