Saturday, 9 February 2019

Walmart Corporate affairs

Walmart is headquartered in the Walmart Home Office complex in Bentonville, Arkansas. The company's business model is based on selling a wide variety of general merchandise at low prices. Doug McMillon became Walmart's CEO on February 1, 2014. He has also worked as the head of Sam's Club and Walmart International. The company refers to its employees as "associates". All Walmart stores in the U.S. and Canada also have designated "greeters" at the entrance, a practice pioneered by Sam Walton and later imitated by other retailers. Greeters are trained to help shoppers find what they want and answer their questions.


For many years, associates were identified in the store by their signature blue vest, but this practice was discontinued in June 2007 and replaced with khaki pants and polo shirts. The wardrobe change was part of a larger corporate overhaul to increase sales and rejuvenate the company's stock price. In September 2014, the uniform was again updated to bring back a vest (paid for by the company) for store employees over the same polos and khaki or black pants paid for by the employee. The vest is navy blue for Walmart employees at Supercenters and discount stores, lime green for Walmart Neighborhood Market employees and yellow for self check out associates; door greeters and customer service managers. Both state "Proud Walmart Associate" on the left breast and the "Spark" logo covering the back. Reportedly one of the main reasons the vest was reintroduced was that some customers had trouble identifying employees. In 2016, self-checkout associates, door greeters and customer service managers began wearing a yellow vest to be better seen by customers. By requiring employees to wear uniforms that are made up of standard "street wear", Walmart is not required to purchase or reimbursement employees which is required in some states, as long as that clothing can be worn elsewhere. Businesses are only legally required to pay for branded shirts and pants or clothes that would be difficult to wear outside of work.
Unlike many other retailers, Walmart does not charge slotting fees to suppliers for their products to appear in the store. Instead, it focuses on selling more-popular products and provides incentives for store managers to drop unpopular products.
On September 14, 2006, the company announced that it would phase out its layaway program, citing declining use and increased costs. Layaway ceased on November 19, 2006, and required merchandise pickup by December 8, 2006. Walmart now focuses on other payment options, such as increased use of six- and twelve-month, zero-interest financing. The layaway location in most stores is now used for Walmart's Site-To-Store program, which was introduced in March 2007. This enables walmart.com customers to buy goods online with a free shipping option, and have goods shipped to the nearest store for pickup. Walmart continues to offer seasonal Layaway on select categories from late summer through early Christmas and year-round in their jewelry department.
On September 15, 2017, Walmart announced that it would build a new headquarters in Bentonville to replace its current 1971 building and consolidate operations that have spread out to 20 different buildings throughout Bentonville.

Finance and governance

For the fiscal year ending January 31, 2015, Walmart reported net income of US$17 billion on $485.7 billion of revenue. The company's international operations accounted for $197.7 billion, or 40.7 percent, of sales. Walmart is the world's 18th-largest public corporation, according to the Forbes Global 2000 list, and the largest public corporation when ranked by revenue.
Walmart is governed by a fifteen-member board of directors elected annually by shareholders. Gregory B. Penner, son-in-law of S. Robson Walton and the grandson-in-law of Sam Walton, serves as chairman of the board. Doug McMillon serves as president and chief executive officer. Members of the board include Aída Álvarez, Jim Breyer, M. Michele Burns, James Cash, Roger Corbett, Douglas Daft, David Glass, Marissa Mayer, Allen Questrom, Arne M. Sorenson, Jim Walton, S. Robson Walton, Christopher J. Williams, and Linda S. Wolf.
Notable former members of the board include Hillary Clinton (1985–1992) and Tom Coughlin (2003–2004), the latter having served as vice chairman. Clinton left the board before the 1992 U.S. presidential election, and Coughlin left in December 2005 after pleading guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Walmart. On August 11, 2006, he was sentenced to 27 months' home confinement and five years of probation, and ordered to pay $411,000 in restitution.
After Sam Walton's death in 1992, Don Soderquist, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice Chairman, became known as the "Keeper of the Culture".

Ownership

Walmart Inc. is a joint-stock company registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. As of March 2017, it has 3,292,377,090 outstanding shares. These are held mainly by the Walton family, a number of institutions and funds.
  • 43.00% (1,415,891,131): Walton Enterprises LLC
  • 5.30% (174,563,205): Walton Family Holdings Trust
  • 3.32% (102,036,399): The Vanguard Group, Inc
  • 2.37% (72,714,226): State Street Corporation
  • 1.37% (42,171,892): BlackRock Institutional Trust Company
  • 0.94% (28,831,721): Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund
  • 0.77% (23,614,578): BlackRock Fund Advisors
  • 0.71% (21,769,126): Dodge & Cox Inc
  • 0.68% (20,978,727): Vanguard 500 Index Fund
  • 0.65% (20,125,838): Bank of America Corporation
  • 0.57% (17,571,058): Bank of New York Mellon Corporation
  • 0.57% (17,556,128): Northern Trust Corporation
  • 0.55% (16,818,165): Vanguard Institutional Index Fund-Institutional Index Fund
  • 0.55% (16,800,850): State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co
  • 0.52% (15,989,827): SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust

