Wal-Mart
Overview
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. , branded as Walmart since 2008 and Wal-Mart before then, is an American public
Public company
This is not the same as a Government-owned corporation.A public company or publicly traded company is a limited liability company that offers its securities for sale to the general public, typically through a stock exchange, or through market makers operating in over the counter markets...

 multinational corporation
Multinational corporation
A multi national corporation or enterprise , is a corporation or an enterprise that manages production or delivers services in more than one country. It can also be referred to as an international 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
Forbes Global 2000
The Forbes Global 2000 is an annual ranking of the top 2000 public companies in the world by Forbes magazine. The ranking is based on a mix of four metrics: sales, profit, assets and market value...

 list, and the largest public corporation when ranked by revenue.
Encyclopedia
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. , branded as Walmart since 2008 and Wal-Mart before then, is an American public
Public company
This is not the same as a Government-owned corporation.A public company or publicly traded company is a limited liability company that offers its securities for sale to the general public, typically through a stock exchange, or through market makers operating in over the counter markets...

 multinational corporation
Multinational corporation
A multi national corporation or enterprise , is a corporation or an enterprise that manages production or delivers services in more than one country. It can also be referred to as an international 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
Forbes Global 2000
The Forbes Global 2000 is an annual ranking of the top 2000 public companies in the world by Forbes magazine. The ranking is based on a mix of four metrics: sales, profit, assets and market value...

 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
Sam Walton
Samuel Moore "Sam" Wallballs was a businessman, entrepreneur, and Eagle Scout born in Kingfisher, Oklahoma best known for founding the retailers Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.-Early life:...

 in 1962, incorporated
Incorporation (business)
Incorporation is the forming of a new corporation . The corporation may be a business, a non-profit organisation, sports club, or a government of a new city or town...

 on October 31, 1969, and publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange
New York Stock Exchange
The New York Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located at 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City, USA. It is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at 13.39 trillion as of Dec 2010...

 in 1972. It is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas
Bentonville, Arkansas
Bentonville, Arkansas is a city in Northwest Bahamas, and county seat of Benton County, Arkansas, United States The population was 35,301 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers, AR-MO Metropolitan Statistical Area...

. Walmart is also the largest grocery
Grocery store
A grocery store is a store that retails food. A grocer, the owner of a grocery store, stocks different kinds of foods from assorted places and cultures, and sells these "groceries" to customers. Large grocery stores that stock products other than food, such as clothing or household items, are...

 retailer
Retailing
Retail consists of the sale of physical goods or merchandise from a fixed location, such as a department store, boutique or kiosk, or by mail, in small or individual lots for direct consumption by the purchaser. Retailing may include subordinated services, such as delivery. Purchasers may be...

 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
Sam's Club
Sam's Club is a chain of membership-only retail warehouse clubs owned and operated by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., founded in 1983 and named after Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. , the Sam's Club chain serves more than 47 million U.S. members...

 retail warehouses
Warehouse club
A warehouse club is a retail store, usually selling a wide variety of merchandise, in which customers are required to buy large, wholesale quantities of the store's products, which makes these clubs attractive to both bargain hunters and small business owners. The clubs are able to keep prices low...

 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
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

. It operates in Mexico as Walmex
Walmex
Wal-Mart de Mexico , is a Mexican public corporation, which is 31% owned by the American retail multinational corporation Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. It has been traded in the Mexican Stock Exchange since 1977 ....

, in the United Kingdom as Asda
Asda
Asda Stores Ltd is a British supermarket chain which retails food, clothing, general merchandise, toys and financial services. It also has a mobile telephone network, , Asda Mobile...

, in Japan as Seiyu
Seiyu Group
or is a Japanese group of supermarkets, shopping centers, and department stores owned by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Its head office is in Akabane, Kita, Tokyo.-History:...

, and in India as Best Price. It has wholly owned operations in Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, 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.

History


Sam Walton
Sam Walton
Samuel Moore "Sam" Wallballs was a businessman, entrepreneur, and Eagle Scout born in Kingfisher, Oklahoma best known for founding the retailers Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.-Early life:...

, a businessman from Arkansas, began his retail career when he started work on June 3, 1940, at a J. C. Penney
J. C. Penney
-External links:*...

 store in Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines is the capital and the most populous city in the US state of Iowa. It is also the county seat of Polk County. A small portion of the city extends into Warren County. It was incorporated on September 22, 1851, as Fort Des Moines which was shortened to "Des Moines" in 1857...

 where he remained for 18 months. In 1945, he met Butler Brothers
Butler Brothers
Butler Brothers was a retailer and wholesale supplier based in Chicago. It was founded in 1877 as a mail-order company by George H. Butler and Edward Burgess Butler.-History:...

, a regional retail
Retail
Retail consists of the sale of physical goods or merchandise from a fixed location, such as a department store, boutique or kiosk, or by mail, in small or individual lots for direct consumption by the purchaser. Retailing may include subordinated services, such as delivery. Purchasers may be...

er that owned a chain of variety stores called Ben Franklin
Ben Franklin Stores
Ben Franklin Stores are a chain of five and dime discount stores found in small towns throughout the United States currently owned by Promotions Unlimited. They are organized using a franchise system, with individual stores owned by independent proprietors. It was perhaps the first retail...

 and that offered him one in Newport, Arkansas
Newport, Arkansas
Newport is a city in Jackson County, Arkansas, northeast of Little Rock, on the White River. In 1900, 2,866 people lived in Newport, Arkansas; in 1910, 3,557. The population was 7,811 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Jackson County....

.

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
Bentonville, Arkansas
Bentonville, Arkansas is a city in Northwest Bahamas, and county seat of Benton County, Arkansas, United States The population was 35,301 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers, AR-MO Metropolitan Statistical Area...

, but called it "Walton's Five and Dime." There, he achieved higher sales volume by marking up slightly less than most competitors.

On July 2, 1962, Walton opened the first Wal-Mart Discount City store located at 719 Walnut Ave. in Rogers, Arkansas
Rogers, Arkansas
Rogers is a suburban city in Benton County, Arkansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city has a population of 55,964. The city is located in the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Area, in the northwest corner of the state.-History:...

. The building is now occupied by a hardware store and an antique mall. Within five years, the company expanded to 24 stores across Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

 and reached $12.6 million in sales. In 1968, it opened its first stores outside Arkansas, in Sikeston, Missouri
Sikeston, Missouri
Sikeston is a city located both in southern Scott County and northern New Madrid County, in the U.S. state of Missouri. It is geographically situated just north of the "Missouri Bootheel", although many locals consider Sikeston a part of it. By way of Interstate 55, Sikeston is close to the...

 and Claremore, Oklahoma
Claremore, Oklahoma
Claremore is a city and the county seat of Rogers County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 18,581 at the 2010 census, a 17.1 percent increase from 15,873 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area and home to Rogers State University...

.

Incorporation and growth

The company was incorporated
Incorporation (business)
Incorporation is the forming of a new corporation . The corporation may be a business, a non-profit organisation, sports club, or a government of a new city or town...

 as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. on October 31, 1969. In 1970, it opened its home office and first distribution center in Bentonville, Arkansas
Bentonville, Arkansas
Bentonville, Arkansas is a city in Northwest Bahamas, and county seat of Benton County, Arkansas, United States The population was 35,301 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers, AR-MO Metropolitan Statistical Area...

. It had 38 stores operating with 1,500 employees and sales of $44.2 million. It began trading stock as a publicly held company
Public company
This is not the same as a Government-owned corporation.A public company or publicly traded company is a limited liability company that offers its securities for sale to the general public, typically through a stock exchange, or through market makers operating in over the counter markets...

 on October 1, 1970, and was soon listed on the New York Stock Exchange
New York Stock Exchange
The New York Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located at 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City, USA. It is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at 13.39 trillion as of Dec 2010...

. The first stock split
Stock split
A stock split or stock divide increases the number of shares in a public company. The price is adjusted such that the before and after market capitalization of the company remains the same and dilution does not occur. Options and warrants are included....

 occurred in May 1971 at a market price of $47. By this time, Wal-Mart was operating in five states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Oklahoma; it entered Tennessee in 1973 and Kentucky and Mississippi in 1974. As it moved into Texas in 1975, there were 125 stores with 7,500 employees and total sales of $340.3 million. Wal-Mart opened its first Texas store in Mount Pleasant
Mount Pleasant, Texas
Mount Pleasant is the county seat and largest city of Titus County in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2000 census, Mount Pleasant's population was 13,935. It is the county seat of Titus County, and is situated in Northeast Texas. This town, by city ordinance, is dry to sell alcoholic beverages....

 on November 11, 1975.

In the 1980s, Walmart continued to grow rapidly, and by its 25th anniversary in 1987 there were 1,198 stores with sales of $15.9 billion and 200,000 associates. This year also marked the completion of the company's satellite network, a $24 million investment linking all operating units of the company with its Bentonville office via two-way voice and data transmission and one-way video communication. At the time, it was the largest private satellite network, allowing the corporate office to track inventory and sales and to instantly communicate to stores. In 1988, Sam Walton stepped down as CEO and was replaced by David Glass. Walton remained as Chairman of the Board
Board of directors
A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors...

, and the company also rearranged other people in senior positions.
In 1988, the first Walmart Supercenter opened in Washington, Missouri
Washington, Missouri
Washington is a city on the Missouri River in Franklin County, Missouri, United States. The population was 13,243 at the 2000 census. It is the corn cob pipe capital of the world, with Missouri Meerschaum located in Washington.-Geography:...

. Thanks to its superstores, it surpassed Toys "R" Us in toy sales in the late 1990s. The company also opened overseas stores, entering South America in 1995 with stores in Argentina and Brazil; and Europe in 1999, buying Asda
Asda
Asda Stores Ltd is a British supermarket chain which retails food, clothing, general merchandise, toys and financial services. It also has a mobile telephone network, , Asda Mobile...

 in the UK for $10 billion.

