Walmart Inc. ("Walmart," the "Company" or "we") helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores and through eCommerce. Through innovation, we are striving to create a customer-centric experience that seamlessly integrates our eCommerce and retail stores in an omni-channel offering that saves time for our customers. Each week, we serve nearly 270 million customers who visit our more than 11,700 stores and numerous eCommerce websites under 65 banners in 28 countries.
The Development of Company
Although Walmart was incorporated in Delaware in October 1969, the businesses conducted by our founders began in 1945 when Sam M. Walton opened a franchise Ben Franklin variety store in Newport, Arkansas. In 1946, his brother, James L. Walton, opened a similar store in Versailles, Missouri. Until 1962, our founders' business was devoted entirely to the operation of variety stores. In that year, the first Wal-Mart Discount City, which was a discount store, opened in Rogers, Arkansas. In 1983, we opened our first Sam's Club, and in 1988, we opened our first supercenter. In 1998, we opened our first Neighborhood Market.
In 1991, we began our first international initiative when we entered into a joint venture in Mexico. Since then, our international presence has expanded and, as of January 31, 2018, our Walmart International segment conducted business in 27 countries.
In 2000, we began our first eCommerce initiative by creating walmart.com. That same year, we also created samsclub.com. Since then, our digital presence has continued to grow. In 2007, walmart.com launched its Site to Store service, enabling customers to make a purchase online and pick up merchandise in stores. In 2016, we acquired jet.com in the U.S. and formed a strategic alliance with JD.com in China. Subsequent to the jet.com purchase, we have acquired several other U.S. eCommerce entities. In 2017, walmart.com launched free two-day shipping on more than 2 million items and we created Store No 8, a tech incubator with a focus to drive commerce forward. These eCommerce efforts have led to omni-channel offerings in many markets, including over 1,100 "Online Grocery" pickup locations in the U.S.
The Company is engaged in the operation of retail, wholesale and other units, as well as eCommerce websites, located throughout the U.S., Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Central America, Chile, China, India, Japan, Mexico and the United Kingdom. The Company's operations are conducted in three reportable segments: Walmart U.S., Walmart International and Sam's Club. The Company defines its segments as those operations whose results the chief operating decision maker ("CODM") regularly reviews to analyze performance and allocate resources. The Company sells similar individual products and services in each of its segments. It is impractical to segregate and identify revenues for each of these individual products and services.
Walmart U.S. is our largest segment and operates retail stores in all 50 states in the U.S., Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, with three primary store formats, as well as eCommerce. Walmart U.S. generated approximately 64% of our net sales in fiscal 2018, and of our three segments, Walmart U.S. is the largest and has historically had the highest gross profit as a percentage of net sales ("gross profit rate"). In addition, Walmart U.S. has historically contributed the greatest amount to the Company's net sales and operating income.
Walmart International consists of operations in 27 countries outside of the U.S. and is divided into three major categories: retail, wholesale and other. These categories consist of many formats, including: supercenters, supermarkets, hypermarkets, warehouse clubs (including Sam's Clubs) and cash & carry, as well as eCommerce. Walmart International generated approximately 24% of our fiscal 2018 net sales. The overall gross profit rate for Walmart International is lower than that of Walmart U.S. primarily because of its merchandise mix. Walmart International is our second largest segment.
Sam's Club consists of membership-only warehouse clubs and operates in 44 states in the U.S. and in Puerto Rico, as well as eCommerce. Sam's Club accounted for approximately 12% of our fiscal 2018 net sales. As a membership-only warehouse club, membership income is a significant component of the segment's operating income. Sam's Club operates with a lower gross profit rate and lower operating expenses as a percentage of net sales than our other segments.
The Company measures the results of its segments using, among other measures, each segment's net sales and operating income, which includes certain corporate overhead allocations. From time to time, we revise the measurement of each segment's operating income, including any corporate overhead allocations, as determined by the information regularly reviewed by our CODM. When the measurement of a segment changes, previous period amounts and balances are reclassified to be comparable to the current period's presentation.
