Strategic Management and Walmart

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Founded by Sam Walton in 1962, Walmart has grown tremendously, enabling it to become one of the largest companies in the world. With more than 8,416 stores in 15 countries, close to $401 billion in sales and over 2.1 million employees; it is clear that has been extremely successful at expanding its operations and expansion plans for over 300 new stores in the U.S and approximately 150 international stores in pre-existing markets (Walmart, 2010). Despite this success, Walmart must take into consideration increasing competition. As the domestic market reaches saturation, the main issue facing Walmart is how to sustain its extraordinary growth. To ensure that it maintain its growth at a rate equal to or better that its sales, it will have to implement a strategic plan that address internal and external opportunities and threats. Lastly, I will perform a SWOT analysis of the company’s strengths and weaknesses opportunities and threats. History:

Walmart is a general merchandise discount retailer, which was incorporated in 1962. Walmart’s history is based on Sam Walton, who changed the way retail business is conducted. Sam Walton first entered retailing when he was a management trainee at J.C. Penny Co. in 1940 in Des Moines, Iowa (Walmart, 2010). After serving in the Army in World War II, Walton acquired a Ben Franklin variety store franchise with his brother James Walton in Newport Arkansas, until they lost the lease to the store in 1950. By 1962, the first Walmart Discount City was opened in Rogers Arkansas. Limited pricing, low gross margins, and high inventory turnover characterized these stores (Walmart, 2010). Walton’s focus in 1976 changed on to the emerging Walmart stores and he came to the realization that successful discount retailing did not just involve getting the best price from suppliers, but also meant passing those savings onto customers. In 1978, the first distribution center was built, followed by the first Wal-Mart Supercenter in 1983 and a Sam’s Club in 1988 (Walmart, 2010).

Strategic Planning:
A vision statement presents the firm’s strategic intent that focuses their energy and resources of the company on achieving a desirable future. However, in practice, the mission and vision statements are frequently combined into a single statement. When they are separated, the vision statement is often a single sentence, designed to be memorable (Pearce, & Robinson, 2009). Walmart does not have an official mission statement on their web page, but they do have a section that is titled about us.

Saving people money to help them live better was the goal that Sam Walton envisioned when he opened the doors to the first Walmart more than 40 years ago. Today, this mission is more important than ever to our customers and members around the world. We work hard every day in all our markets to deliver on this promise. We operate with the same level of integrity and respect that Mr. Sam put in place. It is because of these values and culture that Walmart continues to make a difference in the lives of our customers, members and associates. Saving people money to help them live better was the goal that Sam Walton envisioned when he opened the doors to the first Walmart more than 40 years ago. Today, this mission is more important than ever to our customers and members around the world. We work hard every day in all our markets to deliver on this promise. We operate with the same level of integrity and respect that Mr. Sam put in place. It is because of these values and culture that Walmart continues to make a difference in the lives of our customers, members and associates (Walmart, 2010).

Walmart has always been about low prices and saving the customer money every since Sam Walton started Walmart. Most companies have mission statements and like Pearce and Robinson (2009) state: “The company’s mission describes the company’s product, market, and technological areas of emphasis in a way that...
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