Walmart Stores’ History. How Samuel Walton Started Walmart
Samuel Walton, born in 1918, opened his first discount stores in the 1940s and 1950s in Arkansas. In 1962 Samuel and his brother Bud Walton opened their first Walmart store based in Rogers, Arkansas. A dash was added to the logo in 1964, becoming Walmart. Within seven years they were running eighteen stores in locations including Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. In 1969 the chain officially became Walmart Stores, Inc. The following year the company issued stock to the public and entered the New York Stock Exchange in 1972.
The business model was built on warehouses, where merchandise could be stored. Walton was able to purchase merchandise at lower prices by buying in bulk. He created a more efficient distribution system for his stores, which could be served by warehouses at lower costs than if stores individually ordered from various distributors. By 1976 Walton had phased out his earlier chain called Ben Franklin Stores so that he could focus on building the Walmart brand. Walmart opened its first pharmacy in 1978, along with an auto service center and jewelry sections. At the close of the seventies, the total number of Walmart stores was 276 in eleven states.
By 1979 Walmart’s annual revenue exceeded $1 billion, making it the fastest company in history to reach this financial level. By 1982 the stock had increased by over 1000 times its value in 1971. The company had made a series of acquisitions throughout the seventies, such as Mohr Value Stores then the Hutcheson Shoe Company in 1977, and Kuhn’s Big K Stores in 1981. In 1983 the company expanded with a new line of discount stores called Sam’s Wholesale Clubs, which would later be called Sam’s Clubs, initially targeting small business owners who wanted to buy products in bulk through memberships.
Walmart began opening “Supercenters,” which added groceries to discount stores, in 1988. A few years later they acquired The McLane Company, which was their first acquisition in nine years, providing wholesale distribution. By 1990 Walmart had become the biggest retail chain in America. The following year Walmart expanded its foreign operation starting with Mexico’s top retailer, Cifra, S.A. de C.V. Within six years, Ciftra went through several mergers while Walmart gained control of Cifra, which became Walmart de Mexico S.A. de C.V. in 2000.
Samuel Walton, known to visit his stores and meet employees, received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992 before he died of cancer at age 74 a few weeks later. At that time Walmart had 380,000 employees working at over 1,700 stores. Ownership of the company remained with the Walton family as son Rob Walton became Chairman. H. Scott, Jr. was named CEO in 2000. Based on inheritance, five of the top ten richest people in America were from the Walton family within the decade that followed. Another change happened early in 1992 when Walmart replaced the dash in their logo with a star. This logo remained in place through 2008, when the name returned to Walmart.
After acquiring the 122 Woolco stores from the Woolworth Corporation in 1994, Walmart expanded to Canada. In 1997, with revenues over $100 billion, Walmart entered the European market after acquiring 21 Wertkauf stores in Germany. The following year Walmart acquired 74 Interspar stores in Germany. The business further expanded its European profile in 1999 by acquiring ASDA Group plc, the third biggest British supermarket chain.
Walmart Neighborhood Markets began appearing in America in 1998, the same year that Sam Walton made Time Magazine’s top 100 influential people of the century. The company became the top grocery retailer in America in 2001, with sales of $56 billion. At Neighborhood Markets and Supercenters grew, the discount stores declined. By 2003 Walmart decided to focus on expanding its retail operations while selling off its wholesale distributor, McLane.
Walmart bought the top supermarket chain in Puerto Rico, Supermercados Amigo, Inc. in 2002. Later that year the company entered the Japanese market by investing in The Seivu Ltd, which combined groceries with clothing. Walmart became the largest revenue-generating corporation in the world in 2003, with revenues of over $244 billion. It made history by being the first company to make number one on the Fortune 500 that didn’t manufacture products. The key to the company’s success all along was staying competitive with low prices for consumers while keeping overhead costs low as well.
By 2004 Walmart faced a series of class action lawsuits from employees about working conditions and pay. The company was ordered to pay fines and additional wages of over $300 million. Many employees complained they were overworked or were forced to work off the clock without scheduled breaks so that the company could maximize labor and avoid overtime pay. The company was known for its low pay, high turnover, and resisting unions.
At the end of 2004, Walmart owned 2,460 Discount Stores, 1,728 Supercenters, 618 Sam’s Clubs, and 100 Neighborhood Markets on a global level. The majority of these stores were based in America. In 2012 the company had a market capitalization of over $245 billion and employed over 2 million people with annual revenue of nearly $447 billion.
To read many more details about Walmart’s and Sam Walton’s history, you can visit the official corporate site: https://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/our-history
Interesting facts about Walmart
Walmart is one of the leading retailers in the US, and its success has allowed it to become one of the most well-known companies in the world. It’s no wonder that there are so many fascinating facts about one of America’s biggest retail stores. Here’s a look at 10 of the most interesting facts about Walmart you probably didn’t know:
1. Walmart is the largest company in the world in terms of revenue, bringing in over $500 billion annually.
2. Walmart is the largest employer in the US and is responsible for the employment of 1.9 million people.
3. Walmart owns more than 11,000 stores in 28 countries and its products are available in approximately 28,000 retail locations worldwide.
4. Walmart sells more food than any other retailer, accounting for around 25% of grocery and food sales in the US.
5. Walmart has been widely credited with helping drive down the cost of everyday items, especially those bought in large quantities.
6. Walmart’s first shop was opened on July 2nd, 1962 in Rogers Arkansas by Sam Walton and his brother Bud Walton.
7. Walmart is the largest seller of firearms and ammunition in the US, making up 20% of gun sales in 2015.
8. Walmart was the first company to introduce scanning technology, with the use of handheld devices for store employees to take inventory as early as 1985.
9. Walmart is a popular destination for international travelers, due to reasonably priced groceries and other essentials.
10. Walmart has been experimenting with cutting-edge technology, such as robots and self-checkout lanes, in order to keep up with industry trends.
From its humble beginnings to its current state, Walmart has become one of the most influential retail stores in the world and it’s no wonder why. With a global presence and plenty of interesting facts, Walmart’s success is not only a testament to its own hard work, but also to the dedication of its employees and the millions of customers that have helped make it what it is today.