Suppliers and Supply Chain
As a retailer and warehouse club operator, we utilize a global supply chain that includes over 100,000 suppliers located around the world, including in the United States, from whom we purchase the merchandise that we sell in our stores, clubs and online. In many instances, we purchase merchandise from producers located near the stores and clubs in which such merchandise will be sold, particularly products in the "fresh" category. Our purchases may represent a significant percentage of a number of our suppliers' annual sales, and the volume of product we acquire from many suppliers allows us to obtain favorable pricing from such suppliers. Our suppliers are subject to standards of conduct, including requirements that they comply with local labor laws, local worker safety laws and other applicable laws. Our ability to acquire from our suppliers the assortment and volume of products we wish to offer to our customer, to receive those products within the required time through our supply chain and to distribute those products to our stores and clubs determines, in part, our in-stock levels in our stores and clubs and the attractiveness of our merchandise assortment we offer to our customers and members.
As of the end of fiscal 2018, Walmart Inc. and our subsidiaries employed approximately 2.3 million employees ("associates") worldwide, with 1.5 million associates in the U.S. and 0.8 million associates internationally. Similar to other retailers, the Company has a large number of part-time, hourly or non-exempt associates. We believe our relationships with our associates are good and are continuing to improve. A large number of associates turn over each year, although Walmart U.S. turnover has been improving in fiscal 2018 as a result of our focus on increasing wages and providing improved tools, technology and training to associates.
In addition to retirement-related benefits, in the U.S., we offer a broad range of Company-paid benefits to our associates. These include a store discount card or Sam's Club membership, bonuses based on Company performance, matching a portion of purchases of our stock by associates through our Associate Stock Purchase Plan and life insurance. In addition to the health-care benefits for eligible full-time and part-time associates in the U.S., as announced in January 2018, we expanded maternity leave and implemented a new paid parental leave program to all full-time associates. We also introduced a $5,000 benefit to assist eligible associates with adoption.
Similarly, in the operations outside the U.S., we provide a variety of associate benefits that vary based on customary local practices and statutory requirements.
Walmart U.S. Segment
The Walmart U.S. segment is a mass merchandiser of consumer products, operating under the "Walmart," "Wal-Mart" and "Walmart Neighborhood Market" brands, as well as walmart.com and other eCommerce brands. The Walmart U.S. segment had net sales of $318.5 billion, $307.8 billion and $298.4 billion for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively. During the most recent fiscal year, no single unit accounted for as much as 1% of total Company consolidated net sales.
Physical. Walmart U.S. operates retail stores in the U.S., including in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, with supercenters in 49 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, discount stores in 41 states and Puerto Rico and Neighborhood Markets and other small store formats in 36 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. The following table provides square footage details on each of our formats as of January 31, 2018:
|Minimum Square Feet||Maximum Square Feet||Average Square Feet|
|Supercenters (general merchandise and grocery)||69,000||260,000||178,000|
|Discount stores (general merchandise and limited grocery)||30,000||206,000||105,000|
|Neighborhood Markets (grocery)||28,000||65,000||42,000|
Digital. Walmart U.S. provides its customers access to a broad assortment of merchandise, including products not found in our physical stores, and services online through our eCommerce family of brands' websites and third party retail partnership channels, as well as through related mobile commerce and voice-activated commerce applications. Our eCommerce family of brands includes walmart.com, jet.com, hayneedle.com, shoes.com, moosejaw.com, modcloth.com and bonobos.com. Walmart.com offers access to nearly 75 million SKUs, including those carried on Marketplace, a feature of the website that permits third parties to sell merchandise on walmart.com. Walmart.com is also integrated with our physical stores through services like "Walmart Pickup," "Pickup Today" and in over 1,100 "Online Grocery" pickup locations to provide an omni-channel offering to our customers. Walmart U.S. also offers access to digital content and services including Vudu.
Merchandise. Walmart U.S. does business in three strategic merchandise units, listed below, across several store formats including supercenters, discount stores, Neighborhood Markets and other small store formats, as well as on our eCommerce websites.
Grocery consists of a full line of grocery items, including meat, produce, natural & organics, deli & bakery, dairy, frozen foods, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, floral and dry grocery, as well as consumables such as health and beauty aids, baby products, household chemicals, paper goods and pet supplies;
Health and wellness includes pharmacy, optical services, clinical services, and over-the-counter drugs and other medical products;
General merchandise includes:
Entertainment (e.g., electronics, cameras and supplies, photo processing services, wireless, movies, music, video games and books);
Hardlines (e.g., stationery, automotive, hardware and paint, sporting goods, outdoor living and horticulture);
Apparel (e.g., apparel for women, girls, men, boys and infants, as well as shoes, jewelry and accessories); and
Home/Seasonal (e.g., home furnishings, housewares and small appliances, bedding, home decor, toys, fabrics and crafts and seasonal merchandise).
