FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Few, if any companies, could put on such a big and bold extravaganza, especially in these times. The Wal-Mart annual shareholders’ meeting at the University of Arkansas’ Bud Walton Arena on Friday was equal parts self-congratulation, motivation and entertainment.
“Annual,” as the initiated call it, is a tradition. What’s more, Wal-Mart has much to crow about: global sales in fiscal 2009 of $401 billion and, on Thursday, the retailer said it will create 22,000 jobs, mainly in its U.S. stores.
“We have a story to tell, and we think it’s a good one,” said a Wal-Mart spokesman, adding that, “Annual gives the company the opportunity to tell it.
Ben Stiller, who was the meeting’s master of ceremonies, poked fun at the deeply ingrained Wal-Mart culture.
“Man, you guys like to get up early,” he said, referring to the event’s 7 a.m. start time. “I hear they’re still sleeping over at Target.”
Mike Duke, president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., presided over his first annual meeting; Duke succeeded Lee Scott, who retired in February. “Last fiscal year, earnings were up 6 percent to $3.35 per share,” he said. “We returned $7.3 billion to our shareholders. We closed the year with about $11.6 billion in free cash flow.”
Vice chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright noted that every month for five consecutive quarters, the company has reported better comparative growth than the market (although Wal-Mart recently decided to no longer report monthly comp-store sales, May being the first month it did not do so). “I believe we’ve achieved the best inventory flows, and our profits grew faster than sales last year,” he said.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews