Across the international segment, the company is leveraging best practices, lessons from multiple store formats and global procurement practices. In addition relationships with key global suppliers continue to help leverage volumes across countries.
In the United Kingdom ASDA achieved market growth every month during fiscal year 2008. Despite a tougher economic environment Mexico gained customers for the year. Brazil continues to grow market share as well, especially as it expands the soft discount formats. Canada’s super center expansion helped drive to very strong increases in customer count and average ticket. New store openings and strong comparable store sales led Wal-Mart China to improve its market position. And, in Japan the company concluded the tender offer for Seiyu in December 2007 increasing its ownership to above 95 per cent.
At January 31, 2008 the international segment consisted of retail operations in 12 countries, and Puerto Rico. This segment generated 24.2% of the fiscal 2008 net sales.
The corporate culture of Wal-Mart is one of the biggest contributing factors that make it one of the world’s most admired companies. When Sam Walton founded the company he instilled in his people and his business; a belief system is still very much in place today.
The three guiding principles Sam Walton founded his company upon in 1962 are still the beliefs we follow today. They are fundamental to our success and still just as relevant to our business a when they were first put into practice.
Respect the individual
Our people make the differences is not a meaningful slogan – it’s reality at Wal-Mart. We are a group of dedicated hardworking ordinary people who have teamed up to accomplish extraordinary things. We have very different backgrounds and different beliefs, but we do believe that every individual deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.
Service to our customers
We’re nothing without our customers. We make sure their hard earned dollars further by offering quality merchandise at the lowest prices and with the best customer service possible.
Strive for Excellence
New ideas and goals make us reach further than ever before. We try to find innovative ways to push our boundaries and constantly improve. Sam Walton was never satisfied until the prices were as low as they could be or our products quality was a high as customers deserved. He believed in striving for excellence before it became fashionable.
From the three basic beliefs, to the sundown rule, the organization respects the customers, associates and suppliers and strives to treat them as one would want to be treated.
The 10 foot rule
One of the secrets to customer service is the 10 foot rule, handed down by the founder Walton .During his many store visits, he encouraged associates to take a pledge with him: I want you to promise that whenever you come within 10 feet of a customer, you will look him in the eye, greet him and ask him if you can help him.
This pledge is what is called the 10 foot attitude and it was something Sam and practiced since childhood.
Saturday Morning meeting
Created with a sense of the unpredictable and intended to entertain as well as inform., the Saturday morning meetings lets everyone know what the rest of the company is up to.
The agenda constantly changes, so each meeting has an element of spontaneity. Sometimes it brings associates from the field in to Bentonville to praise them in front of the whole meeting. Other mornings an associate may get a standing ovation as he receives a 20 year service award. On any given Saturday special guests may be invited to promote product launches or just to share insights. The Company has CEOs of other Fortune 500 companies’ musicians’ actors, journalists, authors, athletes politicians and children characters. That kind of unpredictability keeps thing interesting.
But beyond focusing on giving good news entertaining special guests, and having a good times it uses that valuable time to critique of the business. It reviews what could be done better and encourages suggestions about correcting these weaknesses. If the solution is obvious it can order changes right then and carry them out over the weekend, while almost everyone else in retail business is off.