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In remarks offered yesterday at Walmart's annual meeting for members of the investment community, CEO Doug McMillon said that the company is positioning itself to improve on four key customer issues - price, assortment, experience and access, and will continue to invest in new capabilities both in its bricks-and-mortar and online businesses.

Excerpts from his speech:

Re: price… "“At Walmart, we serve value-conscious customers that come from all walks of life and all income levels. Price matters to our customers and it always will. As a company, being a low cost operator is in our DNA. This will never change and we will be the price leader, across a broad assortment, everywhere we operate."

Re: assortment… "“Today, a customer has a desire for more items, more assortment, more choice than ever before,” he continued. “We have tens of millions of customers visiting us weekly online and through our mobile apps looking for information, product options and then buying merchandise from us in stores and online. We’re known for assortment and we will be in the future."

Re: experience… "Experience is about customer service. From our associates in stores to our engineers and data scientists, we’ll invent new ways to surprise and delight customers.”

Re: access… "There is a growing consensus that the future of retail is not just in-store and not just online. The winners in retail will be those that can put them together. Frankly, we think we’re already doing the harder part. Locations matter because convenience matters. We have the stores, the associates, and the expertise in the physical world that others will need to build.”

McMillon went on to say that "in the past, we’ve tended to roll up our plans from markets and segments, but this year we’ve started with an enterprise-wide approach. The internet, mobile, data and technology present opportunities across the world and across our businesses to better serve the changing customer,” he said. “We’ve taken a fresh look at where we want to play – what businesses, markets, formats, and services we need and how to win – what our customer value proposition should be.

"Our strategy will guide our approach to capital discipline. We will change the mix of our capital spend through reductions in areas we have invested in historically to fund investments in new growth opportunities. Specifically, we will moderate the growth of investments in stores, and we will increase our investments in e-commerce."
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