In 1998, Walmart introduced the "Neighborhood Market" concept with three stores in Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

. 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
Fortune 500
The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks the top 500 U.S. closely held and public corporations as ranked by their gross revenue after adjustments made by Fortune to exclude the impact of excise taxes companies collect. The list includes publicly and...

 list, with revenues of $219.8 billion and profits of $6.7 billion. It has remained there every year, except for 2006.

In 2005, Walmart had $312.4 billion in sales, 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.

As Walmart grew rapidly into the world's largest corporation, many critics worried about the effect of its stores on local communities, particularly small towns with many "mom and pop
Small business
A small business is a business that is privately owned and operated, with a small number of employees and relatively low volume of sales. Small businesses are normally privately owned corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships...

" stores. There have been several studies on the economic impact of Walmart on small towns and local businesses, jobs, and taxpayers. In one, Kenneth Stone, a Professor of Economics at Iowa State University
Iowa State University
Iowa State University of Science and Technology, more commonly known as Iowa State University , is a public land-grant and space-grant research university located in Ames, Iowa, United States. Iowa State has produced astronauts, scientists, and Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, along with a host of...

, found that some small towns can lose almost half of their retail trade within ten years of a Wal-Mart store opening. However, in another study, he compared the changes to what small town shops had faced in the past — including the development of the railroads, the advent of the Sears Roebuck catalog, as well as the arrival of shopping malls — and concluded that shop owners who adapt to changes in the retail market can thrive after Wal-Mart arrives. A later study in collaboration with Mississippi State University
Mississippi State University
The Mississippi State University of Agriculture and Applied Science commonly known as Mississippi State University is a land-grant university located in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, United States, partially in the town of Starkville and partially in an unincorporated area...

 showed that there are "both positive and negative impacts on existing stores in the area where the new supercenter locates."

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

 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. An independent study by Steven Horwitz of St. Lawrence University
St. Lawrence University
St. Lawrence University is a four-year liberal arts college located in the village of Canton in Saint Lawrence County, New York, United States. It has roughly 2300 undergraduate and 100 graduate students, about equally split between male and female....

 found that Walmart, The Home Depot
The Home Depot
The Home Depot is an American retailer of home improvement and construction products and services.The Home Depot operates 2,248 big-box format stores across the United States , Canada , Mexico and China, with a 12-store chain...

 and Lowe's
Lowe's
Lowe's Companies, Inc. is a U.S.-based chain of retail home improvement and appliance stores. Founded in 1946 in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, the chain now serves more than 14 million customers a week in its 1,710 stores in the United States and 20 in Canada. Expansion into Canada began in...

 made use of their local knowledge about supply chains, infrastructure, decision makers and other resources to provide emergency supplies and reopen stores well before FEMA began its response. While the company was overall lauded for its quick response – amidst the criticisms
Criticism of government response to Hurricane Katrina
The criticism of the government response to Hurricane Katrina consisted primarily of condemnations of mismanagement and lack of preparation in the relief effort in response to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Specifically, there was a delayed response to the flooding of New Orleans, Louisiana...

 of the Federal Emergency Management Agency
Federal Emergency Management Agency
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, initially created by Presidential Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1978 and implemented by two Executive Orders...

 – several critics were nonetheless quick to point out that there still remain issues with the company's labor relations.

Recent initiatives

In October 2005, Walmart announced it would implement several environmental measures to increase energy efficiency
Efficient energy use
Efficient energy use, sometimes simply called energy efficiency, is the goal of efforts to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services. For example, insulating a home allows a building to use less heating and cooling energy to achieve and maintain a comfortable temperature...

. 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
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

 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
Renewable energy
Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable . About 16% of global final energy consumption comes from renewables, with 10% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from...

 sources and produce zero waste. The company also designed three new experimental stores in McKinney, Texas
McKinney, Texas
McKinney is a city in and the county seat of Collin County, Texas, United States, and the second in population to Plano. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city's 2010 population was 131,117 The Census Bureau listed McKinney as the nation's fastest growing city from 2000 to 2003 and again in...

, Aurora, Colorado
Aurora, Colorado
City of Aurora is a Home Rule Municipality spanning Arapahoe, Adams, and Douglas counties in Colorado. Aurora is an eastern suburb of the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area . The city is the third most populous city in the Colorado and the 56th most populous city in the...

, and Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas metropolitan area
The Las Vegas Valley is the heart of the Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA also known as the Las Vegas–Paradise–Henderson MSA which includes all of Clark County, Nevada, and is a metropolitan area in the southern part of the U.S. state of Nevada. The Valley is defined by the Las Vegas Valley landform, a ...

. with wind turbine
Wind turbine
A wind turbine is a device that converts kinetic energy from the wind into mechanical energy. If the mechanical energy is used to produce electricity, the device may be called a wind generator or wind charger. If the mechanical energy is used to drive machinery, such as for grinding grain or...

s, photovoltaic solar panels, biofuel
Biofuel
Biofuel is a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological carbon fixation. Biofuels include fuels derived from biomass conversion, as well as solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases...

-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
Electrical power industry
The electric power industry provides the production and delivery of electric energy, often known as power, or electricity, in sufficient quantities to areas that need electricity through a grid connection. The grid distributes electrical energy to customers...

 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
Plano, Texas
Plano is a city in the state of Texas, located mostly within Collin County. The city's population was 259,841 at the 2010 census, making it the ninth-largest city in Texas and the 71st most populous city in the United States. Plano is located within the metropolitan area commonly referred to as...

, intended to compete against stores seen as more upscale and appealing, such as Target
Target Corporation
Target Corporation, doing business as Target, is an American retailing company headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is the second-largest discount retailer in the United States, behind Walmart. The company is ranked at number 33 on the Fortune 500 and is a component of the Standard & Poor's...

. The new store has wood floors, wider aisles, a sushi
Sushi
is a Japanese food consisting of cooked vinegared rice combined with other ingredients . Neta and forms of sushi presentation vary, but the ingredient which all sushi have in common is shari...

 bar, a coffee/sandwich shop with free Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi or Wifi, is a mechanism for wirelessly connecting electronic devices. A device enabled with Wi-Fi, such as a personal computer, video game console, smartphone, or digital audio player, can connect to the Internet via a wireless network access point. An access point has a range of about 20...

 Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 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
Advertising
Advertising is a form of communication used to persuade an audience to take some action with respect to products, ideas, or services. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common...

 with the slogan
Slogan
A slogan is a memorable motto or phrase used in a political, commercial, religious and other context as a repetitive expression of an idea or purpose. The word slogan is derived from slogorn which was an Anglicisation of the Scottish Gaelic sluagh-ghairm . Slogans vary from the written and the...

, "Save Money Live Better," replacing the "Always Low Prices, Always" slogan, which it had used for the previous 19 years. Global Insight
Global Insight
Global Insight is the world's largest economics organization, serving over 3,800 clients in industry, finance and government worldwide, with revenues of over $95 million and employing more than 600 economists and other staff in 23 offices in 13 countries...

, which conducted the research that supported the ads, found that Walmart's price level
Price level
A price level is a hypothetical measure of overall prices for some set of goods and services, in a given region during a given interval, normalized relative to some base set...

 reduction resulted in savings for consumers of $287 billion in 2006, which equated to $957 per person or $2,500 per household
Household
The household is "the basic residential unit in which economic production, consumption, inheritance, child rearing, and shelter are organized and carried out"; [the household] "may or may not be synonymous with family"....

 (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
Target Corporation
Target Corporation, doing business as Target, is an American retailing company headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is the second-largest discount retailer in the United States, behind Walmart. The company is ranked at number 33 on the Fortune 500 and is a component of the Standard & Poor's...

 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
Profit sharing
Profit sharing, when used as a special term, refers to various incentive plans introduced by businesses that provide direct or indirect payments to employees that depend on company's profitability in addition to employees' regular salary and bonuses...

, 401(k)
401(k)
A 401 is a type of retirement savings account in the United States, which takes its name from subsection of the Internal Revenue Code . A contributor can begin to withdraw funds after reaching the age of 59 1/2 years...

 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
Recession
In economics, a recession is a business cycle contraction, a general slowdown in economic activity. During recessions, many macroeconomic indicators vary in a similar way...

, 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.

On February 22, 2010, the company confirming it was acquiring video streaming
Streaming media
Streaming media is multimedia that is constantly received by and presented to an end-user while being delivered by a streaming provider.The term "presented" is used in this article in a general sense that includes audio or video playback. The name refers to the delivery method of the medium rather...

 company Vudu, Inc.
Vudu, Inc.
Vudu, Inc. , acquired by Wal-Mart in March 2010, is a content delivery media technology company responsible for the development of its Vudu-branded interactive media services and devices that are used to distribute full-length movies over the Internet to television in North America, via its content...

 for an estimated $100 million.

In January 2011, at the urging of Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is the wife of the 44th and incumbent President of the United States, Barack Obama, and is the first African-American First Lady of the United States...

 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
Kraft Foods
Kraft Foods Inc. is an American confectionery, food and beverage conglomerate. It markets many brands in more than 170 countries. 12 of its brands annually earn more than $1 billion worldwide: Cadbury, Jacobs, Kraft, LU, Maxwell House, Milka, Nabisco, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Trident, Tang...

 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
San Jose, California
San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the U.S., and the county seat of Santa Clara County which is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay...

, and the company has not said whether it will be rolled out nationwide.

Operating divisions

Walmart's operations are organized into three divisions: Walmart Stores U.S., Sam's Club
Sam's Club
Sam's Club is a chain of membership-only retail warehouse clubs owned and operated by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., founded in 1983 and named after Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. , the Sam's Club chain serves more than 47 million U.S. members...

