A Brief History of Walmart

Walmart Inc. is a well-known multinational shopping retailer responsible for a chain of department stores and hypermarkets. While its current headquarters are based in Bentonville, Arkansas, the company is spread out internationally.

Sam Walton founded Walmart. Its name is derived from his surname. In July 1962, Walton opened the first store in Rogers, Arkansas, and since then, the company has never looked back. After only five years, the Walton family had grown the business from just one store to twenty-four stores. Sales were high, and their popularity continued to grow considerably. In 1967, they could pride themselves on a staggering $12.7 million in sales.

Considering all this exponential growth, the company was officially incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. shortly after in 1969. As the 1970s unfolded, there was more growth awaiting the company. In fact, during this decade, the company went national. In 1970 Walmart became a publicly-traded company, and back then, its first stock sold at $16.50 per share, which was quite good. A year later, the first distribution store was opened in Bentonville, Arkansas. This was also used as a General Office for their Discount Deals.

Walmart continued to grow, and in 1972 this was evident since the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. At the time, they had 51 stores and sales amounting to $78 million. In 1980 Walmart reached $1 billion in sales per annum, and this was quite a record, not just because of the staggering figure but also since it was achieved more quickly than any other business at the time. By then, Walmart had a total of 276 stores.

Only three years later, the company started to replace cash registers with point-of-sale computerized systems. This was very innovative, and customers were thrilled by the modern systems, which allowed for quicker checkouts. Shortly after, in 1987, Walmart installed the biggest private satellite communications system in the US. This system linked the company’s operations through data communication, as well as voice and video.

In 1988 Walmart opened its first Walmart Supercenter in Washington, Missouri. This was a full-scale supermarket along with general merchandise. The concept of a one-stop shop was always prevalent with the company, and clients loved the fact that they could get convenience when shopping at Walmart.

The 1990s also proved to be very successful for Walmart. In 1991 Walmart went global. This was done through a joint venture with a renowned Mexican retail company named Cifra.

Sam Walton was given the Medal of Freedom in 1992. His mission was not just to make money and to have a successful business but also to offer customers an opportunity to save money when buying from Walmart. This enabled them to live better. Walton passed away shortly after, at the age of 74. Rob Walton then became the chairman of the board.

In the early 1990s, Walmart employed some 371,000 associates spread in 1928 stores and clubs. In 1993 the company celebrated an astounding milestone – it managed to make a billion sales in just one week.

In 1994 Walmart expanded considerably since it purchased 122 Woolco stores in Canada, and two years later, it opened stores in China. Another noteworthy step included the acquisition of Asda in 1998, which made Walmart enter the UK.

In 1997 Walmart celebrated the first time it managed to make $100 billion in sales in a year. This was to be repeated several times since, in the year 2000, Walmart.com was founded. This enabled US customers to start shopping online, and needless to say, this helped the company increase its sales even further. The company had over 1.1 million associates employed in almost 4000 stores and clubs spread worldwide.

In 2002 Walmart entered the Japanese market too after making a remarkable investment in Seiyu. During this year, it also managed to top the Fortune 500 of the US’ biggest companies. Later in 2009, the company also entered Chile by acquiring a majority stake in D&S S.A. this year, it also prided itself on a significant achievement, that is, exceeding $400 billion in annual sales. In 2010 Bharti Walmart, which was a joint venture, also opened the first store in India.

The company was also very much interested in public welfare, as was evident in the leading role it took in 2005 when $18 million were contributed to support the victims of the hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Some 2400 truckloads of supplies were also sent. In 2015 it contributed $2 billion to help in hunger issues in the US. The company was also central in environmental sustainability issues. It committed to goals that included creating zero waste and renewable energy only. Walmart also launched a global commitment campaign to support sustainable agriculture.

In 2011 Walmart even expanded its operations into South Africa, as it bought 51% of Massmart Holdings Ltd. By doing so, it surpassed 10000 retail units spread worldwide. It also acquired Bharti Walmart Private Limited, which included the best cash and carry business in India for shopping deals.

Another noteworthy milestone for Walmart was its announcement in 2013 of hiring honorably discharged veterans during the first year of their active duties. The company has given employment importance since its foundation. In 2015 the company announced that it would invest $2.7 billion in the US employees that it hired by increasing their training opportunities and making the minimum wage at $9 per hour.

By 2015 Walmart was employing 2.3 million associates all over the world. These served some 200 million customers weekly in more than 11000 stores spread across 27 countries. There is no need to state that Walmart is one of the world’s biggest and most successful companies. With competitive prices, a vast range of products, and a commitment to offering convenience and exceptional customer service, it is no wonder that Walmart has managed to achieve so much since being founded.

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