Walmart – nr1 on Fortune 500

Year 2015 marks the 61st year of the annual publication of the list of Fortune 500 companies by the Fortune magazine. These companies account for revenues of approximately $12.5 trillion, profits of about $945 billion and a market value of nearly $17 trillion in total. Additionally, these companies employ as many as 26.8 million people to carry out its operations around the world.

Wal-Mart Stores is the number one company in this year’s Fortune 500 list. The American origin multinational retailer operates a chain of discount department stores, grocery stores and hypermarkets. Sam Walton founded Walmart in 1962 and established its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. Incorporated in October 1969, the company has 11,598 stores in total spread across 28 countries as of November 2015 and operates under as many as 65 banners. Walmart is reputed for providing FMCG goods to consumers at low, affordable prices.

In the US and Canada, the company is known by the name Walmart, while in Mexico it is Walmart de México y Centroamérica, in the UK it is Asda, in Japan it is Seiyu and in India it is Best Price. In addition to having wholly owned operations in Canada, Brazil and Argentina, the company also owns as well as operates warehouses under the name Sam’s Club retail.

In terms of revenue, Walmart is the largest company and biggest private employer (2.2 million employees) in the world. The Walton family controls the business with the heirs of Sam Walton owning more than 50 percent through Walton Enterprises, the holding company, and their own individual holdings. Waltmart is one of the most valuable companies in the world in terms of market capitalization and the largest among the grocery retailers in the United States of America.

Key Financials (as of last fiscal year)

  • Revenues in billion: $485.651 (an increase of 2 percent year-on-year)
  • Profits in billion: $16.363 (an increase of 2 percent year-on-year)
  • Total stockholder equity in billion: $81.394
  • Number of employees: 2.2 million
  • Market value in billions: $265.344 (as on 31 March 2015)

Last year, under the leadership of Doug McMillon, new CEO, Walmart stores in the U.S. recorded growth after a streak of growth-free quarters for nearly two years on the comparable store sales front. As much as 55 percent of the company’s revenue comes from the sale of grocery items.

Though the company’s investments in e-commerce have begun to pay off, the results of its investments outside the US have been sort of mixed. While its operations in the UK, China and South America are extremely successful, its operations in South Korea and Germany have not been very rewarding.

Jonas Petersson