Addressing shareholders at the retailer's 36th annual shareholders meeting, Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott said that the company's transformation plan, "Wal-Mart Out in Front", was delivering results for the company. Scott added that the world's largest retailer will continue to implement demand-driven changes though throughout the year.

"Wal-Mart is undergoing a transformation. And it's real," Scott said in prepared remarks. "We are changing more rapidly and profoundly than we ever have. We're building stronger relationships with the working families who are our associates and customers. And the changes we are making are delivering results for our company."

The company said Wal-Mart's transformation programme builds on a number of principles, including broadening Wal-Mart's appeal, improving business operations and efficiency and driving growth in the company's international business.

Scott said that results at the company's experimental new format outlets had been positive. The urban Evergreen Park store near Chicago reported sales 25% above neighbouring stores, while at the new Plano, Texas, experimental Supercenter - offering more up-market products in a new format - gross profit per linear foot is 24% higher than the average store. In the coming months, Wal-Mart intends to build more experimental stores to help the company broaden its appeal to key demographics, including the Hispanic population, rural customers and baby boomers.

Scott said that the "Wal-Mart Out in Front" strategy acknowledges the advice of Sam Walton, who said: "You can't just keep doing what works one time. Everything around you is always changing. To succeed, stay out in front of that change."