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May 24 - Walmart Releases Annual Global Responsibility Report and Outlines 2017 Georgia Investment Plans

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

May 24, 2017 - Walmart recently announced its full-year investment plan for Georgia building on continued positive momentum in U.S. sales, customer traffic and customer feedback. In addition, the company is detailing the state and local information in its 10th annual Global Responsibility Report, highlighting the company’s progress during fiscal year 2017 in advancing the key areas of opportunity and community. 

"We are excited about the announcement of Walmart's plans to invest in Georgia which will lead to increased jobs for Georgia families, increased revenues for local government and a more robust retail economy," said Georgia Retail Association President & CEO R. Scott Shalley. "We appreciate and support companies who are committed to building consumer confidence through sound investments in both their employees and surrounding communities.” 

2017 Georgia Innovations and Investments 

Walmart’s most recent earnings report shows continued positive momentum in U.S. sales, customer traffic and customer feedback, which is attributed to many of the innovations and investments the company has been making in store operations and its workforce.

Walmart is planning the following investments in Georgia this year: 

  • Open 2 new stores/clubs in the state, creating more than 630 new jobs statewide.
  • Multi-million dollar capital investments in improving existing stores/clubs by remodeling more than 18 locations across the state, including metro Atlanta, Brunswick, Fitzgerald, Monroe, Newnan, Perry and Stockbridge.
  • Piloting one of five Pickup Towers- a high-tech vending machine for customers to pick up online orders in-store- at the Walmart in Duluth, Ga.

“2017 is going to be an exciting year for Walmart in Georgia as we continue to focus on how to better serve our customers through innovation and investments so they can save both time and money,” said Zane McCusker, Walmart store manager in Forsyth, Ga. “We’ve had a sharp focus on making our store experience second to none and our customers are telling us that our plan is working. Our team is energized and we’re looking forward to exceeding our customer’s expectations for what a great Walmart shopping experience can be like.” 

Walmart’s 2017 investment plans build on Walmart’s growth last year in Georgia. 2016 Highlights included: 

  • Opened 2 new stores in Cumming and Grovetown
  • Launched Online Grocery Pickup Service in 30 stores
  • Launched Walmart Pay statewide
  • Launched Walmart training academies in Evans, Lovejoy, Cordele and Lawrenceville.

The following illustrates Walmart’s local impact on key issues in the Global Responsibility Report:

Opportunity: Associate Training, Education and Wages

Walmart is addressing barriers that can impede career advancement for associates. In FY2017, Walmart completed a $2.7 billion investment in U.S. associates that included increases in training, education and higher wages. Georgia achievements include:

  • Opened Walmart Academies in Augusta, Cordele, Lawrenceville and Stockbridge, training more than 2,325 Walmart associates through the Academy program to date. 
  • Awarding a total of more than $25,000,000 in quarterly bonuses to Georgia associates in FY17.
  • Continuing its commitment to hire military veterans for a total of 6822 veterans hired in Georgia since launching the Walmart Veterans Welcome Home Commitment in May 2013.

Community: Making a Difference & Giving Back

In FY2017, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation invested more than $1.4 billion in communities worldwide, including more than $43,800,000 in cash and in-kind contributions to non-profits throughout Georgia.

Local non-profits awarded grants from the Walmart State Giving Program, one of several Foundation giving programs that play an essential role in the Foundation’s mission to create opportunities so people can live better, include: 

  • Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom, which received $957,682 to help support children in rural Georgia communities.
  • Local YMCA’s in Atlanta, Augusta, Moultrie, Rome and Tifton, Ga received donations totaling $258,000.
  • National Recreation and Park Association in Atlanta and Macon received $75,000 to help support park recreation and conservation.

Fighting Hunger

As the nation’s largest grocer, Walmart is uniquely positioned to support organizations that are on the front lines in the fight against hunger.  In addition to donating more than 23,300,000 pounds of food to local Georgia food banks – equivalent to more than 19,400,000 meals – Walmart and the Walmart Foundation donated more than $50 million toward hunger relief in FY2017, including more than $1,200,000 for after school and breakfast in the classroom programs in Georgia. 

Walmart also engages customers across the country in making an impact on hunger in their local communities.  In the U.S., Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations teamed up with customers and participating suppliers to support Feeding America through the “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign, raising more than $17 million in funds in FY2017, including more than $280,000 for the local Georgia Feeding America affiliate, the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

Volunteering and Disaster Relief

Walmart associates are deeply engaged in their communities and in FY2017, associates overall volunteered more than 1.2 million hours generating more than $12 million in Walmart donations, including more than 24,440 hours with local non-profits and charitable causes in Georgia, marking another way in which the company supports and impacts the local communities it serves.

In FY2017, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation supported communities after 30 disasters. A total of $6.8 million in cash donations was given specifically for disaster preparedness and relief, including $40,000 in Georgia to assist with Hurricane Matthew, as an example.

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