Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. founder Sam Walton opened his first Wal-Mart Discount City in Rogers in 1962. From that 16,000-SF store, the world's dominant retail chain was born.
Walton's stores were marked by humble sensibilities and his "made in America" mantra. The company was incorporated in 1969 and went public in 1972.
In 1990, it became the country's largest retailer. Walton died in 1992, days after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The company continued growth, led by then-CEO David Glass. In 2002, it surpassed Exxon Mobil Corp. to become the world's largest company at the time. It expanded overseas in Mexico, Japan and Europe. It now operates 9,600 retail units, including Wal-Mart stores and Sam's Club locations, in 28 countries. It recently entered South Africa with the purchase of the Massmart retail chain.
The company announced in mid-2008 that it would begin replacing logos on the front of its U.S. stores with a new design. The revamped logo came as Wal-Mart continued to tweak its image after facing criticism from union-led groups and local communities opposed to big-box stores. Wal-Mart also launched a marketing campaign highlighting its environmentally-focused practices and efforts to make health care more affordable for customers through a discounted prescription drug program.
During the Great Recession, Wal-Mart's U.S. same-store sales growth lagged, and the company increasingly relied on its international division for growth. In fiscal 2011, Wal-Mart International reported more than $109 billion in revenue.
Wal-Mart employs more than 2.1 million employees, including 1.4 million in the U.S., and serves more than 200 million customers per year. In fiscal 2011, the company reported annual revenue of more than $443 billion. It has more than 10,130 retail locations under 69 names in 28 countries.
Since 2009, the company's president and CEO has been Mike Duke. Wal-Mart's chairman is Rob Walton, one of founder Sam Walton's four children.
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