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A Corporate Giant

A Corporate Beast

This case discusses:

• Introduction to Wal-Mart
• History of Wal-Mart
• The Road to Success - Corporate Strategy
• The Criticism and the Challenges
• Wal-Mart’s PR strategy
• The Road ahead
Wal-Mart – An Introduction
• American public corporation that runs a chain of large,
discount department stores

• World's largest public corporation by revenue

• Largest private employer in the world

• Fourth largest utility or commercial employer

• Largest grocery retailer in the United States ( 20% )

• Largest toy seller in the United States ( 22% )

Wal-Mart at a Glance
• Founded - Arkansas, USA(1962) by Sam Walton
• Headquarters - Bentonville, Arkansas, U.S.A.
• Products - Discount Stores, Super centers,
Neighborhood Markets
• Revenue - US$ 351.1 billion (2007)
(Ranked # 1 on Fortune 500 list)
• Net income - US$ 11.3 billion (2007)
• Total assets - US$ 151.193 billion (2007)
• Total equity - US$ 61.573 billion (2007)
• Employees - 1.9 million (2007)
• Slogans - The Lowest Prices. Guaranteed!
- Save Money, Live Better (U.S.)
- WE SELL FOR LESS every day! (Canada)
Wal-Mart at a Glance (contd..)

List of Assets
In U.S.A.-
• Wal-Mart Stores Division U.S. (3,900)
• Wal-Mart Discount Stores (1,033)
• Wal-Mart Super centers (2,349)
• Wal-Mart Neighborhood Markets (124)
• Sam’s Clubs(585)

• Stores in 14 countries outside U.S. (2980)
• Joint venture with Bharti Enterprises to enter India(2006)
History of Wal-Mart
• Sam Walton - The man behind it all
• Born in a farmer’s family in Kingfisher,
Oklahoma on March 29, 1918
• Graduated from the University of Missouri
in 1940.
• First job – at JC Penney at $ 75 a month
• Gave up job and opened his first store
in Arkansas in 1950- Walton’s 5 & dime
• 11 stores by 1962. Opened 1st Wal-Mart
At the opening, Walton stated,
"Each Wal-Mart store should reflect the values
of its customers and support the vision they hold for their community."
History of Wal-Mart (contd..)
• Opportunities in small towns along with innovative practices
like self service
• By 1969, Walton had established 18 Wal-Mart stores,
reporting an annual sale of $44 million
• Commenting on the growth of Wal-Mart, Walton said:
“When we arrived in these small towns offering low prices every day,
customer satisfaction guaranteed, and hours that were realistic for
the way people wanted to shop, we passed right by that old variety
store competition, with its 45 percent mark ups, limited selection and
limited hours.”
• Focus on overseas expansion in 90’s
• In 2000, H. Lee Scott became President and CEO, and Wal-
Mart's sales increased to $165 billion

Wal-Mart was quickly becoming a global giant

(But was the true story really this glorious???)
History of Wal-Mart (contd..)
• In 1998, Walton was included in Time Magazine's list of 100
most influential people of the 20th Century

• Forbes ranked Sam Walton as the richest man in the United

States from 1985 to 1988

• Supported various charitable causes,

including those of his church,
the Presbyterian Church (USA)

• Wrote an autobiography –
“Sam Walton Made in America-My Story”

• Sales increased from US $11.6 million

in 1967 to US $315.3 billion in 2007
The Corporate Strategy
• Sam Walton gave 3 policy goals to define Wal-Mart's
business –
# Respect for the individual
# Service to customers
# Strive for excellence

• Walton’s practices-
# Consistently stock the shelves with a wide range of
goods at low prices

# Keep the store open later than most other stores,

especially during the Christmas season

# Discount merchandising-
- Buy wholesale goods from the lowest priced supplier
- Pass on the savings to the customer
The Corporate Strategy (contd..)
Strategic Goals
Three successful elements of strategy formulation and a
fourth element, where the strategy is implemented

• Dominate the Retail Market wherever Wal-Mart has a

• Growth by expansion in the US and Internationally
• Create widespread name recognition and customer
satisfaction with the Wal-Mart brand, and associate the
retailer with the reputation of offering the best prices
• Branching out into new sectors of retailing such as
pharmacies, automotive repair, and grocery sales
Lee Scott, CEO, Wal-Mart- “When a store is in place, its goal is
to dominate its local competition in every department of
merchandise sold, to become the number one retailer in that
The Corporate Strategy (contd..)
Competitive Strategy-
• Dominate every sector where it does
• Measure success in terms of sales and
dominance over competitors
(doesn’t mind putting some of them
out of business)
• Sell goods at low process, outsell competitors, and to expand
A typical Wal-Mart model is to build more stores, make existing
stores bigger, and to expand into other sectors of retail

Company Mission- As Wal-Mart continues to grow into new areas and

new mediums, our success will always be attributed to our culture.
Whether you walk into a Wal-Mart store in your hometown or one
across the country while you're on vacation, you can always be
assured you're getting low prices and that genuine customer service
you've come to expect from us. You'll feel at home in any
department of any store...that's our culture
The Corporate Strategy (contd..)
Practices followed-
• Aggressive hospitality
# Using door-greeters
# Patriotic themes and displays in stores
# Compels its staff to engage in morning cheers
• Affiliations with charities
The United Way and Children's Miracle Network
• Sundown Rule
All customer and supplier requests or queries must be
reasonably answered within 24 hrs by all employees
• Ten Foot Rule
Store employees must greet, smile, and attend to a customer
in a store when within 10 feet of them
The Cookie begins to crumble
Criticism of Wal-Mart
Local communities
• Store openings-
→ At sites of archaeological relevance in Mexico
→ At American Indian burial grounds and a Civil War battle site
in Tennessee
• Economic Impact-
→ In a paper published in Farm
Foundation in 1997, Kenneth Stone,
Professor of Economics at Iowa State
University found that some small
towns can lose almost half of their
retail trade within ten years of a
Wal-Mart store opening
→ Traditional Mom’s & Pop’s
forced out of business
Criticism of Wal-Mart
Pricing and Competition Issues
→ Sued by many competitors for predatory pricing (intentionally
selling a product at low cost in order to drive competitors out
of the market)
→ Investigated by the Federal Competition Commission for
“monopolistic practices”
→ Retailer pressured suppliers to sell goods below cost or at
prices significantly less than those available to other stores
→ in 2003, the German High Court ruled that Wal-Mart's low cost
pricing strategy "undermined competition" and ordered Wal-
Mart to raise it’s prices
→ Wal-Mart sells all its stores in Germany
→ Accused of using monopsony power to force its suppliers into
self-defeating practices
Criticism of Wal-Mart
Employee and labor relations
• Wages

→ A Substantial Number of Wal-Mart Associates earn far

below the poverty line
# In 2001, sales associates, the most common job in Wal-
Mart, earned on average $8.23 an hour for annual wages of
$13,861. The 2001 poverty line for a family of three was

#A 2003 wage analysis reported that cashiers, the second

most common job, earn approximately $7.92 per hour and
work 29 hours a week. This brings in annual wages of only
Criticism of Wal-Mart
→ Wal-Mart Associates don't earn enough to support a
# For basic needs, the average 2-person family needed
$27,948 in 2005.Wal-Mart claimed that its average
associate earned $9.68/hr in 2005($17,114 annually)

Sam Walton - "I pay low wages. I can take advantage of that. We're
going to be successful, but the basis is a very low-wage, low-
benefit model of employment.“

→ Wal-Mart managers are judged, in part, based on their

ability to control payroll costs
→ Wal-Mart's 2006 Annual Report reported that the company
faced 57 wage and hour lawsuits

→ 1.6 million women workers filed a lawsuit of gender

discrimination in 2004 - the largest nationwide civil lawsuit
against a private company ever.
Criticism of Wal-Mart
• Working conditions

→ In 2000, Wal-Mart paid $50 million to settle a class-action suit

that asserted that 69,000 current and former Wal-Mart
employees in Colorado had been forced to work off-the-clock
→ In December 2005, a California court ordered Wal-Mart to pay
$172 million in damages for failing to provide meal breaks to
nearly 116,000 hourly workers
→ On October 16, 2006, 200 workers at Wal-Mart Super Center,
Florida, walked out in protest against new store policies and
rallied outside the store, shouting "We want justice", criticizing
the company's recent policies as "inhuman“.
→ A report by Congressman Miller alleged that in ten percent of
Wal-Mart's stores, night-time employees were locked inside,
holding them prisoner.
Criticism of Wal-Mart
Criticism of Wal-Mart
• Child labor violations and Illegal workers

→ Internal Wal-Mart audit conducted in July 2000-

# 1,371 instances of minors working too late, during school
hours, or for too many hours in a day
#60,767 missed breaks and 15,705 lost meal times
→ Wal-Mart agreed to pay $135,540 to settle child labor violation
charges in January 2005
→ Wal-Mart has also been fined $205,650 for 1,436 violations of
child labor laws in Maine for the period 1995 to 1998
→ On October 23, 2003, federal agents raided 61 Wal-Mart
stores in 21 states of The United States, in a crackdown
known as, "Operation Rollback," resulting in the arrests of 250
nightshift janitors who were undocumented.
→ Wal-Mart pays $11million to settle this lawsuit.
Criticism of Wal-Mart
• Health Insurance

→ Wal-Mart reported in January 2006 that its health insurance

only covers 43% of their employees. Wal-Mart had
approximately 1.39 million US employees that time
→ Wal-Mart increased advertising more than health care
→ According to Wal-Mart’s website, "In January 2006,
...Coverage will be available for as little as $22 per month for
→ What the website leaves out- Coverage is affordable, but
using it will bankrupt many employees. Includes a $1,000
deductible for single coverage and a $3,000 deductible for
family coverage
→ President and CEO Lee Scott in 2005- "In some of our states,
the public program may actually be a better value - with relatively
high income limits to qualify, and low premiums."
Criticism of Wal-Mart
• Labor union opposition

→ Efforts of UFCW (United Food and

Commercial Workers Union) to
interact with workers, foiled each
→ Wal-Mart closed its store in Quebec
in April 2005 after its employees
received union certification
→ Wal-Mart has issued "A Manager's Toolbox to Remaining
Union Free“
→ In 2000, a small meat cutting department successfully
organized a union at a Wal-Mart store in Texas.
→ Wal-Mart responded a week later by announcing the phase-
out of its in-store meat cutting company-wide.
Criticism of Wal-Mart
• Taxes

→ The estimated total amount of federal assistance for which

Wal-Mart employees were eligible in 2004 was $2.5 billion
→ One 200-employee Wal-Mart store may cost federal taxpayers
$420,750 per year. This cost comes from the following, on
The Wal-Mart Reaction
• Sam Walton launched the “Buy American” campaign in the
1980s.Agreed to pay 5% more for products made in US.
• In December 1992, in an interview with NBC program
Dateline, CEO David Glass on non-American labor and low
wages and child labor-”We are equally dependent on American
factories and ‘Buy American’ is still active”
• Not satisfied, NBC showed “Made in USA” labels being hung
over merchandize bought from overseas in most of the Wal-
Mart stores.
• Glass said- “Its some sort of a mistake at store level, and we don’t
buy from any vendor that uses child labor.”
• During the interview, Glass is shown videos of child labor
working in plants. What does Glass say??
“We take care that we rely least on child labor”
The Wal-Mart Reaction
“No Comments”, says Wal-Mart
• Few weeks later, Glass returned for another interview, saying
he wasn’t prepared with the facts the last time.
• Fair enough, NBC says. Glass maintains there's no child labor
in Bangladesh stores.
• NBC shows videos. Glass fumes, saying videos were
doctored, and walks out.
• No more details revealed to the media.
• Another interview….same story
• Interview with “60 minutes” (the most reputed news show in
the USA) in 1994. Wal-Mart charged with impairing growth of
small stores. Wal-Mart held its silence.
• On launch of Supercenters in mid-1990s, local officials
responded vaguely to media queries and directed them to
their annual reports.
The Wal-Mart Reaction
• Even in the situations when PR could’ve helped the company,
the executives faltered.
• When Wal-Mart entered Canada in 1995, company officials
seemed very unsure and dubious during a press meeting.
• Result - Newspapers carry out articles ridiculing the
company’s poor public relations-”Short of substance”,
“Circumspect”, ”Executives skirt major questions”.
• The National Organization for Women demonstrated in front
of Wal-Mart stores, calling it “Merchant of Shame”, distributed
cards reading – “Wal-Mart: Always Low Prices, But Who
• Protests begin to mushroom from every corner. Wal-Mart still
holds its silence.
Not for long though
The Wal-Mart Reaction

