Walmart logo, used since June 30, 2008
|Traded as||NYSE: WMT |
Dow Jones Industrial Average Component
|Headquarters||Bentonville, Arkansas, U.S. |
|Number of locations||8,970 (2011)|
|Key people||Mike Duke (President & CEO) |
S. Robson Walton (Chairman)
|Revenue||US$ 421.849 billion (2011)|
|Operating income||US$ 25.542 billion (2011)|
|Net income||US$ 15.355 billion (2011)|
|Total assets||US$ 180.663 billion (2011)|
|Total equity||US$ 68.542 billion (2011)|
|Employees||Approx. 2.1 million (2011)|
|Subsidiaries||Asda, Sam's Club, Seiyu Group, Walmex|
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), branded as Walmart since 2008 and Wal-Mart before then, is an American multinational retailer corporation that runs chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores. The company is the world's 18th largest public corporation, according to the Forbes Global 2000 list, and the largest public corporation when ranked by revenue. It is also the biggest private employer in the world with over 2 million employees, and is the largest retailer in the world.
The company was founded by Sam Walton in 1962, incorporated on October 31, 1969, and publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange in 1972. It is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas. Walmart is also the largest grocery retailer in the United States. In 2009, it generated 51% of its US$258 billion sales in the U.S. from grocery business. It also owns and operates the Sam's Club retail warehouses in North America.
Walmart has 8,500 stores in 15 countries, under 55 different names. The company operates under its own name in the United States, including the 50 states and Puerto Rico. It operates in Mexico as Walmex, in the United Kingdom as Asda, in Japan as Seiyu, and in India as Best Price. It has wholly owned operations in Argentina, Brazil, and Canada. Walmart's investments outside North America have had mixed results: its operations in the United Kingdom, South America and China are highly successful, whereas ventures in Germany and South Korea were unsuccessful.
Incorporation and growth
In October 2005, Walmart announced it would implement several environmental measures to increase energy efficiency. The primary goals included spending $500 million a year to increase fuel efficiency in Walmart's truck fleet by 25% over three years and double it within ten, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% in seven years, reduce energy use at stores by 30%, and cut solid waste from U.S. stores and Sam's Clubs by 25% in three years. CEO Lee Scott said that Walmart's goal was to be a "good steward for the environment" and ultimately use only renewable energy sources and produce zero waste. The company also designed three new experimental stores in McKinney, Texas, Aurora, Colorado, and Las Vegas, Nevada. with wind turbines, photovoltaic solar panels, biofuel-capable boilers, water-cooled refrigerators, and xeriscape gardens. Despite much criticism of its environmental record, Walmart took a few steps in what is viewed as a positive direction, which included becoming the biggest seller of organic milk and the biggest buyer of organic cotton in the world, as well as reducing packaging and energy costs. Wal-Mart also spent nearly a year working with outside consultants to discover the company's total environmental impact and find where they could improve. They discovered, for example, that by eliminating excess packaging on their toy line Kid Connection, they could not only save $2.4 million a year in shipping costs but also 3,800 trees and a million barrels of oil. Walmart has also recently created its own electric company in Texas, Texas Retail Energy, and plans to supply its stores with cheap power purchased at wholesale prices. Through this new venture, the company expects to save $15 million annually and also lays the groundwork and infrastructure to sell electricity to Texas consumers in the future.
In March 2006, Walmart sought to appeal to a more affluent demographic. The company launched a new Supercenter concept in Plano, Texas, intended to compete against stores seen as more upscale and appealing, such as Target. The new store has wood floors, wider aisles, a sushi bar, a coffee/sandwich shop with free Wi-Fi Internet access, and more expensive beers, wines, electronics, and other goods. The exterior has a hunter green background behind the Walmart letters, similar to Neighborhood Market by Walmarts, instead of the blue previously used at its supercenters.
On September 12, 2007, Walmart introduced new advertising with the slogan, "Save Money Live Better," replacing the "Always Low Prices, Always" slogan, which it had used for the previous 19 years. Global Insight, which conducted the research that supported the ads, found that Walmart's price level reduction resulted in savings for consumers of $287 billion in 2006, which equated to $957 per person or $2,500 per household (up 7.3% from the 2004 savings estimate of $2,329).
On June 30, 2008, Walmart unveiled a new company logo, featuring the non-hyphenated name "Walmart" and in place of the star, a symbol that resembles a sunburst or flower. The new logo received mixed reviews from some design critics, who questioned whether the new logo was as bold as competitors, such as the Target bullseye or as instantly recognizable as the former company logo, which was used for 18 years. The new logo made its debut on the company's walmart.com website on July 1, 2008. Walmart's U.S. locations were to update store logos in the fall of 2008, as part of an ongoing evolution of its overall brand. Wal-Mart Canada started to adopt the logo for its stores in early 2009.
On March 20, 2009, Walmart announced that it is paying a combined $933.6 million in bonuses to every full and part time hourly worker of the company. An additional $788.8 million in profit sharing, 401(k) contributions, and hundreds of millions of dollars in merchandise discounts and contributions to the employees' stock purchase plan is also included in this plan. While the economy at large was in an ongoing recession, the largest retailer in the U.S. reported solid financial figures for the most recent fiscal year (ending January 31, 2009), with $401.2 billion in net sales, a gain of 7.2% from the prior year. Income from continuing operations increased 3% to $13.3 billion, and earnings per share rose 6% to $3.35.
