Wal-Mart at 50: A Not-So-Short History Of the World's Largest Retailer

by Eric Francis  on Monday, Jul. 2, 2012 12:00 am  

• Walton’s bank investment grows with the purchase of a bank at Pea Ridge.


• Walton opens two more Wal-Mart stores, in Springdale and Harrison. Walton invites David Glass, whom he was trying to woo away from J.W. Crank Co., to the grand opening of the Harrison store, which is such a fiasco that Glass turns Walton down cold. (From Glass: “Sam had brought a couple of trucks of watermelons in and stacked them on the sidewalk. He had a donkey ride out in the parking lot. It was about 115 degrees, and the watermelons began to pop, and the donkey began to do what donkeys do, and it all mixed together and ran all over the parking lot.”) Glass will finally join Wal-Mart in 1976 and become CEO in 1988.

• The company adopts a consistent logo.


• The fourth Wal-Mart store opens.

• Jim Walton, youngest son of Sam and Helen and currently a member of the Wal-Mart board of directors and chairman of Arvest Bank Group, graduates from Bentonville High School.

• Sears Roebuck & Co. surpasses A&P to become the country’s largest retailer with sales of $6.4 billion.


• Sam Walton attends an IBM training school to better understand the growing field of computers and to scope out talent to help automate his young company, which would become a pioneer in inventory tracking and just-in-time delivery.


• A federal court rules that it is “patently clear” that Walton is running his first stores as separate corporations to avoid having to pay minimum wage. Taken together, their revenue is sufficient to make the company subject to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act.



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