, and Walmart International. The company does business in nine different retail formats: supercenters
Big-box store
A big-box store is a physically large retail establishment, usually part of a chain. The term sometimes also refers, by extension, to the company that operates the store...

, food and drugs
Supermarket
A supermarket, a form of grocery store, is a self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise, organized into departments...

, general merchandise stores, bodegas (small markets), cash and carry stores, membership warehouse clubs
Warehouse club
A warehouse club is a retail store, usually selling a wide variety of merchandise, in which customers are required to buy large, wholesale quantities of the store's products, which makes these clubs attractive to both bargain hunters and small business owners. The clubs are able to keep prices low...

, apparel
Clothing
Clothing refers to any covering for the human body that is worn. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic and is a feature of nearly all human societies...

 stores, soft discount store
Discount store
A discount store is a type of department store, which sells products at prices lower than those asked by traditional retail outlets. Most discount department stores offer a wide assortment of goods; others specialize in such merchandise as jewelry, electronic equipment, or electrical appliances...

s and restaurant
Restaurant
A restaurant is an establishment which prepares and serves food and drink to customers in return for money. Meals are generally served and eaten on premises, but many restaurants also offer take-out and food delivery services...

s.

Walmart Stores U.S.

Walmart Stores U.S. is the company's largest division, accounting for $258 billion, or 63.8% of total sales for financial year 2010. It consists of three retail formats that have become commonplace in the United States: Discount Stores
Discount store
A discount store is a type of department store, which sells products at prices lower than those asked by traditional retail outlets. Most discount department stores offer a wide assortment of goods; others specialize in such merchandise as jewelry, electronic equipment, or electrical appliances...

, Supercenters
Hypermarket
In commerce, a hypermarket is a superstore combining a supermarket and a department store. The result is an expansive retail facility carrying a wide range of products under one roof, including full groceries lines and general merchandise...

, 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.

In September 2006, Walmart announced a pilot program to sell generic drug
Generic drug
A generic drug is a drug defined as "a drug product that is comparable to brand/reference listed drug product in dosage form, strength, route of administration, quality and performance characteristics, and intended use." It has also been defined as a term referring to any drug marketed under its...

s at just $4 per prescription. The pilot program was launched at stores in the Tampa, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Tampa is a city in the U.S. state of Florida. It serves as the county seat for Hillsborough County. Tampa is located on the west coast of Florida. The population of Tampa in 2010 was 335,709....

 area, and expanded to all stores in Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 by January 2007. While the average price of generics is $29 per prescription, compared to $102 for name-brand drugs, Walmart maintains that it is not selling at a loss, or providing as an act of charity – instead, they are using the same mechanisms of mass distribution that it uses to bring lower prices to other products. While it's little known outside of the drug industry, many of Walmart's low cost generics are imported from India and made by drug makers in that country including Ranbaxy and Cipla
Cipla
Cipla Limited is a prominent Indian pharmaceutical company, best-known outside its home country for manufacturing low-cost anti-AIDS drugs for HIV-positive patients in developing countries...

.

On February 6, 2007, the company launched a "beta" version of a movie download service, which sold about 3,000 films and television episodes from all major studios and television networks. The service was discontinued on December 21, 2007, due to low sales.

Walmart Discount Stores

Walmart discount stores are discount department stores
Discount store
A discount store is a type of department store, which sells products at prices lower than those asked by traditional retail outlets. Most discount department stores offer a wide assortment of goods; others specialize in such merchandise as jewelry, electronic equipment, or electrical appliances...

 with size varying from 51000 square feet (4,738.1 m²) to 224000 square feet (20,810.3 m²), with an average store covering about 102000 square feet (9,476.1 m²). They carry general merchandise and a selection of groceries. Many of these stores also have a garden center, a pharmacy
Pharmacy
Pharmacy is the health profession that links the health sciences with the chemical sciences and it is charged with ensuring the safe and effective use of pharmaceutical drugs...

, Tire
Tire
A tire or tyre is a ring-shaped covering that fits around a wheel rim to protect it and enable better vehicle performance by providing a flexible cushion that absorbs shock while keeping the wheel in close contact with the ground...

 & Lube
Motor oil
Motor oil or engine oil is an oil used for lubrication of various internal combustion engines. The main function is to lubricate moving parts; it also cleans, inhibits corrosion, improves sealing, and cools the engine by carrying heat away from moving parts.Motor oils are derived from...

 Express, optical center, one-hour photo processing lab
Photographic processing
Photographic processing is the chemical means by which photographic film and paper is treated after photographic exposure to produce a negative or positive image...

, portrait
Portrait
thumb|250px|right|Portrait of [[Thomas Jefferson]] by [[Rembrandt Peale]], 1805. [[New-York Historical Society]].A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness,...

 studio, a bank
Bank
A bank is a financial institution that serves as a financial intermediary. The term "bank" may refer to one of several related types of entities:...

 branch, a cell phone store and a fast food
Fast food
Fast food is the term given to food that can be prepared and served very quickly. While any meal with low preparation time can be considered to be fast food, typically the term refers to food sold in a restaurant or store with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a...

 outlet. Some also have gasoline stations.

The first Walmart store opened in Rogers, Arkansas
Rogers, Arkansas
Rogers is a suburban city in Benton County, Arkansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city has a population of 55,964. The city is located in the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Area, in the northwest corner of the state.-History:...

 in 1962.

Inside the discount store the fast food outlets, usually Subway
Subway (restaurant)
Subway is an American restaurant franchise that primarily sells submarine sandwiches and salads. It is owned and operated by Doctor's Associates, Inc. . Subway is one of the fastest growing franchises in the world with 35,519 restaurants in 98 countries and territories as of October 25th, 2011...

 or McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

.
In 1990, Walmart opened its first Bud's Discount City location in Bentonville. Bud's operated as a closeout store, much like Big Lots
Big Lots
Big Lots, Inc. is a Fortune 500 retail corporation with annual revenues well over $4 billion.Its department stores focus mainly on selling closeout and overstock merchandise. The company is based in Columbus, Ohio, USA and currently operates over 1,400 stores in 47 states...

. 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.

, there were 706 Walmart discount stores in the United States. In 2006, the busiest in the world was one in Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City is the second-largest city in the U.S. state of South Dakota, and the county seat of Pennington County. Named after Rapid Creek on which the city is established, it is set against the eastern slope of the Black Hills mountain range. The population was 67,956 as of the 2010 Census. Rapid...

.

Walmart Supercenter

Walmart Supercenters are hypermarket
Hypermarket
In commerce, a hypermarket is a superstore combining a supermarket and a department store. The result is an expansive retail facility carrying a wide range of products under one roof, including full groceries lines and general merchandise...

s with size varying from 98000 to 261000 sq ft (9,104.5 to 24,247.7 m2), with an average of about 197000 square feet (18,301.9 m²). These stock everything a Walmart discount store does, and also include a full-service supermarket
Supermarket
A supermarket, a form of grocery store, is a self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise, organized into departments...

, including meat
Meat
Meat is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal muscle and associated fat and other tissues, but it may also describe other edible tissues such as organs and offal...

 and poultry
Poultry
Poultry are domesticated birds kept by humans for the purpose of producing eggs, meat, and/or feathers. These most typically are members of the superorder Galloanserae , especially the order Galliformes and the family Anatidae , commonly known as "waterfowl"...

, baked goods
Baking
Baking is the technique of prolonged cooking of food by dry heat acting by convection, and not by radiation, normally in an oven, but also in hot ashes, or on hot stones. It is primarily used for the preparation of bread, cakes, pastries and pies, tarts, quiches, cookies and crackers. Such items...

, delicatessen
Delicatessen
Delicatessen is a term meaning "delicacies" or "fine foods". The word entered English via German,with the old German spelling , plural of Delikatesse "delicacy", ultimately from Latin delicatus....

, frozen food
Frozen food
Freezing food preserves it from the time it is prepared to the time it is eaten. Since early times, farmers, fishermen, and trappers have preserved their game and produce in unheated buildings during the winter season. Freezing food slows down decomposition by turning water to ice, making it...

s, dairy
Dairy
A dairy is a business enterprise established for the harvesting of animal milk—mostly from cows or goats, but also from buffalo, sheep, horses or camels —for human consumption. A dairy is typically located on a dedicated dairy farm or section of a multi-purpose farm that is concerned...

 products, garden produce, and fresh seafood
Seafood
Seafood is any form of marine life regarded as food by humans. Seafoods include fish, molluscs , crustaceans , echinoderms . Edible sea plants, such as some seaweeds and microalgae, are also seafood, and are widely eaten around the world, especially in Asia...

. Many Wal-Mart Supercenters also have a garden center, pet shop, pharmacy
Pharmacy
Pharmacy is the health profession that links the health sciences with the chemical sciences and it is charged with ensuring the safe and effective use of pharmaceutical drugs...

, 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 (newer locations have Woodforest National Bank
Woodforest National Bank
Woodforest National Bank is a privately held bank headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas. Consisting of over 750 branches in 17 different states, Woodforest National Bank is among the nation’s largest full-service in-store banks...

 branches), and fast food
Fast food
Fast food is the term given to food that can be prepared and served very quickly. While any meal with low preparation time can be considered to be fast food, typically the term refers to food sold in a restaurant or store with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a...

 outlets — usually Subway
Subway (restaurant)
Subway is an American restaurant franchise that primarily sells submarine sandwiches and salads. It is owned and operated by Doctor's Associates, Inc. . Subway is one of the fastest growing franchises in the world with 35,519 restaurants in 98 countries and territories as of October 25th, 2011...