Walmart U.S. also offers fuel and financial services and related products, including money orders, prepaid cards, wire transfers, money transfers, check cashing and bill payment. These services total less than 1% of annual net sales.
Brand name merchandise represents a significant portion of the merchandise sold in Walmart U.S. We also market lines of merchandise under our private-label store brands, including: "Adventure Force," "AutoDrive," "BlackWeb," "Equate," "Everstart," "Faded Glory," "George," "Great Value," "Holiday Time," "Hyper Tough," "Kid Connection," "Mainstays," "Marketside," "My Life As," "No Boundaries," "Ol' Roy," "Onn," "Ozark Trail," "Parent's Choice," "Prima Della," "Pure Balance," "Sam's Choice," "Special Kitty," "Spring Valley," "Terra & Sky," "Time and Tru," "Way to Celebrate" and "Wonder Nation." The Company also markets lines of merchandise under licensed brands, some of which include: "Better Homes & Gardens," "Farberware," "Russell" and "SwissTech."
Competition. Walmart U.S. competes with both physical retailers operating discount, department, retail and wholesale grocers, drug, dollar, variety and specialty stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets and supercenter-type stores, and digital retailers, as well as catalog businesses. We also compete with others for desirable sites for new or relocated retail units.
Our ability to develop, open and operate units at the right locations and to deliver a customer-centric omni-channel experience largely determines our competitive position within the retail industry. We employ many programs designed to meet competitive pressures within our industry. These programs include the following:
- EDLP: our pricing philosophy under which we price items at a low price every day so our customers trust that our prices will not change under frequent promotional activity;
EDLC: everyday low cost is our commitment to control expenses so our cost savings can be passed along to our customers;
Rollbacks: our commitment to pass cost savings on to the customer by lowering prices on selected goods;
Savings Catcher, Save Even More and Ad Match: strategies to meet or be below a competitor's advertised price;
Walmart Pickup: customer places order online and picks it up for free from a store. The merchandise is fulfilled through our distribution facilities;
Pickup Today: customer places order online and picks it up at a store within four hours for free. The order is fulfilled through existing store inventory;
Online Grocery: customer places grocery order online and has it delivered to home or picks it up at one of our participating stores or remote locations; and
Money Back Guarantee: our commitment to ensure the quality and freshness of the fruits and vegetables in our stores by offering our customers a 100 percent money-back guarantee if they are not satisfied.
We offer a broad assortment of merchandise that provides one-stop shopping, in-stock levels that give our customers confidence that we will have the products they need and operating hours that allow customers to shop at their convenience. In addition, our eCommerce capabilities, including omni-channel transactions that involve both an eCommerce platform and a physical format, are important factors in our competition with other retailers.
Walmart International Segment
The Walmart International segment consists of operations in 27 countries outside of the U.S. and includes numerous formats divided into three major categories: retail, wholesale and other. These categories, including eCommerce, consist of many formats, including: supercenters, supermarkets, hypermarkets, warehouse clubs (including Sam's Clubs) and cash & carry. The segment's net sales for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016, were $118.1 billion, $116.1 billion and $123.4 billion, respectively, which have been impacted by currency exchange rate fluctuations. During the most recent fiscal year, no single unit accounted for as much as 1% of total Company net sales.
Physical. Walmart International includes physical stores operated by: our wholly-owned subsidiaries operating in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, India, Japan and the United Kingdom; and our majority-owned subsidiaries operating in Africa (which includes Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia), Central America (which includes Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua) and Mexico.
Generally, retail units range in size from 8,900 square feet to 186,000 square feet. Our wholesale stores generally range in size from 35,000 square feet to 185,000 square feet. Other, which includes drugstores and convenience stores operating under various banners in Brazil, Mexico and the United Kingdom, range in size up to 2,400 square feet. Also, on a limited basis, Walmart International operates financial institutions that provide consumer credit.
