Brand Builders: Walmart
Walmart serves customers and members more
than 200 million times per week—in retail
outlets, online and on mobile devices. Walmart
operates under 69 different banners in 27
countries. With fiscal year 2012 sales of approximately $444
billion, Walmart employs 2.2 million associates worldwide.
Walmart was founded in 1962, with the opening of the first Walmart discount store in Rogers, Ark. The company
incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., on Oct. 31, 1969.
The company’s shares began trading on OTC markets in
1970 and were listed on the New York Stock Exchange two
The company grew to 276 stores in 11 states by the end
of the decade. In 1983, the company opened its first Sam’s
Club membership warehouse and in 1988 opened the first
supercenter—now the company’s dominant format—featuring
a complete grocery in addition to general merchandise.
Walmart became an international company in 1991 when it
opened its first Sam’s Club near Mexico City.
Most people think discount retailing began in 1962,
the year that Kmart, Target
and Walmart first opened. But
actually, the chain of variety stores
Sam Walton owned during the
1950s faced stiff competition from
many regional discount stores.
1962 – Walmart begins
Before opening Walmart, Sam
Walton traveled the country studying
everything he could about
discount retailing. He became
convinced American consumers
wanted a new type of store. Trusting
his vision, Walton and his wife, Helen, put up 95 percent
of the money for the first Walmart store in Rogers, Ark.
1972 – Walmart goes public
Discounters such as Kmart quickly expanded in the
1960s, while Walton only had enough money to build 15
Walmart stores. In 1972, Walmart stock was offered for the first time on the New York Stock Exchange. With this infusion
of capital, the company grew to 276 stores in 11 states
by the end of the decade.
The 1980s – Walmart comes of age
In 1983, the first Sam’s Club members-warehouse store
opened. The first Supercenter opened in 1988, featuring a
complete grocery and 36 departments of general merchandise.
By 1989, there were 1,402 Walmart stores and 123
Sam’s Club locations. Employment had increased tenfold.
Sales had grown from $1 billion in 1980, to $26 billion.
The 21st century – one of the most successful retailers
in the world
Today, 10,185 stores and club locations in 27 countries
employ 2.2 million associates, serving more than 176 million
customers a year. Walmart’s history is an example of how to
manage growth without losing sight of your values. The company’s
most basic value has always been customer service.
Saving people money to help them live better was the goal Sam
Walton envisioned when he opened the first Walmart. Today,
this mission is more important than ever to the company’s customers
and members around the world. Walmart works hard
in all its markets to deliver on this promise, operating at the
same level of integrity and respect that “Mr. Sam” put in place.
It’s because of these values and culture that Walmart continues
to make a difference in the lives of its customers, members and
associates. —biographical info provided by Walmart