Walmart Inc. is an American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarkets (also called supercenters), discount department stores, and grocery stores in the United States, headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas. The company was founded by brothers Sam and James “Bud” Walton in nearby Rogers, Arkansas in 1962 and incorporated under Delaware General Corporation Law on 31 October 31 1969. It also owns and operates Sam’s Club retail warehouses.
As of 31 October 2022 Walmart has 10,586 stores and clubs in twenty-four countries operating under forty-six different names. The company operates under the name Walmart in the United States and Canada, as Walmart de México y Centroamérica in Mexico and Central America, and as Flipkart Wholesale in India. It has wholly owned operations in Chile, Canada, and South Africa. Since August 2018, Walmart held only a minority stake in Walmart Brasil, which was renamed Grupo Big in August 2019, with 20 percent of the company’s shares, and private equity firm Advent International holding 80 percent ownership of the company. They eventually divested their shareholdings in Grupo Big to French retailer Carrefour, in transaction worth R$7 billion and completed on June 7, 2022.
Walmart is the world’s largest company by revenue, with about US$570 billion in annual revenue, according to the Fortune Global 500 in October 2022. It is also the largest private employer in the world with 2.2 million employees. It is a publicly traded family-owned business controlled by the Walton family. Sam Walton’s heirs own over 50 percent of Walmart through both their holding company Walton Enterprises and their individual holdings. Walmart was the largest United States grocery retailer in 2019 and 65 per cent of Walmart’s reported US$510.329 billion sales came from U.S. operations. Walmart was listed on New York Stock Exchange in 1972. By 1988 it was the most profitable retailer in the U.S. and it had become the largest in terms of revenue by October 1989.
In 1945, former J. C. Penney employee Sam Walton purchased a branch of Ben Franklin from the Butler Brothers, with the vision of selling products at low prices to get high-volume sales. His business acumen paid off. Sales increased by forty-five per cent percent in his first year to reported US$105,000. However the store lease expired in five years and Walton opened a new store at 105 N. Main Street in Bentonville, naming it “Walton’s Five and Dime”. Now, Walmart Museum.
Inspired by the success of his dime store, and driven to bring greater value to his customers, Sam opened Walmart on July 2, 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. Shortly, the company expanded to eighteen stores in Arkansas and generated sales of reported $9 million. In 1968, Walmart opened in Sikeston, Missouri and Claremore, Oklahoma. The company went public in 1970 and the proceeds financed a steady expansion of the business — Walmart was operating in five states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Oklahoma. It entered Tennessee in 1973 and Kentucky and Mississippi in 1974.
In addition to new retail approaches and technologies, Sam experimented with store formats—including Sam’s Club, Neighborhood Market and Walmart Supercenter—and fearlessly took Walmart into Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. The effort earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded by President George H. W. Bush in 1992. By1988, Walmart stepped down as CEO and was replaced by David Glass. In July 1999, Walmart entered Europe, acquiring Asda in the United Kingdom for reported US$10 billion. In 2000, H. Lee Scott became Walmart’s President and CEO as the company’s sales increased to reported $165 billion. In 2002, it was listed for the first time as America’s largest corporation on Fortune 500, with revenues of reported $219.8 billion. And in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in September 2005, Walmart donated $20 million, 1,500 truckloads of merchandise, food for 100,000 meals and the promise of a job for displaced workers.
On September 12, 2007, Walmart introduced a new slogan, “Save money. Live better.”, replacing “Always Low Prices, Always”, which it had used since 1988. Acquisitions paved the way to building a rock-solid conglomerate. In 2010, the company acquired video streaming company Vudu, Inc. for an estimated $100 million. In August 2013, it acquired majority stake in Kenya-based supermarket chain, Naivas. On January 15, 2016, however, Walmart announced the closure of over two hundred stores to “strengthen Supercenters, optimizing Neighborhood Markets, grow e-commerce and expand pickup services for customers”. That year Walmart acquired Jet.com for reported US$3.3 billion. The following year, purchased Moosejaw, a leading online active outdoor retailer. On June 16, 2017, Walmart agreed to acquire men’s apparel company Bonobos for reported $310 million in an effort to expand its fashion holdings. On September 29, 2017, Walmart acquired Parcel, a technology-based, same-day last-mile delivery company in Brooklyn. On February 26, 2019, Walmart announced that it had acquired Tel Aviv-based product review start-up Aspectiva for an undisclosed sum.
Shortly, Walmart opened a “medical mall” where customers can purchase primary care services, such as: vision tests, dental exams and root canals, lab work, X-rays and EKGs, counselling, fitness and diet classes. Continuing with its health care initiative, it opened a 2,600 sq. ft. health and wellness clinic prototype in Springdale, Arkansas to expand services. This decade, as with many others, started off poorly due to the pandemic, including store closures, limited employment and social distancing protocols. On the upside, in January 2021, Walmart announced the launch of a fintech startup, with venture partner Ribbit Capital, to provide financial products for consumers and employees. And the following month, acquired technology from Thunder Industries, to expand its online marketing capabilities.
Walmart’s mission is to provide customers with a wide range of high-quality products at affordable prices, while promoting sustainability and creating opportunities for growth and success for its employees, suppliers and stakeholders. The company aims to make a positive impact on communities around the world through its operations, including sourcing products responsibly, investing in renewable energy and reducing waste. Walmart also strives to create a culture of transparency, diversity, and inclusivity, and to be a responsible and ethical corporate citizen.
Walmart’s vision is to be a company that helps people save money so they can live better. The company aims to achieve this by offering a wide selection of high-quality, affordable products and services and also providing customers with a convenient seamless shopping experience. Walmart’s vision also includes using its scale and expertise to make a positive impact on communities and the environment by sourcing products responsibly.. investing in renewable energy and promoting sustainability.
Doug McMillon (President and CEO, Walmart Inc.)
Dan Bartlett (Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Walmart Inc.)
Rachel Brand (Executive Vice President of Global Governance, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary, Walmart Inc.)
John Furner (President and CEO, Walmart U.S.)
Suresh Kumar (Executive Vice President, Global Chief Technology Officer and Chief Development Officer, Walmart Inc.)
Judith McKenna (President and CEO, Walmart International)
Fortune Global 500: Walmart consistently secures a prominent position in the Fortune Global 500 list, which ranks the world’s largest companies based on revenue. With its significant global presence and consistent financial performance, Walmart has consistently featured among the top companies in this prestigious ranking.
Corporate Equality Index (CEI): Walmart has been recognised by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s CEI for its commitment to LGBTQ+ workplace equality. The CEI is a national benchmarking survey that evaluates companies on their policies and practices relating to LGBTQ+ employees. DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity: Walmart has been consistently recognised by DiversityInc as one of the top companies for diversity and inclusion.
Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business Awards: Walmart has been honored with Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business Awards in various categories. These awards recognize Walmart’s efforts in areas such as sustainable sourcing, corporate social responsibility, community engagement, and environmental stewardship.
Retailer of the Year: Walmart has been named “Retailer of the Year” by multiple organisations and publications within the retail industry. These awards acknowledge Walmart’s leadership, innovation, customer-centric approach, and ability to adapt to changing market dynamics.