ORLANDO, Fla. — Wal-Mart Stores believes it can apply what it's learned from smaller formats abroad to maximize returns in the U.S. in areas such as cost structures, logistics, leasing and store operations, Doug McMillon, executive vice president and president of the company's international division, said here Monday.
Speaking at the Credit Suisse consumer conference here, McMillon said one result of its experience operating smaller formats all over the world is "that we've found we've been able to deliver returns that are very comparable and consistent with some of our large formats.
"In the U.S., there may be some urban markets where we really need to think about opening price points, so there will be basket size differences and logistical differences. Plus, there will be things we've learned about how to lease and operate smaller stores from a cost perspective that can be leveraged."
McMillon said the Wal-Mart team working on format development in the U.S. is led by Anthony Hucker, who used to oversee format development for the international division, "so that creates some natural knowledge and leverage points because Anthony knows how to plug into the process to continue to generate even more learning."
McMillon also said Wal-Mart is seeking to optimize systems and product selection globally — "to identify the best processes that exist in the world and then apply and scale that to the extent we can.
"There is no reason why the checkout process in Brazil needs to be all that different than it needs to be in the U.S. Now we are learning there are other processes that we can leverage across the globe. We want to move new ideas even faster than we have in the past and then scale advantages such as sourcing."
As a result, Wal-Mart is selling California grapes in Japan and kettle chips from Japan in the United Kingdom, and it is working with U.S.-based suppliers to move excess capacities to markets around the world, McMillon noted.