Competition

In North America, Walmart's primary competitors include grocery stores and department stores like Aldi, Kmart, Kroger, Ingles, Publix, Target, Harris Teeter, Shopko, and Meijer, and Winn Dixie, Canada's The Real Canadian Superstore, Sobeys and Giant Tiger, and Mexico's Comercial Mexicana and Soriana. Competitors of Walmart's Sam's Club division are Costco and the smaller BJ's Wholesale Club chain. Walmart's move into the grocery business in the late 1990s set it against major supermarket chains in both the United States and Canada. Several smaller retailers, primarily dollar stores, such as Family Dollar and Dollar General, have been able to find a small niche market and compete successfully against Walmart. In 2004, Walmart responded by testing its own dollar store concept, a subsection of some stores called "Pennies-n-Cents."
Walmart also had to face fierce competition in some foreign markets. For example, in Germany it had captured just 2 percent of the German food market following its entry into the market in 1997 and remained "a secondary player" behind Aldi with 19 percent. Walmart continues to do well in the UK, where its Asda subsidiary is the second-largest retailer.
In May 2006, after entering the South Korean market in 1998, Walmart sold all 16 of its South Korean outlets to Shinsegae, a local retailer, for US$882 million. Shinsegae re-branded the Walmarts as E-mart stores.
Walmart struggled to export its brand elsewhere as it rigidly tried to reproduce its model overseas. In China, Walmart hopes to succeed by adapting and doing things preferable to Chinese citizens. For example, it found that Chinese consumers preferred to select their own live fish and seafood; stores began displaying the meat uncovered and installed fish tanks, leading to higher sales.

Customer base

Walmart customers cite low prices as the most important reason for shopping there. The average U.S. Walmart customer's income is below the national average. A 2006 Walmart report also indicated that Walmart customers are sensitive to higher utility costs and gas prices. A poll indicated that after the 2004 US presidential election, 76 percent of voters who shopped at Walmart once a week voted for George W. Bush while only 23 percent supported senator John Kerry. When measured against similar retailers in the U.S., frequent Walmart shoppers were rated the most politically conservative. Thus, as of 2014, the "majority (54 percent) [of] Americans who prefer shopping at Walmart report that they oppose same-sex marriage, while 40 percent are in favor of it."
Due to its prominence in the Bible Belt, Walmart is known for its "tradition of tailoring its service to churchgoing customers". Walmart only carries clean versions of hip-hop audio CDs and in cooperation with The Timothy Plan, places "plastic sheathes over suggestive women's periodicals and banned 'lad mags' such as Maxim" magazine. In addition, Walmart also caters to its Christian customer base by selling Christian books and media, "such as VeggieTales videos and The Purpose-Driven Life", which earns the company over US$1 billion annually.
In 2006, Walmart took steps to expand its U.S. customer base, announcing a modification in its U.S. stores from a "one-size-fits-all" merchandising strategy to one designed to "reflect each of six demographic groups—African-Americans, the affluent, empty-nesters, Hispanics, suburbanites, and rural residents." Around six months later, it unveiled a new slogan: "Saving people money so they can live better lives". This reflects the three main groups into which Walmart categorizes its 200 million customers: "brand aspirationals" (people with low incomes who are obsessed with big name brands), "price-sensitive affluents" (wealthier shoppers who love deals), and "value-price shoppers" (people who like low prices and cannot afford much more). Walmart has also made steps to appeal to more liberal customers, for example, by rejecting the American Family Association's recommendations and carrying the DVD Brokeback Mountain, a love story between two gay cowboys in Wyoming.

Technology Open source software

Many Walmart technology projects are coded in the open and available through the Walmart Labs GitHub repository as Open Source software under the OSI approved Apache V2.0 license. As of November 2016, 141 public Github projects are listed.
During a migration of the walmart.com retail platform to Facebook React and Node.js, the Electrode project was created to power the e-commerce platform which serves 80 million visitors per month and 15 million items.
Electrode provides various developer enhancements and tools for the developer including Node.js configuration and feature management.
Alex Grigoryan of Walmart Labs released a statement on Medium.com on October 3, 2016 explaining the details of the applications and the scale that they operate at Walmart.

Big data analytics

As the largest retailer in the U.S., Walmart collects and analyzes a large amount of consumer data. The big data sets are mined for use in predictive analytics, which allow the company to optimize operations by predicting customer's habits. Walmart's datacenter is unofficially referred to as Area 71.
In April 2011, Walmart acquired Kosmix to develop software for analyzing real-time data streams. In August 2012, Walmart announced its Polaris search engine.
The amount of data gathered by Walmart has raised privacy concerns.

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