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The current Walmart logo.

Walmart Inc. (formerly Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.) is an American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores, and grocery stores.

The company was founded by Sam Walton in 1962 and incorporated on October 31, 1969. It is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas. Walmart is also the largest grocery retailer in the United States. It also owns and operates the Sam's Club retail warehouses in North America.

Walmart has 11,277 stores and clubs in 27 countries, operating under 55 different names. The company operates under its own name in the United States and Canada, including the 50 states and Puerto Rico. It has wholly owned operations in Argentina, Chile, Canada, and South Africa. 

HistoryEdit

Sam Walton, a businessman from Arkansas, began his retail career when he started work on June 3, 1940, at a J. C. Penney store in Des Moines, Iowa where he remained for 18 months. In 1945, he met Butler Brothers, a regional retailer that owned a chain of variety stores called Ben Franklin and that offered him one in Newport, Arkansas.

Walton was extremely successful in running the store in Newport, far exceeding expectations. However, when the lease came up for renewal, Walton could neither come to agreement on the existing store's lease renewal nor find a new location in Newport. Instead, he opened a new Ben Franklin franchise in Bentonville, Arkansas, but called it "Walton's Five and Dime."

On July 2, 1962, Walton opened the first Wal-Mart Discount City store located at 719 Walnut Ave. in Rogers, Arkansas. The building is now occupied by a hardware store and an antique mall. Within five years, the company expanded to 24 stores across Arkansas and reached $12.6 million in sales. In 1968, it opened its first stores outside Arkansas, in Sikeston, Missouri and Claremore, Oklahoma.

Incorporation and growthEdit

In the 1980s, Walmart continued to grow rapidly, and by its 25th anniversary in 1987 there were 1,198 stores. In 1988, Sam Walton stepped down as CEO and was replaced by David Glass. Walton remained as Chairman of the Board, and the company also rearranged other people in senior positions.

In 1988, the first Walmart Supercenter opened in Washington, Missouri.

In 1998, Walmart introduced the Neighborhood Market concept with three stores in Arkansas. By 2005, estimates indicate that the company controlled about 20% of the retail grocery and consumables business.

In 2000, H. Lee Scott became President and CEO, and Walmart's sales increased to $165 billion. In 2002, it was listed for the first time as America's largest corporation on the Fortune 500 list. It has remained there every year, except for 2006.

In 2005, Walmart had more than 6,200 facilities around the world—including 3,800 stores in the United States and 2,800 elsewhere, employing more than 1.6 million "associates" worldwide. Its U.S. presence grew so rapidly that only small pockets of the country remained further than 60 miles (100 km) from the nearest Wal-Mart.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in September 2005, Walmart was able to use its logistical efficiency in organizing a rapid response to the disaster, donating $20 million in cash, 1,500 truckloads of free merchandise, food for 100,000 meals, as well as the promise of a job for every one of its displaced workers.

Recent initiatives Edit

In October 2005, Walmart announced it would implement several environmental measures to increase energy efficiency. The primary goals included 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. Walmart 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.

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.

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 made its debut on the company's walmart.com website on July 1, 2008.

On February 22, 2010, the company confirming it was acquiring video streaming company Vudu, Inc. for an estimated $100 million.

Operating divisionsEdit

Walmart's operations are organized into three divisions: Walmart Stores U.S., Sam's Club, and Walmart International. The company does business in nine different retail formats: supercenters, food and drugs, general merchandise stores, bodegas (small markets), cash and carry stores, membership warehouse clubs, apparel stores, soft discount stores and restaurants.

Walmart Stores U.S.Edit

Walmart Stores U.S. is the company's largest division. It consists of three retail formats that have become commonplace in the United States: Discount Stores, Supercenters, and Walmart Markets. The retail department stores sell a variety of mostly non-grocery products, though emphasis has now shifted towards supercenters, which include more grocery items. This division also includes Walmart's online retailer, walmart.com.

Walmart Discount StoresEdit

Walmart discount stores are discount department stores about the size of an average store. They carry general merchandise and a selection of groceries. Many of these stores also have a garden center, a pharmacy, Tire & Lube Express, optical center, one-hour photo processing lab, portrait studio, a bank branch, a cell phone store and a fast food outlet. Some also have gasoline stations.

The first Walmart store opened in Rogers, Arkansas in 1962.

In 1990, Walmart opened its first Bud's Discount City location in Bentonville. Bud's operated as a closeout store, much like Big Lots. Many locations were opened to fulfill leases in shopping centers as Walmart stores left and moved into newly built Supercenters. All of the Bud's Discount City stores closed or converted into Walmart Discount Stores by 1997.

Walmart SupercenterEdit

Walmart Supercenters are hypermarkets that includes everything a Walmart discount store does, and also include a full-service supermarket, including meat and poultry, baked goods, delicatessen, frozen foods, dairy products, garden produce, and fresh seafood. Many Walmart Supercenters also have a garden center, pet shop, pharmacy, Tire & Lube Express, optical center, one-hour photo processing lab, portrait studio, and numerous alcove shops, such as cellular phone stores, hair and nail salons, video rental stores, local bank branches, and fast food outlets.

The first Supercenter opened in 1988, in Washington, Missouri. A similar concept, Hypermart USA, opened in Garland, Texas a year earlier. All of the Hypermart USA stores were later closed or converted into Supercenters.

As of October 31, 2018, there were 3,568 Walmart Supercenters in the United States. The largest Supercenter in the United States is located in Crossgates Commons in Albany, New York.

The "Supercenter" portion of the name on these stores has been phased out, simply referring to these stores as "Walmart," since the company introduced the new Walmart logo in 2008. The Supercentre portion of the name is still used on supercentres in Canada

Sam's ClubEdit

Sam's Club is a chain of warehouse clubs which sell groceries and general merchandise, often in large quantities. Sam's Club stores are "membership" stores and most customers buy annual memberships. However, non-members can make purchases either by buying a one-day membership or paying a surcharge based on the price of the purchase. Some locations also sell gasoline. The first Sam's Club opened in 1983 in Midwest City, Oklahoma under the name "Sam's Wholesale Club."