For most of its 43 years, Wal-Mart has been notoriously tight-lipped.

A 2004 report prepared by McKinsey & Company for Wal-Mart found

that 2% – 8% of Wal-Mart consumers surveyed have ceased
shopping at the chain because of "negative press they have heard.“

“The sleeping giant has to be awakened and has to emerge with a

defensive posture and a take-no-prisoners attitude.”
-Gail. F. baker, PR Expert, University of Florida

“I think they are going to have a tough time suddenly overcoming the
perceptions of some people. It is going to be a tough sell on their
part.” - Larry Bevington, Chairman, Save our Community
The Wal-Mart Reaction
Wal-Mart does wake up…But is it too late??

“For too long others have had free rein to say things about
our company that just aren’t true. We’ve decided it’s time to
draw our own line in the sand.”
- Lee Scott, CEO, Wal-Mart Inc.

• A “DO or DIE” situation for the giant retail chain

• To face the communication crisis, a PR team is put in place
• A PR campaign is launched in over 100 newspapers under CEO
Lee Scott on January 13, 2004
• Jay Allen, Senior VP, Corporate Affairs, said campaigns aimed at
long term solution to improve the tarnished image. NOT a
response to “any specific charges” raised recently.
• With newspapers including New York Times and Wall Street
Journal among others, criticism on money “wasted”
• CEO issued an open letter in the ads stating that the company
provides “good jobs with excellent advancement opportunities.”
The Wal-Mart Reaction
• Wal-Mart’s Benefits Manager sent a letter to New York Times,
ascertaining that the company provided health benefits to its
• District Manager wrote a similar letter to The Salt Lake
• CEO, Lee Scott, became the first Wal-Mart person to address
the National Retailer Federation Trade Group, condemning
the media’s wide coverage on lawsuits against the company.
“If our policies had been so bad, then the chain wouldn’t have grown
to this size, attracting such a large customer base.”
• Moving away from the low prices, company focussed on
creating goodwill to restore its image.
• TV commercials showed employees giving testimonials about
the benefits they get at the company
The Wal-Mart Reaction
• Accelerating the image makeover, Wal-Mart increased its
political donations to $1 million
• In an alliance with NPR (National Public Radio), Wal-Mart
announced in radio shows about being a good employer and
bringing job opportunities and quality goods and services to
local communities
• Began offering scholarships for journalistic studies in about 10
universities all across the USA
• But despite all this, the problems didn’t die. Lawsuits kept on
increasing by the day, anti-Wal-Mart communities began to
Was Wal-Mart’s sheer size the main problem??
“Wal-Mart’s very success may be working against it. Big empires are
hard to manage, and the public tends to mistrust institutions that get
too mighty” – A brand analyst
The Wal-Mart Reaction
• Wal-Mart recruited former presidential advisers, including
Michael K. Deaver (Ronald Reagan's image-maker), and
Leslie Dach (Bill Clinton's media consultant) to set up a rapid-
response PR team in Arkansas.
• Result- On January 13, 2005, millions of Americans opened
their morning papers to find a full-page ad declaring, "Wal-Mart
is working for everyone," and signed by Lee Scott.
• Same morning, Lee Scott appeared on Good Morning
America, Fox News, and CNBC
• Scott called the company's carefully orchestrated PR
campaign "an outreach.“
• BUT, Scott didn't pull it off. On-screen he was reserved and
careful. His gaze was flat, his smile thin and forced. His low-
key manner in the face of critical allegations came off as
The Wal-Mart Reaction
• Scott kept promising to tell the real story and provide the real
facts. But from one interview to the next, it became clear that
the retailer only wanted to tell part of the story and share
“certain” facts
• When asked on Good Morning America how much Wal-Mart
imports from China, Scott said he didn't know.
ABSURD??...Coming from a company known for tracking
practically everything, pretty much yes.
• Wal-Mart believed the cause of the bad image to be the lack
of awareness among the public.
• So, it thought the image would automatically be restored if the
facts were made available to the people.
• This resulted in the launch of a website,
• Had links to all the labor policies, lawsuits, benefits to the
employees and philanthropic activities undertaken by the
The Wal-Mart Reaction
• Wal-Mart also bought paid search ads from Yahoo! and
• A basic search on Yahoo! resulted in a sponsored link to the
site saying, “Who drives Wal-Mart? Want to
know the facts? Go to”
• Wal-Mart planned to create 100,000 new jobs in the United
States in 2005
• Promoted more than 9,000 people from hourly jobs to salaried
management jobs and made sure that this deed was made
known to the entire nation through advertisements in both TV
and print media.

