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Walmart to Make Comeback After Q1 Profit Decline

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Walmart is undergoing major internal therapy.

At its 46th annual shareholders meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas, on Friday, the powerhouse store chain announced that it will be making company-wide improvements, after its profit declined in the first quarter of fiscal 2016.

“Our customers care about their neighbors, their planet and their children’s future,” Doug McMillon, president and chief executive officer, said. “They want items that are safe and healthy for their families. And ultimately they want to spend their money with a retailer they trust. We earn trust by operating in a way you and your family can be proud of. We’ll do that and more.”

Focus areas that required reform included associate support, customer service and community impact, and improvements included the My Productivity app for store employees, a pilot delivery system and merchandise fulfillment expansions.

Walmart store associates now have access to My Productivity, an app that allows them to replenish products, instantly access real-time sales data and answer customer questions. Before this development, management associates were spending a majority of their time off the sales floor and in backstock. With the app, store associates are able to continue helping customers and also keep track of internal inventory efficiently.

For enhanced customer service, Walmart said it’s teaming up with Uber and other partners to deliver store goods to customers. McMillon announced the launch of the pilot delivery system at today’s shareholder meeting, which will happen in two weeks. Denver and one other location will be the first stores to participate in the delivery system. Customers will be able to place their order at one of the pilot stores, have a personal shopper package their goods and then have a driver deliver them to their home for an inexpensive fee.

Merchandise fulfillment expansions are also taking place within Walmart to benefit local communities. Over the past 10 years, Walmart has expanded its fleet by adding new technologies for loading, shipping, routing and driving. Walmart’s year-end results were 102.2 percent higher and the company saved over $1 billion in 2015. To better serve communities in the e-commerce sector, Walmart opened new fulfillment centers and now claims it can reach 95 percent of U.S. customers within 48 hours or less.

McMillon spoke about Walmart’s future in the retail market and how the company will continue placing associates and customers first: “As the world becomes more digital, it will be the humanity of Walmart that differentiates us and wins with customers,” he said.

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