“Walmart is not arrogant,” McMillon said. “We could go away at any minute. I think most of us act that way every day. If you’re not willing to fail — and we are failing at some things — you’re going to go away.”
McMillon motivates himself with a photo on his phone that lists the top 10 retailers in the country over the last decade. He also keeps a copy of a Forbes magazine from the ’90s with a Walmart cover story that asks, “Has Walmart lost its magic?”
He added that “everything is open to change.”
“Retailers come and go,” McMillon said. “It’s really simple: If you’re not meeting the wants and needs of the customer, you’re done. There’s not a lot of loyalty here.”
McMillon said that he understood that there was more work to be done in terms of the company’s online business, even though its grocery sector is flourishing. The goal, he said, is to grow a larger pool of merchandise online to help make the venture profitable.
The CEO also admitted that the purchase of Jet.com “hasn’t worked out exactly like we thought it was going to work out,” but that it did help to illustrate the digital needs of the company and “accelerate” its digital ambitions.
Jet.com, acquired in 2016, has been a sore spot for Walmart. Earlier this year, Walmart shook up Jet leadership, eliminating Simon Belsham’s roles as Jet president, and handing it over to Kieran Shanahan, who is also responsible for the company’s online food, consumables and health-and-wellness divisions.
“I didn’t understand how much of a digital transformation was needed [when I first started],” McMillon said. “That is still underway.”