On July 16, 2009, Walmart announced plans to develop a worldwide sustainable product index.
In January 2011, at the urging of Michelle Obama and her staff, Wal-Mart announced a program to improve the nutritional values of its store brands over the next five years, gradually reducing the amount of salt and sugar, and eliminating trans fat. Wal-Mart also promised to negotiate with suppliers such as Kraft with respect to nutritional issues. Reductions in the prices of whole foods and vegetables were also promised as well as efforts to open stores in low-income areas, "food deserts", where there are no supermarkets.
On April 23, 2011, the company announced that it was testing its new "Walmart To Go" home delivery system where customers will be able to order specific items offered on their website such as groceries, toiletries, and household supplies. The initial test is in San Jose, California, and the company has not said whether it will be rolled out nationwide.
Walmart Stores U.S.
Walmart Discount Stores
Walmart Market is a chain of grocery stores that average about 42,000 square feet (3,901.9 m). They are used to fill the gap between discount store and supercenters, offering a variety of products, which include full lines of groceries, pharmaceuticals, health and beauty aids, photo developing services, and a limited selection of general merchandise.
The first Walmart Market opened in 1998, in Bentonville, Arkansas. As of April 2011, there are 184 Walmart Markets in the United States.
Supermercado de Walmart
Marketside is a chain of four grocery stores, all in the state of Arizona. The stores opened in October 2008 and are said to be less than half the size of a conventional supermarket. The Marketside branding is also used for some groceries found in Walmart.
Walmart Express is a smaller discount store, with a range of services, from simple grocery shopping, to check cashing, and even gasoline service. The concept is focused on small towns that are not able to support a larger store, and in large cities where physical space is at a premium.
Wal-Mart plans to build 15 to 20 Walmart Express stores, focusing on Arkansas, North Carolina and Chicago, by the end of its fiscal year in January 2012.
"This is about access to breadth of assortment", says Walmart's Anthony Hucker, vice president of strategy and business development.
So far, Walmart Express has opened in Gentry, AK, Prairie Grove, AK, and Chicago, IL.
Walmart's international operations currently comprise 4,263 stores and 660,000 workers in 15 countries outside the United States. There are wholly owned operations in Argentina, Brazil, Canada,and the UK. With 2.1 million employees worldwide, the company is the largest private employer in the US and Mexico, and one of the largest in Canada. In the financial year 2010, Walmart's international division sales were $100 billion, or 24.7% of total sales.
Walmart has operated in Canada since its acquisition of 122 stores comprising the Woolco division of Woolworth Canada, Inc in 1994. As of July 2010, it operates over 300 locations (including 100 Supercentres) and employs 82,000 Canadians, with a local home office in Mississauga, Ontario. Walmart Canada's first three Supercentres (spelled as in Canadian English) opened on November 8, 2006, in Hamilton, London, and Aurora, Ontario. The 100th Canadian Supercentre opened on July 10, 2010, in Victoria, BC. In 2010, Walmart Canada Bank was introduced in Canada with the launch of the Walmart Rewards MasterCard.
In February 2010, the company agreed to buy Vudu, a Silicon Valley start-up whose three-year-old online movie service is being built into an increasing number of televisions and Blu-ray players. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but a person briefed on the deal said the price for the company, which raised $60 million in capital, was over $100 million. It is the third most popular online movie service, with a market share of 5.3 percent.
Private label brands
In 2010, the company teamed with Procter & Gamble to produce Secrets of the Mountain and The Jensen Project, two-hour family movies which featured the characters using Walmart and Procter & Gamble branded products. The Jensen Project also featured a preview of a product to be released in several months in Walmart stores. A third movie, , will air later in 2010 and a fourth is in production. Walmart's director of brand marketing also serves as co-chair of the Association of National Advertisers's Alliance for Family Entertainment.
Finance and governance
For the fiscal year ending January 31, 2011, Wal-Mart reported a net income of $15.4 billion on $422 billion of revenue with a 24.7% gross profit margin). The corporation's international operations accounted for $109.2 billion, or 26.1%, of total sales. It is the world's 18th largest public corporation, according to the Forbes Global 2000 list, and the largest public corporation when ranked by revenue.
Wal-Mart is governed by a fifteen-member Board of Directors, which is elected annually by shareholders. Robson Walton, the eldest son of founder Sam Walton, serves as Chairman of the Board. Michael T. Duke serves as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and Lee Scott, formerly CEO, serves as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board. Other members of the board include Aída Álvarez, Jim Breyer, M. Michele Burns, James Cash, Roger Corbett, Douglas Daft, David Glass, Gregory B. Penner, Allen Questrom, Arne M. Sorenson, Jim Walton, Christopher J. Williams, and Linda S. Wolf. Sam Walton died in 1992. After Walton's death, Don Soderquist, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice Chairman, became known as the "Keeper of the Culture."