But was the extensive PR campaign serving its purpose or

was it adding on to the never ending woes of Wal-Mart??
PR bloopers
• Wal-Mart's ads trumpet its workers' average pay: nearly twice
the federal minimum!
• Specifically, it's $9.68 an hour. Given Wal-Mart's 34-hour
workweek, and deducting the health premiums and federal
taxes, it comes out to about $1,200 per month
• Analysts criticized this and asked Scott to try living off this
income before bragging about it
• Wal-Mart hires heavy-hitting public relations firm Edelman
• Wal-Mart and Edelmen come up with an advocacy group -
Working Families for Wal-Mart
• According to the organization's official website,
"Working Families for Wal-Mart is committed to fostering open and
honest dialogue with elected officials, opinion makers and
community leaders that conveys the positive contributions of Wal-
Mart to working families.”
PR bloopers
• Former U.N. ambassador Andrew Young
chosen to chair the company-funded
Working Families for Wal-Mart.
• In an interview with an African American
newspaper in LA, Young says the
mega retailer "should" displace its
urban corner-store competition.
"You see, those are the people who have been overcharging us....
I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews,
then it was Koreans, and now it's Arabs.“
• This comment attracted a lot of criticism and as a result
Young had to leave.
• Wal-Mart VC, Thomas Coughlin cooked up fraudulent
expense invoices in a scam to siphon off $500,000 over the
course of seven years, at the expense of using the money for
an antiunion initiative. Exposed by media
PR bloopers
• In September 2005, Edelman comes up with a new blog
called Wal-Marting Across America on the internet.
• The blog documents the “spontaneous” discoveries of RV-
traveling mega store fans Jim and Laura as they pull over to
chat with happy Wal-Mart employees.
• It neglects to mention that Wal-Mart arranged Jim and Laura's
itinerary, paid for the RV, and compensated them for the blog
• Exposed by, the stunt was especially bad
news for Edelman, since it violated ethical guidelines,
something Edelman had been known to comply with.
• offers DVD shoppers helpful recommendations
for films they might be interested in purchasing.
• However it didn’t turn out to be that helpful when the results of
searches for some DVDs were made public.
PR bloopers
• Customers searched for :
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Planet of the Apes
• They were steered toward "similar items" such as :
Martin Luther King: I Have a Dream
Assassination of Martin Luther King
Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
• Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams says the company is
"heartsick" over the incident but has "absolutely no evidence"
that the connections were made intentionally.
• An innocent error or an intended poke at people of African
American origin??
• Whatever the truth may be, Wal-Mart instead of dowsing the
fire, kept on fanning the flames.
Anti-Wal-Mart groups
• Over the years, several groups had come up, to bring to light the
facts the public didn’t know about Wal-Mart
• Wake Up Wal-Mart - a union-backed campaign group affiliated
with the UFCW, founded in April, 2005
• The centerpiece of the
organization is its website
• Exposes all the facts and
problems which the

