Message from Sam Walton
On this early Tuesday morning, July 16th, I’m just before leaving for two new Wal-Marts that are having their Grand Openings today?Hutchinson, Kansas and McCook, Nebraska. Just hope that old Navajo airplane and myself can find McCook far out west in Nebraska, as I’ve never been before.
Also on schedule and ready are these new Wal-Marts?all over our Wal-Mart country for Grand Opening?Jackson, KY; Marble Falls, TX; Okeechobee, FL; Arcadia, FL; Dumas, TX; Alice, TX; and our first entry into the state of Wisconsin?Monroe. Congratulations to all you new associates on the great job you’ve done in getting ready for your Grand Openings. According to our wonderful Store Opening crews and management, you’ve all done a super job in your first major assignments with Wal-Mart. Welcome to our Wal-Mart Family. Just wish I could get into all these new ones to meet you and thank you personally for your efforts.
Also, besides these nine new ones opening today, since February 1st, our Wal-Mart Company has Grand Opened some 76 expanded, remodeled, or new stores. Quite a record, and one that we can all be mighty proud of. I suspect we’re about half through for the year of 1985, with almost that many ahead of us.
Two weeks ago, July 2nd, was almost a record, or may have been. I know we’ve never before opened seven stores in one state in one day?New Mexico?and they were terrific openings?some of the best we’ve ever had?five in Albuquerque, one in Farmington, and one in Santa Fe. Then the same day some 12 other new Wal-Marts hit the street in various areas of our Wal-Mart Country and they, too, are looking like winners to date.
What a job Duane Naccarato, Jim Bewley, Mike Villines, and our entire team of Store Opening associates are doing for us. I’m sure all of you appreciate what they’re doing for our Company and our futures as much as I do. They’ve got a tough, demanding program with all kinds of obstacles and problems to deal with. But their attitude is always positive, 100% we can do it, and we will. And they do it well and with maximum enthusiasm and effectiveness. Quite a crew and team. Hat’s off, my friends, to all of you from all of your associate partners throughout Wal-Mart!
So that brings me, my good friends, to almost 5 A.M. on this Tuesday morning, and I’m soon going to have to crank up that Navajo and get started to that Hutchinston, Kansas Grand Opening.
Before I leave you, let me share with you my “feel” for our Wal-Mart Company at the moment. As you may know, our sales have flattened out in June, with June sales being up about 1% in comparable stores?the lowest we’ve had in at least the last ten years. However, due to all your efforts throughout our Company, even with a new distribution center in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, we contained our expenses so well that our profit equaled last year’s on a percentage basis, and that in itself is some accomplishment. I’m so proud of you all, and frankly, after our district managers meeting just concluded here in Bentonville, knowing the various things that are being planned and put in motion throughout our Company in all of your wonderful stores, I’m bullish on Wal-Mart and particularly, the balance of 1985. I’m even optimistic once more on this second quarter, as July sales are looking up, inventories are below budgets, and it appears our markdowns are running less than last year at this time.
Also, and most importantly, I hear great things about your aggressive hospitality programs for our customers. I received a letter from a tourist and his wife from Wisconsin last night. He couldn’t believe the way he was welcomed and treated in one of our stores in this area. He just had to on purpose go to another Wal-Mart nearby to see if it was an “accident.” To his surprise and appreciation, he was greeted and welcomed and appreciated even more so in our second store. He took the time to commend us and our associates for going over and above. And that’s what it’s all about, and why the button I’m wearing this morning is so right. “Our People Make the Difference.” I feel good about where we are generally as a Company. It won’t be easy in that third and fourth quarter but knowing what we’re all doing and our determination to serve our customers the best, I’m looking for a great second half. It may be so good that you’ll just force me to gather up my dogs and go bird hunting come October.
Thanks for everything, and please excuse some of these early morning ramblings.