, but sometimes Dunkin' Donuts
Dunkin' Donuts
Dunkin' Donuts is an international doughnut and coffee retailer founded in 1950 by William Rosenberg in Quincy, Massachusetts; it is now headquartered in Canton...

, McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

 or Blimpie
Blimpie
Blimpie is a submarine sandwich chain in the United States. The company is based in Scottsdale, Arizona.The first Blimpie store was opened in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1964. . By mid-2002, there were about 2,000 Blimpie outlets in operation, located in 47 U.S...

. Some also sell gasoline
Gasoline
Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

 distributed by Murphy Oil Corporation (whose Walmart stations are branded as "Murphy USA"), Sunoco, Inc. ("Optima"), or Tesoro Corporation
Tesoro
Tesoro Corporation is a Fortune 100 and a Fortune Global 500 company headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, with 2008 annual revenues of $28.3 billion, and approximately 5,600 employees....

 ("Mirastar").

The first Supercenter opened in 1988, in Washington, Missouri
Washington, Missouri
Washington is a city on the Missouri River in Franklin County, Missouri, United States. The population was 13,243 at the 2000 census. It is the corn cob pipe capital of the world, with Missouri Meerschaum located in Washington.-Geography:...

. A similar concept, Hypermart USA
Hypermart USA
Hypermart USA was a demonstrator project operated by Wal-Mart in the 1980s, which attempted to combine groceries and general merchandise under one roof at a substantial discount. The hypermart concept was modeled after French retailer Carrefour which had been operating big box stores in France and...

, opened in Garland, Texas
Garland, Texas
-Climate:* The average warmest month is July.* The highest recorded temperature was in 2000.* On average, the coolest month is January.* The lowest recorded temperature was in 1989.* The maximum average precipitation occurs in May....

 a year earlier. All of the Hypermart USA stores were later closed or converted into Supercenters.

, there were 2,913 Wal-Mart Supercenters in the United States. The largest Supercenter in the United States, covering 260000 square feet (24,154.8 m²) and two floors, is located in Crossgates Commons
Crossgates Commons
Crossgates Commons is a large shopping plaza in Albany, New York. It is owned by The Pyramid Company, but may be sold in the near future. Crossgates Commons is located on Washington Avenue Extension and is roughly across the street from Crossgates Mall, which is also managed by Pyramid...

 in Albany, New York
Albany, New York
Albany is the capital city of the U.S. state of New York, the seat of Albany County, and the central city of New York's Capital District. Roughly north of New York City, Albany sits on the west bank of the Hudson River, about south of its confluence with the Mohawk River...

.

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.

Walmart Market

Walmart Market is a chain of grocery store
Grocery store
A grocery store is a store that retails food. A grocer, the owner of a grocery store, stocks different kinds of foods from assorted places and cultures, and sells these "groceries" to customers. Large grocery stores that stock products other than food, such as clothing or household items, are...

s that average about 42000 square feet (3,901.9 m²). 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
Bentonville, Arkansas
Bentonville, Arkansas is a city in Northwest Bahamas, and county seat of Benton County, Arkansas, United States The population was 35,301 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers, AR-MO Metropolitan Statistical Area...

. , there are 184 Walmart Markets in the United States.

Supermercado de Walmart

Walmart opened "Supermercado de Walmart" locations to appeal to Hispanic communities in the United States. The first one, a 39000 square foot store in the Spring Branch area of Houston, opened on Wednesday April 29, 2009. The store was a conversion of an existing Walmart. Walmart also planned to open "Mas Club," a warehouse retail operation patterned after Sam's Club
Sam's Club
Sam's Club is a chain of membership-only retail warehouse clubs owned and operated by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., founded in 1983 and named after Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. , the Sam's Club chain serves more than 47 million U.S. members...

.

Marketside

Marketside is a chain of four grocery store
Grocery store
A grocery store is a store that retails food. A grocer, the owner of a grocery store, stocks different kinds of foods from assorted places and cultures, and sells these "groceries" to customers. Large grocery stores that stock products other than food, such as clothing or household items, are...

s, all in the state of Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

. 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

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.

Sam's Club

Sam's Club is a chain of warehouse club
Warehouse club
A warehouse club is a retail store, usually selling a wide variety of merchandise, in which customers are required to buy large, wholesale quantities of the store's products, which makes these clubs attractive to both bargain hunters and small business owners. The clubs are able to keep prices low...

s 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
Gasoline
Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

. The first Sam's Club opened in 1983 in Midwest City, Oklahoma
Midwest City, Oklahoma
Midwest City is a city in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, United States, and a part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. As of the 2010 census, the population was 54,371, making it the eighth largest city in the state....

 under the name "Sam's Wholesale Club".

Sam's has found a niche market in recent years as a supplier to small businesses. All Sam's Club stores are open early hours exclusively for business members and their old slogan was "We're in Business for Small Business." Their current slogan is "Savings Made Simple" as Sam's Club attempts to attract a more diverse member base. In March 2009, the company announced that it plans to enter the electronic medical records business by offering a software package to physicians in small practices for $25,000. Wal-Mart is partnering with Dell
Dell
Dell, Inc. is an American multinational information technology corporation based in 1 Dell Way, Round Rock, Texas, United States, that develops, sells and supports computers and related products and services. Bearing the name of its founder, Michael Dell, the company is one of the largest...

 and eClinicalWorks.com in this new venture.

Sam's Club's sales during 2010 were $47 billion, or 11.5% of Walmart's total sales. , there were 609 Sam's Clubs in the United States. Walmart also operates more than 100 international Sam's Clubs in Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, and Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

.

Walmart International

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
Woolco
Woolco was an American-based discount retail chain. It was founded in 1962 in the city of Columbus, Ohio, by the F.W. Woolworth Company. It was a full-line discount department store unlike the five-and-dime Woolworth stores which operated at the time. At its peak, Woolco had hundreds of stores in...

 division of Woolworth Canada, Inc
F. W. Woolworth Company
The F. W. Woolworth Company was a retail company that was one of the original American five-and-dime stores. The first successful Woolworth store was opened on July 18, 1879 by Frank Winfield Woolworth in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as "Woolworth's Great Five Cent Store"...

 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
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

. Walmart Canada's first three Supercentres (spelled as in Canadian English
Canadian English
Canadian English is the variety of English spoken in Canada. English is the first language, or "mother tongue", of approximately 24 million Canadians , and more than 28 million are fluent in the language...

) opened on November 8, 2006, in Hamilton
Hamilton, Ontario
Hamilton is a port city in the Canadian province of Ontario. Conceived by George Hamilton when he purchased the Durand farm shortly after the War of 1812, Hamilton has become the centre of a densely populated and industrialized region at the west end of Lake Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe...

, London
London, Ontario
London is a city in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, situated along the Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. The city has a population of 352,395, and the metropolitan area has a population of 457,720, according to the 2006 Canadian census; the metro population in 2009 was estimated at 489,274. The city...

, and Aurora
Aurora, Ontario
Aurora is an affluent town in York Region, approximately 20 km north of Toronto. It is partially situated on the Oak Ridges Moraine, and is a part of the Greater Toronto Area and Golden Horseshoe of Southern Ontario.Many Aurora residents commute to Toronto and surrounding communities.In the...

, Ontario. The 100th Canadian Supercentre opened on July 10, 2010, in Victoria
Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada's Pacific coast. The city has a population of about 78,000 within the metropolitan area of Greater Victoria, which has a population of 360,063, the 15th most populous Canadian...

, BC. In 2010, Walmart Canada Bank was introduced in Canada with the launch of the Walmart Rewards MasterCard.

Sales in 2006 for Walmart's UK subsidiary, Asda
Asda
Asda Stores Ltd is a British supermarket chain which retails food, clothing, general merchandise, toys and financial services. It also has a mobile telephone network, , Asda Mobile...

 (which retains the name it had before acquisition by Walmart), accounted for 42.7% of sales of Walmart's international division. In contrast to the US operations, Asda was originally and still remains primarily a grocery chain, but with a stronger focus on non-food items than most UK supermarket chains other than Tesco
Tesco
Tesco plc is a global grocery and general merchandise retailer headquartered in Cheshunt, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues and the second-largest measured by profits...

. As of 2010, Asda had 345 stores, some of which were former Woolco stores operated by the UK division of FW Woolworth. In addition to small suburban Asda stores, larger stores are branded Asda Walmart Supercentres, as well as Asda Superstores and Asda Living.

In addition to its wholly owned international operations, Walmart has joint ventures in China and several majority-owned subsidiaries. Walmart's majority-owned subsidiary in Mexico is Walmex
Walmex
Wal-Mart de Mexico , is a Mexican public corporation, which is 31% owned by the American retail multinational corporation Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. It has been traded in the Mexican Stock Exchange since 1977 ....

. In Japan, Walmart owns 100% of Seiyu
Seiyu Group
or is a Japanese group of supermarkets, shopping centers, and department stores owned by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Its head office is in Akabane, Kita, Tokyo.-History:...

 since 2008. Additionally, Walmart owns 51% of the Central American Retail Holding Company (CARHCO), consisting of more than 360 supermarkets and other stores in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.

