Offering a broad assortment with even lower prices
Walmart U.S. achieved positive comparable store sales for fiscal 2012, having posted an increase in customer traffic for the fourth quarter. Net sales surpassed $264 billion, increasing 1.5 percent, while operating income grew to $20.4 billion, a 2.2 percent increase from the prior year. We improved our performance by aligning our strategy with the needs of today's customer and by operating more efficiently. The expanded merchandise assortment and improved in–stock levels, coupled with strong price leadership and service from our associates, continues to resonate with customers.
A broader assortment. Customers appreciate the opportunity to rely on Walmart for a one–stop shopping experience, so we added back more than 10,000 products across hundreds of merchandise categories during the past year. We work with suppliers to be the first to offer new innovative products and continue to fine–tune our offerings. We offer the right mix of national brands, private brands and opening price point products. We also improved in–stock levels, so customers can count on Walmart more than ever.
Delivering Everyday Low Price (EDLP). We reinvigorated our fundamental price promise: provide low prices day–in and day–out on the broadest assortment. Our price message, backed by the strongest ad match policy in the industry, ensures that we are driving price separation with competitors. The certainty of great values throughout the store has been fundamental to Walmart for 50 years. Fulfilling that brand promise inspires customer trust and loyalty. This February, we kicked off a two–year, $2 billion investment, funded by expense reductions and productivity initiatives, to further lower prices for customers.
A more efficient organization. EDLP is the result of our everyday low cost (EDLC) philosophy. We lower costs by reducing expenses, increasing productivity and leveraging technology to improve efficiency throughout our supply chain and our operations. This year, we are accelerating and adding many efficiency measures, as we invest the savings to further lower prices.
Humble beginnings with store 1
Using their family home as collateral, Sam and Helen Walton opened the first Walmart in Rogers, Ark., in 1962. The store was just 18,000 square feet of selling space, and had clothing racks made of plumbing pipes. Store 1 was modest — but customers loved the great prices and the wide assortment.
Formats and channels that serve every need. We continue to invest in growth through a variety of channels — our core supercenters, smaller formats such as Neighborhood Market and Walmart Express, and eCommerce. Our online business continues to grow, driven by strong sales in Site to Store and Pick Up Today, which provide shopping alternatives to Walmart customers.