Walmart names company vet as international head
Walmart has tapped a 20-plus years company veteran to head up its second-largest operating segment — a job that many industry experts regard as a stepping stone to the top job at the retail giant.
The company announced it's promoting Judith McKenna to president and CEO of Walmart International, effective Feb. 2.
She will succeed David Cheesewright, who has been in the role since 2014 and recently announced his decision to retire from the full-time position. He will remain with the company full time through March, and then serve the company on a limited basis.
McKenna is currently executive VP and COO for Walmart U.S. She joined the company in 1996 at Asda, where she served as COO and CFO. McKenna also served as executive VP of strategy and international development for Walmart International. She moved to the Walmart U.S. division in April 2014, as the business unit’s chief development officer, where she led the strategy, development and growth of Walmart’s small format business and the partnership with Walmart.com to integrate digital commerce into the physical store presence. Several months later she was promoted to her current role.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon headed up the global division prior to being appointed to the top job at the chain in January 2014. So did his predecessor Mike Duke.
“I’ve had the pleasure to work with Judith for many years and have seen firsthand her ability to lead strategic change, build relationships with our associates and strengthen our business,” McMillon said. “It has been inspiring to see her personal growth and the results she’s driven over the years. Her integrity, high expectations and passion for the business and our associates will ensure our continued success in International."
Retail sales to grow 3% annually through 2021
Retail industry sales are expected to remain on the upswing for the next several years and so are store openings.
A new report by Zebra Technologies, conducted with IHL Group, projects that retail industry sales in North America and EMEA regions (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) will rise 3% annually through 2021, led by a shift to greater e-commerce/omnichannel sales volume.
The year 2017 saw more retail store openings than closures and store openings are expected to outpace closures through 2021, according to Zebra’s 2017 Retail Transformation Study. IHL research estimates that the enterprise retail market (more than 50 stores) had 4,080 net stores opening through October 2017. In fact, 42% of retailers had a net increase in stores while only 15% had a net decrease.
Additional findings of the study include:
- IHL projects the North American retail market will grow over the next five years to $5.5 trillion in sales.
- IHL projects technology spending among retailers to rise approximately 3% over the next three years, as retailers continue to evolve their operations to support unified commerce and provide a modern, engaging customer experience.
- Mobility is a driver for most surveyed retailers who plan to invest in mobile barcode or thermal printers, barcode scanners and mobile computers within the next three years.
- Store and fulfillment operations are transforming dramatically to adapt to evolving retail models. Among surveyed North American retailers expecting growth of more than 5%, 60% cited faster sales growth as a key driver for changes in store operations, while 52% cited the shift in sales to online purchases. And 52% identified same-day delivery as a key warehouse operations driver as consumer demand is encouraging retailers to improve the in-store returns process and enhance their fulfillment and delivery strategies.
Solid Q4 sales for Fastenal
Fastenal, the fastener, hardware and tools distributor, reported fourth quarter 2017 net sales increased 14.8% to $1.09 billion compared to net sales of $948 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.
For the 12-month period ended Dec. 31, 2017, net sales rose 10.8% to $4.39 billion from $3.96 billion in 2016.
“A return to double-digit sales and pre-tax earnings growth in 2017 was a great way to celebrate our 50th year in business,” said Dan Florness, Fastenal president and CEO. “Our customers’ demand improved, this demand lifted our business. Also encouraging was how the hard work of Fastenal employees generated accelerating signings and sales growth in our growth drivers. This momentum, our ability to leverage operating expenses, and the benefits of tax reform have set up 2018 to be another strong year for Fastenal.”
The company said its acquisition of Manufacturers Supply Company (Mansco) in March 2017 increased sales by 1.4%. The remaining portion of the increase was driven primarily by higher unit sales.
Fastener products represented 35% of sales in the fourth quarter of 2017. Daily sales of fastener products grew 13.4% in total, of which 3.9 percentage points were attributable to the recently acquired Mansco business. Sales of non-fastener products represented 65% of sales in the fourth quarter of 2017 and grew 16.1% on a daily basis, Fastenal reported.
Net earnings during the fourth quarter of 2017 increase of 32.8% to $152.4 million from net earnings of $114.8 million in the fourth quarter 2016. Net earnings for 2017 rose 15.8% to $578.6 million from net earnings of $499.4 million in 2016.
During the fourth quarter, the company opened three branches and closed 37. At the end of the fourth quarter, Fastenal operated 2,988 locations compared to 2,904 at the end of 2016.