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The Wal-Mart Story
"We're all working together; that's the secret. And we'll lower the cost of living for everyone, not just in America, but we'll give the world an opportunity to see what it's like to save and have a better lifestyle, a better life for all. We're proud of what we've accomplished; we've just begun."
- Sam Walton (1918-1992)
Sam Walton's dream was simple: Give people high value, low prices and a warm welcome. That dream was realized in 1962 with the opening of the first Wal-Mart.
Today, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., employs more than 1.2 million associates worldwide. The company has more than 3,000 stores and offices across the United States and more than 1,000 stores internationally. It has also expanded online with Walmart.com, which is dedicated to bringing Sam Walton's dream to the Internet.
If you ask customers why they return to Wal-Mart again and again, chances are they'll say it's because of more than just the great prices and appealing selection. It's also because of the people, starting with the friendly greeters at the front of every store. Prompt, friendly service is a serious matter at Wal-Mart.
This commitment to people means that we also take seriously our responsibilities as a corporate neighbor. Local Wal-Mart stores have made a difference in their communities by:
A lot has changed since the first Wal-Mart opened, but we continue every day to bring you the highest value at the lowest prices. And you'll always be greeted with a warm welcome, whether you walk through the door of your local Wal-Mart store or turn on your computer to visit us at Walmart.com.
"Sam's establishment of the Walton culture throughout the company was the key to the whole thing. It's just incomparable. He is the greatest businessman of this century."
- Harry Cunningham, founder of Kmart Stores and CEO of S.S. Kresge Co.
Sam Walton changed the landscape of American retailing. How did he do it? By building a culture based on one simple principle: making the customer No. 1. Just below are a few examples of how that principle has been built into the foundation of the Wal-Mart culture. Silicon Valley may be a long way from Bentonville, but the culture Sam built is alive and well at Walmart.com, and we're proud of it.
The secret to our success isn't such
Sam Walton had a way with people. He had a charm and a charisma that made people feel welcome and important.
Sam's people skills can still be felt today through Wal-Mart's associates. When Sam visited his stores, he asked the associates to make a pledge: "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 if you can help him."
This pledge is what we now call our "10-foot attitude." Sam learned the power of this attitude in college while campaigning for class president. "I learned that one of the secrets to leadership was the simplest thing of all: Speak to people coming down the sidewalk before they speak to you.... I would always look ahead and speak to the person coming toward me."
Sam not only won that election, but he also became a leader in other campus organizations and carried his leadership and friendly smile wherever he went.
How do you translate Sam's "10-foot attitude" to a Web site? It starts with striving to build a site that is easy for customers to use. We work every day to bring you a better shopping experience. Our online store will always be a work in progress, but one thing won't change: our commitment to keeping our customers' needs at the top of our priority list.
Don't wait for it to go on sale
"No matter what we pay for it, if we get a great deal, pass it along to the customer."
One of Wal-Mart's first store managers recalled Sam Walton saying these words when the manager suggested raising prices. "Sam wouldn't let us hedge on a price at all," the store manager remembers.
Our pricing philosophy at Walmart.com is the same as it is in Wal-Mart stores. When we get a price break from a supplier, we pass it along to our customers, often in the form of a "Rollback." You'll see lots of Rollback signs on our site, just as you do in any Wal-Mart store. You can be assured that we share Sam's dedication to bringing you a superior assortment of the products you most want, all at Every Day Low Prices.