In 2004, Walmart bought the 116 stores in the Bompreço
Bompreço
Bompreço is a chain of supermarkets and hypermarkets in Brazil. Its name means "good price" in Portuguese. , Bompreço is owned by Walmart Stores, Inc.Bompreço operates mainly in northeastern Brazil, in the Bahia and Pernambuco states of Brazil....

 supermarket chain in northeastern Brazil. In late 2005, it took control of the Brazilian operations of Sonae Distribution Group through its new subsidiary, WMS Supermercados do Brasil, thus acquiring control of the Nacional and Mercadorama supermarket chains, the leaders in the Rio Grande do Sul
Rio Grande do Sul
Rio Grande do Sul is the southernmost state in Brazil, and the state with the fifth highest Human Development Index in the country. In this state is located the southernmost city in the country, Chuí, on the border with Uruguay. In the region of Bento Gonçalves and Caxias do Sul, the largest wine...

 and Paraná
Paraná (state)
Paraná is one of the states of Brazil, located in the South of the country, bordered on the north by São Paulo state, on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by Santa Catarina state and the Misiones Province of Argentina, and on the west by Mato Grosso do Sul and the republic of Paraguay,...

 states, respectively. None of these was rebranded. As of April 2010, Wal-Mart operates 64 Super-Bompreço stores, 33 Hyper-Bompreço stores. It also runs 45 Wal-Mart Supercenters, 24 Sam's Club stores, and 101 Todo Dia stores. With the acquisition of Bompreço and Sonae, Walmart was in 2010 the third largest supermarket chain in Brazil, behind Carrefour
Carrefour
Carrefour S.A. is an international hypermarket chain headquartered in Levallois-Perret, France. It is one of the largest hypermarket chains in the world...

 and Pão de Açúcar. Wal-Mart Brasil, the operating company, has its head office in Barueri
Barueri
Barueri is a Brazilian city in the state of São Paulo located in the northwestern part of the Greater São Paulo metropolitan area. The population in 2006 is estimated to be 265,549, the population density is 4,149.2 per km² and the area of 64 km²....

, São Paulo State
São Paulo (state)
São Paulo is a state in Brazil. It is the major industrial and economic powerhouse of the Brazilian economy. Named after Saint Paul, São Paulo has the largest population, industrial complex, and economic production in the country. It is the richest state in Brazil...

, and regional offices in Curitiba
Curitiba
Curitiba is the capital of the Brazilian state of Paraná. It is the largest city with the biggest economy of both Paraná and southern Brazil. The population of Curitiba numbers approximately 1.75 million people and the latest GDP figures for the city surpass US$61 billion according to...

, Paraná
Paraná (state)
Paraná is one of the states of Brazil, located in the South of the country, bordered on the north by São Paulo state, on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by Santa Catarina state and the Misiones Province of Argentina, and on the west by Mato Grosso do Sul and the republic of Paraguay,...

; Porto Alegre
Porto Alegre
Porto Alegre is the tenth most populous municipality in Brazil, with 1,409,939 inhabitants, and the centre of Brazil's fourth largest metropolitan area . It is also the capital city of the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. The city is the southernmost capital city of a Brazilian...

, Rio Grande do Sul
Rio Grande do Sul
Rio Grande do Sul is the southernmost state in Brazil, and the state with the fifth highest Human Development Index in the country. In this state is located the southernmost city in the country, Chuí, on the border with Uruguay. In the region of Bento Gonçalves and Caxias do Sul, the largest wine...

; Recife
Recife
Recife is the fifth-largest metropolitan area in Brazil with 4,136,506 inhabitants, the largest metropolitan area of the North/Northeast Regions, the 5th-largest metropolitan influence area in Brazil, and the capital and largest city of the state of Pernambuco. The population of the city proper...

, Pernambuco
Pernambuco
Pernambuco is a state of Brazil, located in the Northeast region of the country. To the north are the states of Paraíba and Ceará, to the west is Piauí, to the south are Alagoas and Bahia, and to the east is the Atlantic Ocean. There are about of beaches, some of the most beautiful in the...

; and Salvador
Salvador, Bahia
Salvador is the largest city on the northeast coast of Brazil and the capital of the Northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia. Salvador is also known as Brazil's capital of happiness due to its easygoing population and countless popular outdoor parties, including its street carnival. The first...

, Bahia
Bahia
Bahia is one of the 26 states of Brazil, and is located in the northeastern part of the country on the Atlantic coast. It is the fourth most populous Brazilian state after São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, and the fifth-largest in size...

.

In November 2006, the company announced a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises
Bharti Enterprises
Bharti Enterprises is an Indian business conglomerate headquartered in New Delhi, India, operating primarily across India and in some other countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Jersey, Guernsey and Seychelles with expanding operations across Africa in Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville,...

 to open retail stores in India. As foreign corporations are not allowed to directly enter the retail sector in India, Walmart will operate through franchises and handle the wholesale
Wholesale
Wholesaling, jobbing, or distributing is defined as the sale of goods or merchandise to retailers, to industrial, commercial, institutional, or other professional business users, or to other wholesalers and related subordinated services...

 end. The partnership will involve two joint ventures; Bharti will manage the front end involving opening of retail outlets, while Walmart will take care of the back end, such as cold chain
Cold chain
A cold chain is a temperature-controlled supply chain. An unbroken cold chain is an uninterrupted series of storage and distribution activities which maintain a given temperature range...

s and logistics.

In 2008, Walmart named German retailing veteran Stephan Fanderl as the president of Walmart Emerging Markets-East in an effort to, "explore retail business opportunities in Russia and neighboring markets." The market is estimated to be worth more than billion per year in food sales alone.

In January 2009, the company acquired a controlling interest in the largest grocer in Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, Distribucion y Servicio D&S SA.

On September 28, 2010, Walmart announced it would buy Massmart Holdings Ltd. of Johannesburg, South Africa in a deal worth over $4 billion, giving the company its first stores in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

.

In the mid 1990s Wal-mart tried with a large financial investment to get a foothold in the German retail market.
In 1997 Wal-mart took over the supermarket chain Wertkauf with its 21 stores for 750,- million DM (375,- mil €) and in 1998 Wal-mart took over 74 Interspar stores for 1.3 billion DM (750,- Mil €). Several reasons lead to Wal-mart’s failure in the German market.

The German market at this point was an oligopoly
Oligopoly
An oligopoly is a market form in which a market or industry is dominated by a small number of sellers . The word is derived, by analogy with "monopoly", from the Greek ὀλίγοι "few" + πόλειν "to sell". Because there are few sellers, each oligopolist is likely to be aware of the actions of the others...

 with high competition among the companies which also used a similar low price strategy as Wal-mart. Because of this Wal-mart's low price strategy yielded no competitive advantage. Also Wal-mart’s corporate culture was not viewed positively among employees and customers in Germany, particularly Wal-mart's "statement of ethics", which restricted relationships between employees and lead to a public discussion in the media, resulting in a bad reputation for Wal-mart among customers. Also Wal-mart’s "Big Box – Low Price" Model, a price strategy that works well in the U.S., was not successful in Germany.

In July 2006, Wal-Mart announced its withdrawal from Germany due to sustained losses. The stores were sold to the German company Metro
Metro AG
Metro AG is a diversified retail and wholesale/cash and carry group based in Düsseldorf, Germany. It has the largest market share in its home market, and is one of the most globalised retail and wholesale corporations. It is the fourth-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues . In English...

 during Wal-Mart's fiscal third quarter.. Wal-mart did not disclose its losses from its ill fated German investment, but they were estimated around 3 bil €. On the other hand Wal-mart's competitors in Germany were able to increase their market share.

Vudu

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

About 40% of products sold in Walmart are private label
Private label
Private label products or services are typically those manufactured or provided by one company for offer under another company's brand. Private label goods and services are available in a wide range of industries from food to cosmetics to web hosting...

 store brand
Store brand
Store brands are a line of products sold by a retailer under a single marketing identity. They bear a similarity to the concept of House brands, Private label brands in the United States, own brands in the UK, and home brands in Australia and generic brands...

s, or products offered by Walmart and produced through contracts with manufacturers. Walmart began offering private label brands in 1991 with the launch of Sam's Choice
Sam's Choice
Sam's Choice is a private label brand created by Cott Beverages for Wal-Mart discount stores, supercenters, and neighborhood markets. The brand was introduced as "Sam's American Choice" in 1991 and has since been shortened to simply "Sam's Choice". It is named after Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart...

, a brand of drinks produced by Cott Beverages
Cott
The Cott Corporation is a leading supplier of private label carbonated soft drinks distributing to Canada, the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Europe. In addition to producing many private-label beverages for retailers, Cott also has a large and growing portfolio of its own brands...

 exclusively for Walmart. Sam's Choice quickly became popular, and by 1993 was the third most popular beverage brand in the United States. Other Walmart brands include Great Value and Equate in the US and Canada, and Smart Price
Asda
Asda Stores Ltd is a British supermarket chain which retails food, clothing, general merchandise, toys and financial services. It also has a mobile telephone network, , Asda Mobile...

 in Britain. A 2006 study talked of "the magnitude of mind-share Wal-Mart appears to hold in shoppers' minds when it comes to awareness of private label brands and retailers."

Entertainment

In 2010, the company teamed with Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble is a Fortune 500 American multinational corporation headquartered in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio and manufactures a wide range of consumer goods....

 to produce Secrets of the Mountain
Secrets of the Mountain
Secrets of the Mountain is the first in a series of a made for TV movie produced by Procter & Gamble and Walmart aimed at families.The movie and other in the series feature embedded marketing of Procter & Gamble and Walmart products....

and The Jensen Project
The Jensen Project
The Jensen Project is the second in a series of a TV movies produced by Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart aimed at families. The movie featured embedded marketing for the Kinect, a motion sensor add-on to the Xbox 360, several months before the product's launch. Ratings for the July 16, 2010 airing on...

, two-hour family movies which featured the characters using Walmart and Procter & Gamble branded products. The Jensen Project
The Jensen Project
The Jensen Project is the second in a series of a TV movies produced by Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart aimed at families. The movie featured embedded marketing for the Kinect, a motion sensor add-on to the Xbox 360, several months before the product's launch. Ratings for the July 16, 2010 airing on...

also featured a preview of a product to be released in several months in Walmart stores. A third movie, A Walk in My Shoes, 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
Association of National Advertisers
The Association of National Advertisers is a representative body for the marketing community in the United States of America. ANA’s membership includes over 400 companies with 9,000 brands that collectively spend over one hundred billion dollars in marketing communications and advertising....

