Message from Sam Walton
1978 rolls on! Our September results were much better than we had hoped for. Our sales were on budget with $68,134,000 - up 31.4 percent, while profits were up in the 40 percent range - which gives us an excellent start on the third quarter with August and September both strong.
Thus far, October appears to be about on plan, with sales progressively becoming harder to come by, and expenses, in turn, becoming more difficult to control. However, I'm rather confident we have the momentum now to finish up 1978 in good shape and roll into 1979 - our billion dollar year - with not only great anticipation on the part of all our Wal-Mart associates, but with excellent management talent in place at all levels within our Company.
I recently was quoted in New York as saying, "I've never felt better about the overall condition of our Company and our direction." And I stand with that statement 100 percent. We all realize that we have an exceptional load to overcome this last quarter with a 10 percent prime interest rate, and our seasonal inventories are quite heavy right now, as Mr. Folkerts and Mr. Glass remind us; as well as a buildup of 14 more new stores opening in the next 60 days - with the accompanying heavy store opening expense.
But even so, folks, inside or outside Wal-Mart, don't bet against this Wal-Mart team. We'll get it done, and done well! ...all 16,000 of us, and 1978 looks good for us as of now.
Let me take just a few moments of your time to philosophize on "attitude" and why it is so important for all of us in Wal-Mart. Our performance depends mostly on our attitude - what we think about our work and how we feel toward our job, our supervisor and our Company. Why is this so? Why is our attitude so important? And why do most firms find on most jobs that a positive attitude can be even more important, for example, than a person's ability, knowledge, or experience.
I personally subscribe to this philosophy 100 percent. I've seen many of our good Wal-Mart folks over the last 18 years with average ability achieve tremendous success due to a positive attitude and unusual dedication.
The reason is simple - our attitude determines how much we accomplish with our ability and how well we use the knowledge we possess. In short, our ATTITUDE is the biggest single factor which affects our job performance.
Studies show that our attitude in the following key areas is usually the biggest factor between success and failure:
1. Dependability - holding up our end of things by coming in to work every day, on time.
2. Doing top quality work – boosting sales by giving our Wal-Mart customers their money's worth; eliminating errors and mistakes.
3. Being productive - building a reputation as a fast and efficient worker, who recognizes how important it is in this tight economy for our company to out-perform the TG&Ys, K-Marts, Howards and Magic Marts.
4. Cutting costs - doing our part to hold down today's constantly climbing operating expenses and eliminating all waste to keep our company healthy and profitable.
5. Teamwork - cooperating in a pleasant and friendly manner with our managers, supervisors and co-workers to get the job done.
6. Showing initiative - thinking up new ideas and suggestions for job improvement, and always being willing to try a better, faster, or more economical way to do our work.
The secret of success is very simple, and I think it's been used quite extensively in Wal-Mart - "Develop a positive attitude!" You'll be glad you did, and so will our Wal-Mart Company. Thanks for all you're doing to keep Wal-Mart one of the best retail companies in America. Remember - a positive attitude always pays off. And a further suggestion if you're having trouble developing that positive attitude - try sitting down and talking about it with your immediate supervisor at once, or someone else in management. Let's exercise the privilege of our Wal-Mart open door policy. Good luck! Let's let our POSITIVE ATTITUDE show in Wal-Mart!