History of Wal-Mart: A Major Phenomenon in the World of Retailing

As experienced by other giant companies that have experienced so many changes in the business world, Wal-Mart has a success story that is recognized by many, inspiring them to become as big as this retail company. Wal-Mart is a mirror of how the dedication and hard work of business leaders and employees can form a business that survives and is successful amidst the fierce competition in the retail world.

Wal-Mart was founded by Sam Walton on March 29, 1918. This company, which is based in Bentonville, Arkansas, USA, is engaged in the sector or type of retail industry, discount stores, supermarkets or small-scale stores. The most recent revenue was 404.16 billion US dollars. Meanwhile, net income reached a fantastic amount: US $ 13.59 billion. No wonder because this company employs 2,100,000 employees.

Retail and discount stores first appeared in the US in the early 1950s. The retail store concept is gaining popularity in the US. Sam Walton, who believed that US consumers wanted something more from retail stores, opened a retail and discount store in Rogers, Arkansas. Walton had traveled all over the United States and had a wealth of experience relevant to discount stores.

In 1962, he started the Wal-Mart phenomenon by opening his first store. In the 5 years that followed, he worked very hard and managed to open 24 stores in Arkansas alone. All of these stores were instrumental in helping Wal-Mart reach its golden age by achieving fantastic profits. No less than 12.6 million dollars could be produced by Wal-Mart at that time.

In 1969, Wal-Mart stores officially became Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

The decade of the 1970s witnessed the highest growth in the history of Wal-Mart. In 1971, Wal-Mart began an expansion effort by opening a large headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Throughout the same decade, the number of Wal-Mart employees witnessed how high the number of employees increased and the increase in net profit. Sales increased to 44.2 million US dollars which made many entrepreneurs feel enchanted by the great potential of the world of retail .

The two most important years in Wal-Mart’s history were 1971 and 1975. In May 1971, Wal-Mart’s stock underwent a 100% split and the market price was a staggering $47 per share.

Meanwhile in 1975, Wal-Mart successfully scored sales of 340.3 million US dollars. The expansion of the company resulted in 7500 partnerships and has established 125 stores which are running successfully.

In 1977, there was a major takeover at Wal-Mart and the company acquired the Hutcheson Shoe Company and also introduced a branch of its pharmacy called Wal-Mart pharmacy.

By the end of the decade, Wal-Mart had become a giant in the US retail world. Turnover reached more than 1.248 billion US dollars in sales and 276 stores efficiently managed by 21,000 partners.

The two decades of the 1980s and 1990s were the moments of transformation of this giant retail chain in global business. Along with the growth of the company, both in terms of size and monetary income, the operational aspect is also increasing.

In 1983, the first Sam’s club opened and was ranked among the top retail store chains by Forbes Magazine.

In 1998, Wal-Mart’s first major sales center was launched and opened to the public which became known as conventional stores in many regions and countries around the world.

In the late 1980s, Wal-Mart launched a massive network of stores that even reached 1,402 stores and had clubs that stimulated sales to a value of more than 26 billion dollars.

Walton’s ideas and efforts made Wal-Mart one of the companies that have succeeded in changing the global business world. The ideas of retail stores, discount stores and super stores that he initiated have changed the world of shopping and consumers. Today the company employs more than 2.1 partners and direct employees. Wal-Mart stores serve more than 176 million consumers worldwide each year.

Sam Walton and Wal-Mart have given us many examples of how to maintain value as well as manage and sustain the growth and success we hope to always achieve. Sam Walton died on April 5, 1992. (*Akhlis)

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