Walmart executives painted an optimistic vision for the company's future at a celebratory shareholder meeting in Northwest Arkansas, an annual star-studded event that this year was hosted by Jamie Foxx and featured performances by Jason Derulo, Carly Rae Jepsen and Cassadee Pope.
Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart Inc., told the thousands of workers in attendance that the Bentonville-based retailer earned $500.3 billion in revenue last year, which represented growth of more than $15 billion. He said Walmart serves 270 million customers a week in 28 countries.
“So we are a growth company, we just happen to be a big one,” he said.
Greg Foran, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., told the crowd that traffic has increased in stores for 40 consecutive quarters. And Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs said Walmart has increased shareholder dividends for the 45th consecutive year and has an operating cash flow of more than $28 billion.
“Our company is one of the strongest in the world, period,” he said.
Greg Penner, chairman of the board of directors, called this a "time of true transformation for our company" that will help Walmart "win the future of retail."
The annual meeting always includes surprise celebrity guests. Friday's event also featured performances from the X Ambassadors and Foxx, who at one point put on sunglasses and belted out songs from his hit movie Ray, a biopic in which he played Ray Charles.
Foxx also paid tribute to Walmart founder Sam Walton, who would have been 100 this year and was honored during the meeting with an on-stage hologram representation.
"Sam was one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time," Foxx said. "He was willing to try new ideas."
About 14,000 people, including Walmart workers and shareholders, filled Bud Walton Arena for the meeting.
Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.