Notable former members of the board include Hillary Clinton (1985–1992) and Tom Coughlin (2003–2004), the latter having served as Vice Chairman. Clinton left the board before the 1992 U.S. Presidential Election, and Coughlin left in December 2005 after pleading guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Wal-Mart. On August 11, 2006, he was sentenced to 27 months of home confinement, five years of probation, and ordered to pay US$411,000 in restitution.
In North America, Wal-Mart's primary competition includes department stores like Kmart, Target, ShopKo and Meijer, Canada's Zellers, Hart the Real Canadian Superstore and Giant Tiger, and Mexico's Comercial Mexicana and Soriana. Competitors of Wal-Mart's Sam's Club division are Costco, and the smaller BJ's Wholesale Club chain operating mainly in the eastern US. Wal-Mart's move into the grocery business in the late 1990s also set it against major supermarket chains in both the United States and Canada. Several smaller retailers, primarily dollar stores, such as Family Dollar and Dollar General, have been able to find a small niche market and compete successfully against Wal-Mart for home consumer sales. In 2004, Wal-Mart responded by testing its own dollar store concept, a subsection of some stores called "Pennies-n-Cents."
Wal-Mart also had to face fierce competition in some foreign markets. For example, in Germany it had captured just 2% of German food market following its entry into the market in 1997 and remained "a secondary player" behind Aldi with a 19% share. In July 2006, Wal-Mart announced its withdrawal from Germany. Its stores were sold to German company Metro. Wal-Mart continues to do well in the UK, and its Asda subsidiary is the second largest chain after Tesco.
In May 2006, after entering the South Korean market in 1998, Wal-Mart withdrew and sold all 16 of its South Korean outlets to Shinsegae, a local retailer, for $882 million. Shinsegae re-branded the Wal-Marts as E-mart stores.
Wal-Mart struggled to export its brand elsewhere as it rigidly tried to reproduce its model overseas. In China, Wal-Mart hopes to succeed by adapting and doing things preferable to Chinese citizens. For example, it found that Chinese consumers preferred to select their own live fish and seafood; stores began displaying the meat uncovered and installed fish tanks, leading to higher sales.
Employee and labor relations
Gender and sexual orientation
In 2007, a gender discrimination lawsuit, Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., was filed against Walmart, alleging that female employees were discriminated against in matters regarding pay and promotions. A class action suit was sought, which would have been the nation's largest in history, covering 1.5 million past and current employees of Wal-Mart. On June 20, 2011, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Wal-Mart's favor, stating that the plaintiffs did not have enough in common to constitute a class. The court ruled unanimously that because of the variability of the plaintiffs' circumstances, the class action could not proceed as presented, and furthermore, in a 5-4 decision that it could not proceed as any kind of class action suit. However, several plaintiffs, including Ms. Dukes, still intend to file individual discrimination lawsuits separately.
According to a consultant hired by plaintiffs in a sex discrimination lawsuit, in 2001, Wal-Mart's EEOC filings showed that female employees made up 65% of Wal-Mart's hourly paid workforce, but only 33% of its management. Just 35% of its store managers were women, whereas 57% were at comparable retailers. Wal-Mart says comparisons with other retailers are unfair, because it classifies employees differently; if department managers were included in the totals, women would make up 60% of the managerial ranks. Others have criticized the lawsuit as without basis in the law and as an abuse of the class action mechanism. In 2007, Wal-Mart was named by the National Association for Female Executives as one of the top 35 companies for Executive Women.
Wal-Mart's rating on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, a measure of how companies treat LGBT employees and customers, has fluctuated widely during the past decade, from a low of 14% (2002) to 65% (2006). They were praised for expanding their antidiscrimination policy protecting gay and lesbian employees, as well as for a new definition of "family" that included same-sex partners. However, they have been criticized in other areas, such as not renewing its membership in the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, which is reflected in their 2008 rating of 40% (compared to Target at 80% and Kmart at 100%).
In January 2006, Wal-Mart announced that "diversity efforts include new groups of minority, female and gay employees that meet at Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville to advise the company on marketing and internal promotion. There are seven Business Resource Groups: women, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, Gays and Lesbians, and a disabled group."
Television and film
- Official website (Mobile)
- Walmart companies grouped at OpenCorporates
- Walmart Corporate Site
- Watching the Growth of Walmart Across America
- Lobbying and campaign contributions at OpenSecrets.org
- American Express
- Bank of America
- Cisco Systems
- The Coca-Cola Company
- General Electric
- The Home Depot
- Johnson & Johnson
- JPMorgan Chase
- Kraft Foods
- Merck & Co.
- Procter & Gamble
- The Travelers Companies
- United Technologies Corporation
- Verizon Communications
- The Walt Disney Company
- Altria Group
- American International Group
- American Tobacco Company
- Bethlehem Steel
- Colorado Fuel and Iron
- General Foods
- General Motors
- Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
- International Harvester
- International Paper
- Johns Manville
- Nash Motors
- Navistar International
- North American Company
- Sears, Roebuck and Company
- Union Carbide
- United States Rubber Company
- U.S. Steel
- F. W. Woolworth Company
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