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TheStreet Open House

Sozzi: Walmart Just Told Us These Two Hidden Things at Its Annual Meeting

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Walmart's (WMT) annual shareholder meeting is always quite the spectacle, and this year was no different than years past. Headlining the event were celebs Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke, Sarah McLaughlin, and Harry Connick Jr. And yes, the Walton family and Walmart executive team, rock stars in their own right and mind, happened to be there to discuss the company's awesomeness.

However, there is one aspect to the Walmart annual meeting that often gets lost inside of the glitz and glamor: the feeling that every initiative being introduced is designed to just keep pace with Amazon (AMZN) while using the power of Apple  (AAPL) devices. Not much NEW information is shared! To Walmart employees, the information is new because they unlikely read the Securities and Exchange Commission filings. But, for analysts and investors, the annual meeting is more akin to a live streaming think tank. So in an effort to get some real actionable insights from the event, I have come up with two stealth things I picked up on from paying careful attention.

I ask: Did YOU see any of this?
 
Sam's Club CEO Rosalind Brewer shined on stage, once again. From her background as a former 22-year executive at Kimberly Clark (KMB), to running over 1,000 Walmart stores, to now infusing the tech revolution into Sam's Club to fight back against Amazon, Brewer is a highly impressive executive destined for bigger things. That bigger thing: She may well be on the short list of candidates to take over as CEO of Target (TGT), which would be a great fit given her appreciation of data, technology, supplier relationships, and experience in store operations.

Doug McMillon is the CEO Walmart needed at this point in its history. From snapping selfies with Walmart associates, to playing to the crowd, McMillon showed a sense of charisma that has been absent in prior Walmart CEOs. In fact, he displayed a strong sense of self that he hadn't shown in prior years when on stage recently as leader of Sam's Club. The key consideration now: Does McMillon go slightly against the Walmart culture he grew up in, making bold decisions that in my view should include a complete restructuring of the international operations, closing underperforming stores in the U.S., and re-thinking what the supercenter of the future should look like? Time will tell.

Full disclosure: Sarah McLaughlin's song at the at the meeting made me tear up.

Hey, did YOU miss this? These Vines taken inside a Walmart are so telling as to the state of the company.  Give them a looksie here.

-- By Brian Sozzi CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, analyst to TheStreet.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

At the time of publication, Sozzi had no positions in the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Brian Sozzi is the CEO and Chief Equities Strategist of Belus Capital Advisors. He is responsible for developing and managing an equities portfolio of mid- and large-cap positions, in addition to leading the firm's digital content initiatives. He is also a personal finance columnist for Men's Health magazine.

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