Sam Walton, a businessman from Arkansas, began his retail career when hestarted work on June 3, 1940, at a J.C. Penneystore inDes Moines, Iowawherehe remained for 18 months. In 1945, he metButler Brothers, a regionalretailerthat owned a chain of variety storescalledBen Franklinand that offered him oneinNewport, Arkansas.Walton was extremely successful in running the store in Newport, far exceedingexpectations. However, when the lease came up for renewal, Walton couldneither come to agreement on the existing store's lease renewal nor find a newlocation in Newport. Instead, he opened a new Ben Franklin franchise inBentonville, Arkansas, but called it "Walton's Five and Dime." There, he achievedhigher sales volume by marking up slightly less than most competitors.On July 2, 1962, Walton opened the first Wal-Mart Discount City store located at719 Walnut Ave. inRogers, Arkansas. The building is now occupied by ahardware store and a pawn shop. Within five years, the company expanded to 24stores acrossArkansasand reached $12.6 million in sales. In 1968, it opened itsfirst stores outside Arkansas, inSikeston, MissouriandClaremore, Oklahoma.
Incorporation and growth
The company wasincorporatedas Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. on October 31, 1969. In1970, it opened its home office and first distribution center inBentonville,Arkansas. It had 38 stores operating with 1,500 employees and sales of $44.2million. It began trading stock as apublicly held companyon October 1, 1970,and was soon listed on theNew York Stock Exchange. The firststock splitoccurred in May 1971 at a market price of $47. By this time, Wal-Mart wasoperating in five states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Oklahoma; it