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Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (branded as Wal-Mart) is an American public corporation that runs a chain of large, discount department stores. It is the world's largest public corporation by revenue, according to the 2008 Fortune Global 500. The company was founded by Sam Walton in 1962, incorporated on October 31, 1969, and listed on the New York Stock Exchange in1972. Wal-Mart is the largest private employer and the largest grocery retailer in the United States. It also owns and operates the Sam's Club retail warehouses in North America.
Walmart 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, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Wal-Mart's investmentsoutside North America have had mixed results: its operations in the United Kingdom, South America and China are highly successful, while it was forced to pull out of Germany and South Korea when ventures there were unsuccessful.
Walmart has been criticized by some community groups, women's rights groups, grassroots organizations, and labor unions, specifically for its extensive foreign productsourcing, low wages, low rates of employee health insurance enrollment, resistance to union representation, sexism, and management efforts to pressure employees to vote for specific parties during national elections. Conversely, others point out that Wal-Mart's rapid growth and logistical efficiency has enabled it to bring lower prices to consumers and more jobs to the communities in which it operates.Wal-Mart is more than just the world's largest retailer. It is an economic force, a cultural phenomenon and a lightning rod for controversy. It all started with a simple philosophy from founder Sam Walton: Offer shoppers lower prices than they get anywhere else. That basic strategy has shaped Wal-Mart's culture and driven the company's growth.
Some figures
By the turn of the century, Wal-Marthas spearheaded some of the world's most ambitious lists as in 2002 when the company became number one on the Fortune 500 list.
By the end of 2003, Wal-Marts was the world´s largest corporation with a market valuation of more than $400 billion, 1.4 million employees, and 4.700 store locations in the US and abroad.

With more than 4,000 units (stores and distribution centers) in the UnitedStates alone, Wal-Mart controls an enormous amount of real estate. A new map, compiled by researchers at Wal-Mart Watch, profiles most of the existing and planned Wal-Mart stores and Supercenters across the United States.
Wal-Mart´s Retail Link-System was the largest civilian database in the world, slightly smaller than that of the Pentagon.
The company´s combined annual growth rate during1999-2003 was 15% in revenue and 14% in EBIT. Many people questioned not only the sustainability, but also the desirability, of such current or projected growth rates and consequent dominance.
Top management must have wondered if the firm´s formula for success and its current resource allocation strategy would be sufficient to ensure such astronomical growth.
Human resource practices, supplierrelationship, and purchasing practices along with community relations were increasingly being targeted.
“Manage one store at a time, respect the individual, and create value with our customers” (Sam Walton)

With previous retailing experience Sam and Bud Walton opened their first Wal-Mart Discount City store in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. Today ispractically a museum as shown in the photo below.

They opened 15 department-sized stores in small rural towns throughout the Midwest by the end of the 1960s.
Sam´s “everyday low prices”(EDLP) and limited promotional budgets were a novelty in the industry.
Sam Walton has 4 basic beliefs and 3 pricing philosophies, which the company had stayed true to them since 1962.
The corporate culture is...
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