Unit counts as of January 31, 2018 for Walmart International are summarized by major category for each geographic market as follows:
Digital. Walmart International operates eCommerce websites in numerous countries. Customers have access through our eCommerce websites and, in countries where available, mobile commerce applications to a broad assortment of merchandise and services, both of which vary by country. Our omni-channel offerings include capabilities like "Click & Collect" in the United Kingdom and our grocery pick-up and delivery business in several other markets.
Merchandise. The merchandising strategy for Walmart International is similar to that of our operations in the U.S. in terms of the breadth and scope of merchandise offered for sale. While brand name merchandise accounts for a majority of our sales, we have both leveraged U.S. private brands and developed market specific private brands to serve our customers with high quality, lower priced items. Along with the private brands we market globally, such as "Equate," "George," "Great Value," "Holiday Time," "Mainstays," "Ol' Roy" and "Parent's Choice," our international markets have developed market specific brands including "Aurrera," "Cambridge," "Chosen by You" and "Extra Special." In addition, we have developed relationships with regional and local suppliers in each market to ensure reliable sources of quality merchandise that is equal to national brands at low prices.
Competition. Walmart International competes with both physical retailers who operate department, drug, discount, variety and specialty stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets and supercenter-type stores, wholesale clubs, home-improvement stores, specialty electronics stores, cash & carry operations and convenience stores, and digital retailers, as well as catalog businesses. We also operate, on a limited basis, consumer credit operations. We compete with others for desirable sites for new or relocated units. Our ability to develop, open and operate units at the right locations and to deliver a customer-centric experience that seamlessly integrates digital and physical shopping determines, to a large extent, our competitive position in the markets in which Walmart International operates. We believe price leadership is a critical part of our business model and we continue to focus on moving our markets towards an EDLP approach. Additionally, our ability to operate food departments effectively has a significant impact on our competitive position in the markets where we operate. In the markets in which we have eCommerce websites or mobile commerce applications, those websites and applications help differentiate us from our competitors and help us compete with other retailers for customers and their purchases, both in our digital and physical retail operations.
Sam's Club Segment
The Sam's Club segment operates membership-only warehouse clubs, as well as samsclub.com, in the U.S. and had net sales of $59.2 billion, $57.4 billion and $56.8 billion for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively. During the most recent fiscal year, no single club location accounted for as much as 1% of total Company net sales.
Membership. Beginning in the year ending January 31, 2019 ("fiscal 2019"), Sam's Club simplified the membership program.
Physical. As a membership-only warehouse club, Sam's Club facility sizes generally range between 94,000 and 168,000 square feet, with an average size of approximately 134,000 square feet.
Digital. Sam's Club provides its members access to a broad assortment of merchandise, including products not found in our clubs, and services online at samsclub.com and through our mobile commerce applications. Samsclub.com experiences on average 20.4 million unique visitors a month and offers access to approximately 59,000 SKUs providing the member the option of delivery direct-to-home or to the club through services such as "Club Pickup." Digital retail supports our physical clubs with capabilities like "Scan and Go," a mobile checkout and payment solution, which allows members to bypass the checkout line.
Merchandise. Sam's Club offers merchandise in the following five merchandise categories:
Grocery and consumables includes dairy, meat, bakery, deli, produce, dry, chilled or frozen packaged foods, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, floral, snack foods, candy, other grocery items, health and beauty aids, paper goods, laundry and home care, baby care, pet supplies and other consumable items;
Fuel and other categories consists of gasoline stations, tobacco, tools and power equipment, and tire and battery centers;
Home and apparel includes home improvement, outdoor living, grills, gardening, furniture, apparel, jewelry, housewares, toys, seasonal items, mattresses and small appliances;
Technology, office and entertainment includes electronics, wireless, software, video games, movies, books, music, office supplies, office furniture, photo processing and third-party gift cards; and
Health and wellness includes pharmacy, optical and hearing services and over-the-counter drugs.
Competition. Sam's Club competes with other membership-only warehouse clubs, the largest of which is Costco, as well as with discount retailers, retail and wholesale grocers, general merchandise wholesalers and distributors, gasoline stations as well as digital retailers and catalog businesses. At Sam's Club, we provide value at members-only prices, a quality merchandise assortment, and bulk sizing to serve both our Plus and Club members. Our eCommerce website and mobile commerce applications have increasingly become important factors in our ability to compete with other membership-only warehouse clubs.