Walmart: What to know about the 'largest retailer in the world'

If you need something, there’s a pretty good chance they have it at Walmart.

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From its dime store beginnings, the company has grown to the massive international corporation it is today. With its mission statement to “save people money so they can live better,” Walmart has a seemingly ubiquitous presence in towns across America.

Whether you’re looking for a job, an investment or just a place to shop, here are five things to know about Walmart:

Size

It’s no secret that Walmart is a big company. Walmart describes itself as the “largest retailer in the world.” The company says it employs 2.2 million people, including 1.5 million in the U.S. It’s the largest employer in the Fortune 500.

In the U.S., Walmart had a total of 5,362 stores as of April 30. Most of those stores are its “Supercenters,” but the company also has a line of discount stores, neighborhood markets, small-format shops, Sam’s Club locations and even eight convenience stores.

Walmart has an all-American reputation, but the majority of its stores are actually located outside the U.S. under a variety of brand names. Some 5,993 of the company’s 11,348 total retail locations fall under its Walmart International branch, which operates in 27 countries.

The company says it serves more than 260 million customers each week.

Finances

Walmart is a public company. It’s listed on the New York Stock Exchange as WMT.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
WMTWALMART INC.131.85+0.50+0.38%

For the fiscal year that ended on Jan. 31, 2019, Walmart reported a total of $514.4 billion in revenue. In 2019, the company’s leadership is expecting net sales growth of about 3 percent.

Last quarter, the company said its revenue was $130.4 billion, which amounted to a 1.8 percent increase.

Walmart has been working to grow its ecommerce business. The company reported 37 percent growth last quarter, thanks in part to strong growth in its online grocery sales.

FILE PHOTO: A Walmart employee helps a customer navigate a flyer at the store in Broomfield, Colorado November 28, 2014. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo (Reuters)

Leadership

Walmart’s president and CEO is Doug McMillon. He has a long history with the company, having worked a summer job at a Walmart distribution center in 1984. McMillon rejoined the company as an assistant manager at a store in Oklahoma and served in various positions with Walmart. Before becoming CEO, he came up through the ranks of the company’s executive leadership, working at different times as the head of Walmart International and Sam’s Club.

A 12-member board of directors also provides corporate governance. Its members include executives from McDonald’s, NBCUniversal, Morgan Stanley and other major businesses.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 06: Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart Inc. Corporation, participates in a Business Roundtable discussion on the"Future of Work in an Era of Automation and Artificial Intelligence", during a CEO Innovation Summit, o

History

Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. Its headquarters remain in nearby Bentonville today.

The company grew quickly and went public in 1970. Its stock originally sold for $16.50 per share — it goes for a lot more than that today.

Walmart continued to grow and reached $1 billion in annual sales for the first time in 1980. The company had more than 200 stores and 21,000 employees by then.

The company opened its first Sam’s Club in 1983 and its first Walmart Supercenter in 1988.

In 1993, Walmart had more than 1,900 stores and celebrated its first $1 billion sales week. The company kept growing, making $100 billion in sales in 1997 and $400 billion in sales in 2009.

MOUNT PROSPECT, IL - AUGUST 15: A worker collects shopping carts outside a Wal-Mart store August 15, 2006 in Mount Prospect, Illinois. Wal-Mart profits fell 26 percent for the quarter, the first time the mega-retail giant posted a decline in profits

Hot issues

Walmart continues to adapt to the changing retail environment. It has reportedly been experimenting with “automated associates” to help shoppers.

In September, the company announced plans to roll out an unlimited grocery delivery subscription service. For $98 per year, customers in more than half the U.S. can get unlimited same-day delivery when ordering from Walmart.

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Walmart has also seen its share of controversies. After shootings at two of its stores over the summer, the company faced criticism over gun sales. Walmart responded by discontinuing the sale of handguns and certain ammunition.

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