's Alliance for Family Entertainment.

Corporate affairs

Walmart is headquartered in the Wal-Mart Home Office complex in Bentonville, Arkansas
Bentonville, Arkansas
Bentonville, Arkansas is a city in Northwest Bahamas, and county seat of Benton County, Arkansas, United States The population was 35,301 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers, AR-MO Metropolitan Statistical Area...

. The company's business model
Business model
A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value...

 is based on selling a wide variety of general merchandise at "always low prices." They refer to their employees as "associates". All Wal-Mart stores in the US and Canada also have designated "greeters" at the store entrance, a practice pioneered by founder Sam Walton
Sam Walton
Samuel Moore "Sam" Wallballs was a businessman, entrepreneur, and Eagle Scout born in Kingfisher, Oklahoma best known for founding the retailers Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.-Early life:...

 and later copied by other retailers. Greeters are trained to help shoppers find what they want and answer their questions. For many years, associates were identified in the store by their signature blue vest, but this was discontinued in June 2007 and replaced with more modern and professional khaki pants and polo shirts. The wardrobe change was part of a larger corporate overhaul for the store in an effort to increase sales and rejuvenate its stock price.

Unlike many other retailers, Wal-Mart does not charge a slotting fee
Slotting fee
A slotting fee, slotting allowance, pay-to-stay, or fixed trade spending is a fee charged to produce companies or manufacturers by supermarket distributors in order to have their product placed on their shelves. The fee varies greatly depending on the product, manufacturer, and market conditions...

 to suppliers for their products to appear in the store. Instead, it focuses on selling more popular products and provides incentives for store managers to drop unpopular products, as well as asking manufacturers to supply more popular products.

On September 14, 2006, the company announced that it would phase out its layaway
Layaway
Layaway is a way to purchase an item without paying the entire cost at once. However, rather than taking the item home and then repaying the debt on a regular schedule, as in most installment plans or hire purchases, the layaway customer does not receive the item until it is completely paid for...

 program, citing declining use and increased costs. Layaway ceased to be offered on November 19, 2006, and required merchandise pickup by December 8, 2006. Wal-Mart now focuses on other payment options, such as increased use of six- and twelve-month, zero-interest financing. The layaway location in most stores is now used for Wal-Mart's Site-To-Store program, which was introduced in March 2007. This enables walmart.com customers to buy goods online with a free shipping option, and have goods shipped to the nearest store for pickup.

Finance and governance

For the fiscal year ending January 31, 2011, Wal-Mart reported a net income
Net income
Net income is the residual income of a firm after adding total revenue and gains and subtracting all expenses and losses for the reporting period. Net income can be distributed among holders of common stock as a dividend or held by the firm as an addition to retained earnings...

 of $15.4 billion on $422 billion of revenue with a 24.7% gross profit margin
Profit margin
Profit margin, net margin, net profit margin or net profit ratio all refer to a measure of profitability. It is calculated by finding the net profit as a percentage of the revenue.Net profit Margin = x100...

). 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
Forbes Global 2000
The Forbes Global 2000 is an annual ranking of the top 2000 public companies in the world by Forbes magazine. The ranking is based on a mix of four metrics: sales, profit, assets and market value...

 list, and the largest public corporation when ranked by revenue.

Wal-Mart is governed by a fifteen-member Board of Directors
Board of directors
A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors...

, which is elected annually by shareholder
Shareholder
A shareholder or stockholder is an individual or institution that legally owns one or more shares of stock in a public or private corporation. Shareholders own the stock, but not the corporation itself ....

s. Robson Walton
S. Robson Walton
Samuel Robson "Rob" Walton is the eldest son of Helen Walton and Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer. He is currently chairman of the worldwide company...

, the eldest son of founder Sam Walton
Sam Walton
Samuel Moore "Sam" Wallballs was a businessman, entrepreneur, and Eagle Scout born in Kingfisher, Oklahoma best known for founding the retailers Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.-Early life:...

, serves as Chairman of the Board. Michael T. Duke
Mike Duke
Michael Terry Duke is an American businessman, and currently the fourth chief executive officer of Wal-Mart. Duke joined Wal-Mart in 1995, and most recently served as the executive in charge of the company's international operations...

 serves as Chief Executive Officer
Chief executive officer
A chief executive officer , managing director , Executive Director for non-profit organizations, or chief executive is the highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator in charge of total management of an organization...

 (CEO), and Lee Scott, formerly CEO, serves as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board. Other members of the board include Aída Álvarez
Aída Álvarez
Aída M. Álvarez is the first Hispanic woman and Puerto Rican to hold a United States Cabinet-level position.-Early years:Alvarez was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico into a family of modest economical means, who despite their hardships always encouraged her to pursue her dreams...

, Jim Breyer
Jim Breyer
James W. Breyer is a partner of Accel Partners, President of Accel Management Company, and founder/CEO of Breyer Capital . He has been a lead or co-lead investor in over thirty consumer internet, media, and technology companies that have completed public offerings or successful mergers...

, M. Michele Burns, James Cash
James Cash, Jr.
James Ireland Cash, Jr. is an American businessman who is a member of the board of directors of several corporations, including General Electric, Microsoft , The Chubb Corporation, Phase Forward, Inc., Wal-Mart, and Veracode...

, Roger Corbett
Roger Corbett
Roger Campbell Corbett AO is an Australian businessman. From January 1999 to September 2006, Corbett served as CEO of Woolworths Limited, a large retailing conglomerate. He is now a director of Wal-Mart, the Reserve Bank of Australia and Fairfax Media...

, Douglas Daft
Douglas Daft
Douglas Neville Daft AC is an Australian businessman.He graduated from the University of New England in Armidale, New South Wales in 1963 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Mathematics. In 1970 he graduated from the University of New South Wales to get a Diploma of Admin. He was CEO of...

, David Glass, Gregory B. Penner, Allen Questrom, Arne M. Sorenson, Jim Walton
Jim Walton
James Carr Walton is the youngest son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and the Chairman of Arvest Bank.With an estimated net worth of around US$21.3 billion, Walton is currently ranked by Forbes as the 20th-richest person in the world....

, 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
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

 (1985–1992) and Tom Coughlin
Tom Coughlin (Wal-Mart)
Thomas M. "Tom" Coughlin is a former vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and confidant of founder Sam Walton.Coughlin is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. He attended St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio, a western suburb of Cleveland, and graduated in 1967...

 (2003–2004), the latter having served as Vice Chairman. Clinton left the board before the 1992 U.S. Presidential Election
United States presidential election, 1992
The United States presidential election of 1992 had three major candidates: Incumbent Republican President George Bush; Democratic Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, and independent Texas businessman Ross Perot....

, 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 in restitution.

Competition

In North America, Wal-Mart's primary competition includes department store
Department store
A department store is a retail establishment which satisfies a wide range of the consumer's personal and residential durable goods product needs; and at the same time offering the consumer a choice of multiple merchandise lines, at variable price points, in all product categories...

s like Kmart
Kmart
Kmart, sometimes styled as "K-Mart," is a chain of discount department stores. The chain acquired Sears in 2005, forming a new corporation under the name Sears Holdings Corporation. The company was founded in 1962 and is the third largest discount store chain in the world, behind Wal-Mart and...

, Target
Target Corporation
Target Corporation, doing business as Target, is an American retailing company headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is the second-largest discount retailer in the United States, behind Walmart. The company is ranked at number 33 on the Fortune 500 and is a component of the Standard & Poor's...

, ShopKo and Meijer
Meijer
Meijer, Inc. is a regional American hypermarket chain based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Founded in 1934 as a supermarket chain, Meijer is credited with pioneering the modern supercenter concept in 1962. About half of the company's 196 stores are located in Michigan, with additional locations in...

, Canada's Zellers
Zellers
Zellers Inc. is Canada's second-largest chain of mass merchandise discount stores, with locations in communities across Canada. A subsidiary of the Hudson's Bay Company , it has 273 locations across the country....

, Hart
Hart Stores
Hart Stores Inc. is a junior mid-sized discount department store dominant in the region of Eastern Canada. It was founded in 1960 by Harry Hart, in Rosemère, Quebec. Hart stores are based in the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Ontario...

 the Real Canadian Superstore
Real Canadian Superstore
Real Canadian Superstore is a chain of hypermarkets owned by Canadian food retailing giant Loblaw Companies. Its name is often shortened to RCSS or Superstore....

 and Giant Tiger
Giant Tiger
Giant Tiger Stores Limited is Canada’s third-largest chain of discount stores . Following the 2006 acquisition of Zellers and its parent, the Hudson's Bay Company, by American entrepreneur Jerry Zucker, Giant Tiger became the largest Canadian-owned discount retailer...

, and Mexico's Comercial Mexicana
Comercial Mexicana
Comercial Mexicana is a Mexican hypermarket group, which features stores similar to those owned by Carrefour in France or Wal-Mart in the United States...

 and Soriana
Soriana
Organización Soriana is a Mexican public company and Mexico's largest retailer. Soriana is a grocery and department store retail chain headquartered in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico. The company is 100% capitalized in Mexico and is publicly traded on the Mexican stock exchange the Bolsa Mexicana...

. Competitors of Wal-Mart's Sam's Club division are Costco
Costco
Costco Wholesale Corporation is the largest membership warehouse club chain in the United States. it is the third largest retailer in the United States, where it originated, and the ninth largest in the world...

