Fourteen-thousand shareholders and associates from across the United States and around the world converged in Northwest Arkansas to take part in Walmart’s 41st annual shareholders’ meeting, which featured Will Smith and the Black Eyed Peas.
In the weeks leading up to the June 3, 2011 Walmart Shareholders’ Meeting, Northwest Arkansas was filled with concerts and buses transporting attendees to various sites, including the one-of-a-kind Walmart on Campus. The newly renovated Walmart Visitor Center also re-opened in time for the meeting.
The annual shareholders’ meeting was held on the campus of the University of Arkansas with most events, including Friday’s meeting itself, taking place in Bud Walton Arena.
The Gardens area and parking lots south of Bud Walton Arena were cordoned-off to make way for what was in essence a festive, and large, block-party for meeting attendees.
In the lead-up to the actual meeting, free concerts were held in Walton Arena featuring Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum on May 31 and Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band on June 1.
2011 Walmart Shareholders' Meeting. Bud Walton Arena. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark.
Friday’s meeting, as described by NWAonline, “was part entertainment, part business and part pep rally interspersed with multimedia presentations showing how Walmart associates made a difference in the lives of people in their communities.”
Actor Will Smith emceed the meeting and there were performances by Scotty McCreery, a recent American Idol winner, The Canadian Tenors, and Alicia Keys. According to NWAonline, “Walton Arena exploded when Keys came to stage and performed two soulful numbers at the piano.”
In between performances by award-winning artists, some business was conducted. As seen in the video above, Walmart executives summarized the company’s priorities: New Customers, Low Prices, Global Online Sales, Company Talent, and Sustainability.
In a press release from Walmart, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. President and CEO Mike Duke phrased the priorities slightly differently. Duke defined the first priority, growth, as “growth in sales, growth in the number of customers, and growth through new stores and acquisitions.” The second priority is “EDLP (Everyday Low Prices) and EDLC (Everyday Low Costs).” Third on the list is E-Commerce. Duke said, “We can combine our stores, our systems, and our logistics expertise into one continuous channel to drive growth and serve the Next Generation Customer around the world. In global e-commerce, we will not just be competing. We will play to win.”
Regarding the fourth priority, talent, Duke said, “We have to be more intentional about developing talented leaders, managers and associates around the world. That means better training and greater opportunity for our store associates. And it means thinking globally and building teams that reflect today’s world.”
Wal-Mart Home Office, Bentonville, Ark.
The fifth priority involves the second half of the company’s mission: ‘Save Money. Live Better.” According to Duke, “Anyone who has paid attention over the past year -- to our work on healthy foods, fighting hunger or sustainable agriculture -- knows we have a model that works and momentum behind it. We must continue to broaden and accelerate our work to make a difference on big issues.”
As part of its emphasis on growth, shoppers can expect to see Walmart Express stores popping up in both rural and urban areas. Walmart Express is a smaller version of the Neighborhood Market grocery store, and urban versions are being tested in Chicago while rural versions are tested in Arkansas and North Carolina.
The shareholders’ meeting concluded with the capacity crowd on its feet enjoying a three-song set performed by the Black Eyed Peas.
Currently, Walmart Stores, Inc. has retail stores in 15 countries and employs more than two million associates.
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