Separately, Wal-Mart has been working on improving clothing factories it does business with in Bangladesh following the building collapse there.
Wal-Mart said last month that it will conduct in-depth inspections at all of the 279 factories it uses in Bangladesh and will make the inspection information public. It also is joining a group of U.S. retailers and U.S. trade retail and apparel groups to improve fire and safety regulations in garment factories.
All that was in the backdrop during Wal-Mart’s annual meeting.
The meeting, which took place at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville’s Bud Walton Arena, is attended by thousands of Wal-Mart workers all over the world each year. This year, 14,000 people attended.
The meeting typically feels like a pep rally. This year, singers John Legend, Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson entertained. Actor Tom Cruise also took the stage to talk about Wal-Mart’s efforts in sustainability and working with women-owned businesses.
‘‘X-Men’’ and ‘‘Les Miserables’’ star Hugh Jackman hosted the meeting. He opened the event by singing a rendition of ‘‘Oh, What a Beautiful Morning.’’ Later he sang a song from ‘‘Les Miserables’’ and showed a video on his phone of his daughter acting.
‘‘I have never been up this early in my entire life,’’ Jackman quipped. ‘‘7 a.m.?’’
Protesters were expected at the meeting. ‘‘We may be joined by folks who want to disrupt this meeting,’’ said Rob Walton. But no disruptive protests materialized.
During the meeting, all 14 directors up for election were elected and shareholders also approved resolutions related to its accountant, non-binding approval of executive compensation and a management incentive plan. The final results of shareholder votes will be announced Monday.
Wal-Mart shares rose 70 cents to close at $76.33 Friday. They are up a little more than 50 percent from around $50 in August 2011 when Wal-Mart started to see a turnaround in its US namesake business after a more than two-year slump.
AP Retail Writer Mae Anderson reported from New York.