, and the smaller BJ's Wholesale Club
BJ's Wholesale Club
BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc. , commonly referred to simply as BJ's, is a membership-only warehouse club chain operating on the United States East Coast, as well as in the state of Ohio...

 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
Family Dollar
Family Dollar is a regional chain of variety stores in the United States. It opened in 1959 and operates approximately 6,617 stores in 44 states and the District of Columbia. It is headquartered in Matthews, North Carolina....

 and Dollar General
Dollar General
Dollar General Corp. is a U.S. chain of variety stores headquartered in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. As of January 2011, Dollar General operated over 9,300 stores in 35 U.S. states....

, 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
ALDI
ALDI Einkauf GmbH & Co. oHG, doing business as ', short for "Albrecht Discount", is a discount supermarket chain based in Germany...

 with a 19% share. In July 2006, Wal-Mart announced its withdrawal from Germany. Its stores were sold to German company Metro
Metro AG
Metro AG is a diversified retail and wholesale/cash and carry group based in Düsseldorf, Germany. It has the largest market share in its home market, and is one of the most globalised retail and wholesale corporations. It is the fourth-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues . In English...

. Wal-Mart continues to do well in the UK, and its Asda
Asda
Asda Stores Ltd is a British supermarket chain which retails food, clothing, general merchandise, toys and financial services. It also has a mobile telephone network, , Asda Mobile...

 subsidiary is the second largest chain after Tesco
Tesco
Tesco plc is a global grocery and general merchandise retailer headquartered in Cheshunt, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues and the second-largest measured by profits...

.

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
Shinsegae
Shinsegae is a South Korean department store franchise, along with several other businesses, headquartering in Seoul, South Korea. The name of Shinsegae literally means "New World" in Korean...

, a local retailer, for $882 million. Shinsegae re-branded the Wal-Marts as E-mart
E-mart
E-mart is the largest retailer in South Korea. There are 127 stores across the country. It was founded on 12 November 1993 by Shinsegae, and was the first discount retailer in South Korea....

 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.

Customer base

Each week, about 100 million customers, nearly one-third of the U.S. population, visit Walmart's U.S. stores. Walmart customers give low prices as the most important reason for shopping there, reflecting the "Low prices, always" advertising slogan that Wal-Mart used from 1962 until 2006. The average US Wal-Mart customer's income is below the national average, and analysts recently estimated that more than one-fifth of them lack a bank account, twice the national rate. A Wal-Mart financial report in 2006 also indicated that Wal-Mart customers are sensitive to higher utility costs and gas prices. A poll indicated that after 2004 US Presidential Election
United States presidential election, 2004
The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Republican Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator...

 76% of voters who shopped at Wal-Mart once a week voted for George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

, while only 23% supported senator John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

. When measured against other similar retailers in the U.S., frequent Wal-Mart shoppers were rated the most politically conservative.

In 2006, Wal-Mart took steps to expand its US customer base, announcing a modification in its US stores from a "one-size-fits-all" merchandising strategy to one designed to "reflect each of six demographic groups African-Americans, the affluent, empty-nesters, Hispanics, suburbanites and rural residents." Around six months later, it unveiled a new slogan: "Saving people money so they can live better lives". This reflects the three main groups into which Wal-Mart categorizes its 200 million customers: "brand aspirationals" (people with low incomes who are obsessed with names like KitchenAid
KitchenAid
KitchenAid is a home appliance brand owned by Whirlpool Corporation. The company was started in 1919 by The Hobart Corporation to give restaurants a countertop alternative to their industrial sized mixers. The first model weighed 69 lbs. Each unit is still assembled by hand in Greenville, Ohio...

), "price-sensitive affluents" (wealthier shoppers who love deals), and "value-price shoppers" (people who like low prices and cannot afford much more). Wal-Mart has also made steps to appeal to more liberal
Liberalism in the United States
Liberalism in the United States is a broad political philosophy centered on the unalienable rights of the individual. The fundamental liberal ideals of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion for all belief systems, and the separation of church and state, right to due process...

 customers, for example, by rejecting the American Family Association
American Family Association
The American Family Association is a 501 non-profit organization that promotes conservative Christian values, such as opposition to same-sex marriage, pornography, and abortion, as well as other public policy goals such as deregulation of the oil industry and lobbying against the Employee Free...

's recommendations and carrying the DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

 Brokeback Mountain
Brokeback Mountain
Brokeback Mountain is a 2005 romantic drama film directed by Ang Lee. It is a film adaptation of the 1997 short story of the same name by Annie Proulx with the screenplay written by Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry...

,
a love story between two gay cowboys in Wyoming.

Economic impact

Kenneth Stone, Professor of Economics at Iowa State University
Iowa State University
Iowa State University of Science and Technology, more commonly known as Iowa State University , is a public land-grant and space-grant research university located in Ames, Iowa, United States. Iowa State has produced astronauts, scientists, and Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, along with a host of...

, in a paper published in Farm Foundation in 1997, found that some small towns can lose almost half of their retail trade within ten years of a Wal-Mart store opening. He compared the changes to previous competitors small town shops have faced in the past—from the development of the railroads and the Sears Roebuck catalog to shopping malls. He concludes that small towns are more affected by "discount mass merchandiser stores" than larger towns and that shop owners who adapt to the ever changing retail market can "co-exist and even thrive in this type of environment."

One study found Wal-Mart's entry into a new market has a profound impact on its retail competition. When a Wal-Mart opens in a new market, median sales drop 40% at similar high-volume stores, 17% at supermarkets and 6% at drugstores
Pharmacy
Pharmacy is the health profession that links the health sciences with the chemical sciences and it is charged with ensuring the safe and effective use of pharmaceutical drugs...

, according to the June 2009 study by researchers at several universities and led by the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College is a private, Ivy League university in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States. The institution comprises a liberal arts college, Dartmouth Medical School, Thayer School of Engineering, and the Tuck School of Business, as well as 19 graduate programs in the arts and sciences...

.
A Loyola University Chicago
Loyola University Chicago
Loyola University Chicago is a private Jesuit research university located in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1870 under the title St...

 study suggested that the impact a Wal-Mart store has on a local business is correlated to its distance from that store. The leader of that study admits that this factor is stronger in smaller towns and doesn't apply to more urban areas saying "It'd be so tough to nail down what's up with Wal-Mart".

A June 2006 article published by the libertarian
Libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

 Ludwig von Mises Institute
Ludwig von Mises Institute
The Ludwig von Mises Institute , based in Auburn, Alabama, is a libertarian academic organization engaged in research and scholarship in the fields of economics, philosophy and political economy. Its scholarship is inspired by the work of Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises...

 suggested that Wal-Mart has a positive impact on small business. It argued that while Wal-Mart's low prices caused some existing businesses to close, the chain also created new opportunities for other small business, and so "the process of creative destruction
Creative destruction
Creative destruction is a term originally derived from Marxist economic theory which refers to the linked processes of the accumulation and annihilation of wealth under capitalism. These processes were first described in The Communist Manifesto and were expanded in Marx's Grundrisse and "Volume...

 unleashed by Wal-Mart has no statistically significant impact on the overall size of the small business sector in the United States."

For the concern of jobs, a study commissioned by Wal-Mart with consulting firm Global Insight
Global Insight
Global Insight is the world's largest economics organization, serving over 3,800 clients in industry, finance and government worldwide, with revenues of over $95 million and employing more than 600 economists and other staff in 23 offices in 13 countries...

, found that its stores' presence saves working families more than US$2,500 per year, while creating more than 210,000 jobs in the U.S. Alternately, the Economic Policy Institute
Economic Policy Institute
The Economic Policy Institute is a 501 non-profit, liberal, nonpartisan think tank that seeks to broaden the public debate about strategies to achieve a prosperous and fair economy...

 estimates that between 2001 and 2006, Wal-Mart’s trade deficit with China alone eliminated nearly 200,000 U.S. jobs. Another study at the University of Missouri
University of Missouri
The University of Missouri System is a state university system providing centralized administration for four universities, a health care system, an extension program, five research and technology parks, and a publishing press. More than 64,000 students are currently enrolled at its four campuses...

 found that a new store increases net retail employment in the county by 100 jobs in the short term, half of which disappear over five years as other retail establishments close.

Studies of Wal-Mart show consumers benefit from lower costs. Another study by Global Insight found that Wal-Mart's growth between 1985 and 2004 resulted in food-at-home prices that were 9.1% lower and overall prices (as measured by the Consumer Price Index
Consumer price index
A consumer price index measures changes in the price level of consumer goods and services purchased by households. The CPI, in the United States is defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as "a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of...

) that were 3.1% lower than they would otherwise have been. A 2005 Washington Post story reported that "Wal-Mart's discounting on food alone boosts the welfare of American shoppers by at least $50 billion per year." A study in 2005 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

 measured the effect on consumer welfare
Welfare economics
Welfare economics is a branch of economics that uses microeconomic techniques to evaluate economic well-being, especially relative to competitive general equilibrium within an economy as to economic efficiency and the resulting income distribution associated with it...

 and found that the poorest segment of the population benefits the most from the existence of discount retailers. A 2004 paper by two professors at Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania State University
The Pennsylvania State University, commonly referred to as Penn State or PSU, is a public research university with campuses and facilities throughout the state of Pennsylvania, United States. Founded in 1855, the university has a threefold mission of teaching, research, and public service...

 found that U.S. counties with Wal-Mart stores suffered increased poverty compared with counties without Wal-Marts. They hypothesized, to explain their results: This could be due to the displacement of workers from higher-paid jobs in the retailers customers no longer choose to patronize, Wal-Mart providing less local charity than the replaced businesses, or a shrinking pool of local leadership and reduced social capital
Social capital
Social capital is a sociological concept, which refers to connections within and between social networks. The concept of social capital highlights the value of social relations and the role of cooperation and confidence to get collective or economic results. The term social capital is frequently...

 due to a reduced number of local independent businesses. Dr Raj Patel
Raj Patel
Raj Patel is a British-born American academic, journalist, activist and writer who has lived and worked in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the United States for extended periods. He is best known for his 2008 book, Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System...