• Wal-Mart Watch, formed in the spring of 2005, is a joint project

of The Center for Community and Corporate Ethics, a non-profit
organization studying the impact of large corporations on society
Anti-Wal-Mart groups

• Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, a documentary film

released in 2005, presents an unfavorable picture of Wal-
Mart's business practices through interviews with former
employees, small business owners, and Wal-Mart executives.
• The movie has been seen by millions and has been highly
acclaimed critically as well.
• New York Times had this to say - “BREATHTAKING”
• Wal-Mart came up with its own DVD film, defending its
practices entitled Why Wal-Mart Works, and Why That Drives
Some People C-R-A-Z-Y.
But couldn’t undo the magnitude of damage already done.
Ten Steps to Turn Around Wal-Mart
• Stop defending and start examining:
“You can't address what you don't acknowledge”.
Be prepared to accept responsibility, acknowledge difficult
truths, and construct a plan for productive change.
Begin a truly transparent process

4. Fire your consultants:

For years, Wal-Mart stayed clear of any form of PR,
following Sam Walton’s policy that it’s a waste of money.
But when it did, it hired a rogue's gallery of spinmeisters
who've worked for Reagan, Clinton, Kerry, and Bush.
All they did was reinforce Wal-Mart’s defensive posture,
collected fat checks, and tried to win debating points in the
consumer culture
Remember, consumers don't pay attention to all those
fancy words. They go for fairness.
Ten Steps to Turn Around Wal-Mart
1. Leverage your size to help your 1.6 million employees in
unexpected ways :
Make Wal-Mart an employer of choice instead of the
exhaust system of the American economy.
Support the communities you do business in by using your
infrastructure and helping local school districts pool their
buying and save on textbooks and other merchandise.

5. Talk to the unions :

You've spent years fighting and villainizing them.
It’s time to think about the impossible: a solution that would
let the unions in.
Consumers wouldn’t mind spending an extra penny,
knowing its providing for health care for families.
Ten Steps to Turn Around Wal-Mart
• Support mom and pops :
Start helping mom and pops in some imaginative ways.
For eg., start a referral network
Let the customers know where they can find the stuff you
are never going to store. You end up making two friends –
the local store and the customers.

5. Expand your vendor base :

Actively seek out small, innovative companies with exciting
new products, and help them grow.
Help the new entrepreneurs get stronger. Customers get
bored by the same products on the shelf and they want to
see you reach out to everyone.
Ten Steps to Turn Around Wal-Mart
1. Stop treating your employees like commodities :
Demonstrate your commitment to getting people out of the
minimum wage sinkhole as quickly as possible.
Encourage your employees in entrepreneurship. Take pride in
how many employees start a new company each year.
You lose employees but it’s great PR to lose good people for
the right reason

6. Open up your business :

Become less impenetrable. Act like you have nothing to hide.
Install “factory-cams” at your captive manufacturing plants
around the world, so anyone can check out the conditions
24/7 on your website
Let management and store personnel blog
Talk to the reporters
Ten Steps to Turn Around Wal-Mart
1. Use your extended warranty marketing as a model for other
new services :
Don’t give a chance to consumer advocates to raise a finger on
the credibility of these policies.
Offer discounts on future purchases, upon a single purchase
above a certain amount.

5. Kill the big holiday TV campaigns :

You can’t afford health care benefits but you can afford to pay
over-priced celebrities to dance around the TV screen??
No one would believe that these celebrities shop at Wal-Mart.
Instead, run advertising that shows how Wal-Mart democratizes
the holiday for real people.

