Walmart News Now

04/21/2011 - 17:36

Walmart is out with its 2011 Global Responsibility Report, and it is a beast of a document at 106 pages. A lot of those pages contain pretty pictures, such as the cover which shows a young girl in a grassy field pointing skyward to Walmart’s Spark logo, but there is plenty of substance too. The document is also broader in scope than prior iterations, which had a tighter focus on sustainability.

In an introductory message from Walmart president and CEO Mike Duke, he said the name change “reflects the new social and environmental dimensions we have added to our efforts, as well as new data and metrics to track and measure our progress.”

04/21/2011 - 16:53

Walmart’s acquisition of Kosmix will shorten the company’s social media learning curve and open the door for some intriguing new possibilities, even if those possibilities aren’t quite clear just yet.

What is clear is Walmart is intent on being a multichannel operator, and social media is viewed as the new Holy Grail when it comes to engaging with customers. It is an opportunity that Walmart can’t afford to miss, so it did what big companies tend to do when they discover a deficiency in their operations. It went looking for an acquisition to shore up its capabilities and found Kosmix.

So what does Kosmix do?

04/21/2011 - 16:04

The stock buyback binge Walmart has been on for the past few years is positioned as a way for the company to return cash to shareholders, and it is. However, the $25.6 billion (that’s not a typo) spent by Walmart on share repurchases during the past three years has had another effect. It has driven the Walton family’s ownership stake in the company to a record level of 48.18%.

As of March 31, Walton Enterprises LLC, which includes as managing members Alice, Jim and Rob Walton, owned 1,680,506,739 of the company’s 3,487,721,113 outstanding shares, as disclosed in the company’s proxy statement. Just five years ago, Walton Enterprises LLC’s, ownership stake was 40.32% because it held the same number of shares but the number of outstanding shares was much higher at 4,167,369,745 as of March 31, 2006.

04/21/2011 - 15:22

It has become something of a tradition at Walmart’s annual meeting that shareholders are asked to consider a number of proposals, which the board of directors typically recommends shareholders reject. It appears likely that will be the case again this year when the shareholders’ meeting is held on June 3 and five proposals are on the ballot.

04/21/2011 - 13:41

Walmart came in ranked at number 13 out of 20 seafood retailers on a recent report from Greenpeace titled, “Carting Away the Oceans.” It is the fifth year the environmental group has published the report, which examines the retail industry’s seafood practices, and last year Walmart was ranked ninth. None of the companies included in the report are where Greenpeace thinks they should be in terms of sustainability and responsible harvesting practices, but the organization does acknowledge progress is being made.

04/19/2011 - 10:28

A former Walmart VP has joined Campbell Soup as its VP corporate development.

04/15/2011 - 10:27

The timing of Walmart’s new ad campaign couldn’t be better with Easter a week away, and a considerable amount of sales volume associated with that holiday still in play. Walmart should be able to get its share of that spending as the heavy rotation of ads reminds shoppers of its everyday low prices on the broadest assortment in the land and an easy price match guarantee.
The spots should allow the company to capture a larger share of wallet from existing customers and increase traffic at its stores, since Walmart will re-enter the decision set of those who in recent years decided to shop its stores less frequently or defected entirely. Walmart put its customers through a fair amount of turmoil the past few years as it deviated from some of the core principles of its business model in pursuit of Project Impact, and now that some course corrections have been made, the company has gone big with a national ad campaign reminding the nation what it stands for.

04/15/2011 - 10:18

When it comes to speed and accuracy, helpfulness and courtesy, knowledge and personal service, the pharmacy at Walmart ranked dead last in a survey of Consumers Reports subscribers that appears in the May issue of the publication.

04/14/2011 - 14:56

Walmart and Procter & Gamble's Family Movie Night initiative is celebrating one year, and the companies plan to continue their partnership with the addition of five more movies in 2011.

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