Make Wal-Mart an admired company, instead of a feared one.

The Wal-Mart Timeline
• 1962: Company founded and opens first store in Rogers, Ark.
• 1967: 24 stores total $12.6 million in sales
• 1968: Expands out of Arkansas, opening in Sikeston, Mo., and Claremore,
• 1969: Company incorporates, becoming Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Oct. 31.
• 1970: First distribution center opens in Bentonville, Ark.; Wal-Mart stock first
• 1971: First 100 percent stock split in May (market price: $47), stores in five
• 1972: Stock listed on New York Stock Exchange
• 1973: Enters Tennessee
• 1974: Stores opens in Kentucky and Mississippi
• 1975: Enters Texas
• 1977: First acquisition: 16 Mohr-Value stores in Michigan and Illinois
• 1978: Acquires Hutcheson Shoe Company; pharmacy, auto center and
jewelry divisions introduced
• 1979: Exceeds $1 billion in sales and enters Alabama, its 11th state
• 1980: Distribution center opens in Palestine, Texas
• 1981: Enters Georgia and South Carolina, acquires 92 Kuhn's Big K stores
• 1982: Enters Florida and Nebraska
• 1983: First Sam's Club opens in Midwest City, Okla.; acquires U.S. Woolco
Stores; first one-hour photo lab opens in Tulsa, Okla.; stores open in
Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico and North Carolina
The Wal-Mart Timeline
• 1984: Enters Virginia
• 1985: Enters Wisconsin and Colorado, acquires Grand Central Stores
• 1986: Enters Minnesota
• 1987: 25th anniversary, now 1,198 stores, 200,000 employees and sales of
$15.9 billion
• 1988: First Supercenter opens in Washington, Mo.; 16 distribution centers in
• 1989: Wal-Mart in 26 states with the addition of Michigan, West Virginia,
and Wyoming
• 1990: Wal-Mart becomes nation's No. 1 retailer; acquires McLane Company
of Temple, Texas; enters California, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania,
South Dakota and Utah
• 1991: Acquires Western Merchandisers, Inc., of Amarillo, Texas; enters
Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey
and New York; introduces Sam's American Choice brand; enters
international market with Mexico City
• 1992: Founder Sam Walton dies April 5; now in 45 states with the addition
of Idaho, Montana and Oregon; Wal-Mart enters Puerto Rico
• 1993: Forms international division and enters Alaska, Hawaii, Rhode Island
and Washington; has first $1 billion sales week in December; acquires Pace
• 1994: Acquires 122 Woolco stores in Canada; opens three value clubs in
Hong Kong; now has 123 stores in Canada and 96 in Mexico
The Wal-Mart Timeline
• 1995: Chain has 1,995 Wal-Mart stores, 239 Supercenters, 433 Sam's Club
and 276 international stores, with 675,000 employees and sales of $93.6
billion; Wal-Mart enters its 50th state, Vermont, and builds three stores in
Argentina and five in Brazil
• 1996: Enters China
• 1997: Becomes the No. 1 U.S. employer, with 680,000 domestic employees
and 115,000 internationally serving more than 90 million customers a week
worldwide; Wal-Mart replaces Woolworth on the DJIA; has first $100 billion
sales year
• 1998: Introduces Neighborhood Market concept in Arkansas; acquires 21
Wertkauf stores in Germany and enters Korea
• 1999: With 1,140,000 employees, Wal-Mart becomes world's largest private
employer; acquires 74 Interspar units in Germany; acquires 229 stores from
ASDA Group in the United Kingdom
• 2002: Purchases a 34 percent interest in Seiyu Ltd., with more than 400
stores in Japan, with options to purchase up to 66.7 percent; has its biggest
single-day sales: $1.45 billion on Black Friday
• 2004: As of January, chain at 4,844 total stores internationally, 103
distribution centers, 1.5 million employees and sales in 2003 of $244.5
Thank You