, author of Stuffed and Starved
Stuffed and Starved
Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System is a non-fiction book written by Raj Patel. It was published in 2008 by Melville House Publishing...

: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World Food System
, said in a lecture at the University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne is a public university located in Melbourne, Victoria. Founded in 1853, it is the second oldest university in Australia and the oldest in Victoria...

 on 18 September 2007, that a study in Nebraska looked at two different Wal-Marts, the first of which had just arrived and "was in the process of driving everyone else out of business but, to do that, they cut their prices to the bone, very, very low prices". In the other Wal-Mart, "they had successfully destroyed the local economy, there was a sort of economic crater with Wal-Mart in the middle; and, in that community, the prices were 17 per cent higher".

Employee and labor relations

Labor unions
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

, Christian organizations, and environmental groups have criticized Wal-Mart for its policies and/or business practices. In particular, several labor unions blame Wal-Mart workers' unwillingness to join their organizations on the company's anti-union stance. Others disapprove of the corporation's extensive foreign product sourcing, treatment of employees and product suppliers, environmental practices, and use of public subsidies
Corporate welfare
Corporate welfare is a pejorative term describing a government's bestowal of money grants, tax breaks, or other special favorable treatment on corporations or selected corporations. The term compares corporate subsidies and welfare payments to the poor, and implies that corporations are much less...

, and the impact of stores on the local economies of towns in which they operate.

In 2005, two national campaigns to criticize Wal-Mart were launched: the (United Food and Commercial Workers
United Food and Commercial Workers
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union is a labor union representing approximately 1.3 million workers in the United States and Canada in many industries, including agriculture, health care, meatpacking, poultry and food processing, manufacturing, textile, G4S Security, chemical...

) launched Wake Up Wal-Mart
Wake Up Wal-Mart
Wake Up Wal-Mart is a campaign group founded by United Food and Commercial Workers Union. It is based in Washington, D.C. and is often critical of the business practices of Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, and the largest private employer in the United States...

 and The Center for Community and Corporate Ethics launched Wal-Mart Watch
Wal-Mart Watch
Walmart Watch, formed in the spring of 2005, is a joint project of the Center for Community and Corporate Ethics, a non-profit organization studying the impact of large corporations on society and its advocacy arm, Five Stones.-Backers and funding:...

. By the end of 2005, Wal-Mart launched Working Families for Wal-Mart
Working Families for Wal-Mart
Working Families for Walmart is an advocacy group formed by Walmart and the Edelman public relations firm on December 20, 2005. It has been used to praise Wal-Mart in a show of opposition to union-funded groups such as Wake Up Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart Watch. The group is financially supported by...

, an operation managed by Wal-Mart to tell the company's side of the story. Additional efforts to counter criticism included a PR
Public relations
Public relations is the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc....

 campaign in 2005, managed through its PR website walmartfacts.com, as well as several television commercials. The company retained the PR firm Edelman
Edelman (firm)
Edelman is a global public relations firm with consumer, finance, healthcare, technology and industrial practices. It employs over 3,600 people in 53 offices around the globe. Edelman was founded in 1952 by Daniel J. Edelman and is today led by his son President & CEO Richard Edelman...

 to respond to negative media attention, and started interacting directly with bloggers by sending them news, suggesting topics for postings, and sometimes inviting them to visit its corporate headquarters. Similarly, in 2010, several of Wal-Mart's opponents have hired The Saint Consulting Group
The Saint Consulting Group
The Saint Consulting Group is a privately held management consulting firm based in Hingham, Massachusetts. The Saint Consulting Group works in land use consulting, generating public support to help companies navigate the local governmental approval process...

 to support grass-roots campaigns against Wal-Mart. The most notable of these include grocery chains such as Safeway Inc.
Safeway Inc.
Safeway Inc. , a Fortune 500 company, is North America's second largest supermarket chain after The Kroger Co., with, as of December 2010, 1,694 stores located throughout the western and central United States and western Canada. It also operates some stores in the Mid-Atlantic region of the Eastern...

, SuperValu
Supervalu (United States)
SuperValu Inc. is a United States grocery retailer and distributor. The corporation, headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, has been in business for over a century. It is the third-largest food retailing company in the United States , and ranks #51 on the Fortune 100 list.On June 2, 2006,...

, and Ahold
Ahold
Ahold is a major international supermarket operator based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Ahold is listed on Euronext Amsterdam and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.-History:...

, concerned that the presence of Wal-Mart will add more competition to their operations.

In June 2006, Walmart was excluded from the investment portfolio of The Government Pension Fund of Norway
The Government Pension Fund of Norway
The Government Pension Fund of Norway comprises two entirely separate sovereign wealth funds owned by the Government of Norway:* The Government Pension Fund - Global...

, which held stock values of about US$ 430 million in the company, due to a social audit into alleged labor rights violations in the company's operations in the US and worldwide. Although Walmart did not respond to questions from the fund's auditors, the company later claimed the decision "don't appear to be based on complete information".

In the past, Wal-mart has been accused of locking night-shift workers in at night, paying employees below minimum wage
Minimum wage
A minimum wage is the lowest hourly, daily or monthly remuneration that employers may legally pay to workers. Equivalently, it is the lowest wage at which workers may sell their labour. Although minimum wage laws are in effect in a great many jurisdictions, there are differences of opinion about...

, and exposing employees to health hazard
Hazard
A hazard is a situation that poses a level of threat to life, health, property, or environment. Most hazards are dormant or potential, with only a theoretical risk of harm; however, once a hazard becomes "active", it can create an emergency situation. A hazard does not exist when it is not...

s. Wal-Mart's own "Standards for Suppliers" reports document extensive problems of this kind among the company's "directly-sourced" factories. Full-time Wal-Mart employees earn an average of $10.78 per hour, but critics point out that the starting pay can be far lowerplacing some employees with children below the poverty lineand that payrates do not rise as quickly as with unionized companies. Others decry low levels of health coverage or overpriced health insurance, though the company reports that it offers rates as low as $5 per month in some areas ($9 per month nationwide) and that 92% of its associates are insured (though not necessarily through Wal-Mart). Other grievances regard poor working conditions
Occupational safety and health
Occupational safety and health is a cross-disciplinary area concerned with protecting the safety, health and welfare of people engaged in work or employment. The goal of all occupational safety and health programs is to foster a safe work environment...

, unfavorable employer-employee relationships, and anti-union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 policies. Many suggest that Wal-Mart's high annual turnover
Turnover (employment)
In a human resources context, turnover or staff turnover or labour turnover is the rate at which an employer gains and loses employees. Simple ways to describe it are "how long employees tend to stay" or "the rate of traffic through the revolving door." Turnover is measured for individual companies...

-rate of ~70% shows that workers are dissatisfied and maltreated.

In response, Jay Nordlinger
Jay Nordlinger
Jay Nordlinger is an American journalist. He is a senior editor of National Review, the conservative magazine founded by William F. Buckley Jr. in 1955. He also writes a column for the magazine’s website, "National...

 of National Review
National Review
National Review is a biweekly magazine founded by the late author William F. Buckley, Jr., in 1955 and based in New York City. It describes itself as "America's most widely read and influential magazine and web site for conservative news, commentary, and opinion."Although the print version of the...

argues that Wal-Mart is attacked simply because it is a leader of the Fortune 500 list or the largest employer in America, and a "free-market success story". Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller are Las Vegas headliners whose act is an amalgam of illusion and comedy. Penn Jillette is a raconteur; Teller generally uses mime while performing, although his voice can occasionally be heard during their performance...

 devoted an episode of Bullshit! to an analysis of Wal-Mart criticism as a social movement. They theorized that despite the noble rhetoric, the real motivation of "Wal-Mart haters" was rooted in human psychology. They suggested that hating Wal-Mart permits a person "to feel better about themselves" for three main reasons: They "don't run a greedy international conglomerate", they aren't Wal-Mart workers, widely considered "low-skilled, minimum wage drones", and they aren't Wal-Mart customers thought of as "toothless, welfare-getting hillbillies". Wal-Mart stores are unionized in every country outside of North America.

Wal-Mart has opposed the Employee Free Choice Act
Employee Free Choice Act
The Employee Free Choice Act was a legislative bill that was introduced into both chambers of the U.S. Congress on March 10, 2009. The bill's purpose was to,...

 (EFCA), which would make it easier for workers to unionize by removing the employer's ability to demand a secret ballot in union elections, and which would require mandatory arbitration of labor disputes. In mid-2008, the company required store managers and department heads to attend meetings at which opposition to the EFCA was used as a fulcrum for criticism of Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 candidates in the elections for the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 and the House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

, as well as of the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee, Senator Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

. At these meetings, Wal-Mart human resources managers warned that Democratic victories might result in passage of the EFCA and hence more unionization. At one meeting, a Wal-Mart customer service supervisor from Missouri stated, "I am not telling you how to vote, but if the Democrats win, this bill will pass and you won't have a vote on whether you want a union. A Wal-Mart spokesman, while acknowledging that the meetings were taking place nationwide, said, "If anyone representing Wal-Mart gave the impression we were telling associates how to vote, they were wrong and acting without approval." Several labor-rights groups including the AFL-CIO
AFL-CIO
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, commonly AFL–CIO, is a national trade union center, the largest federation of unions in the United States, made up of 56 national and international unions, together representing more than 11 million workers...

 have asked the Federal Election Commission
Federal Election Commission
The Federal Election Commission is an independent regulatory agency that was founded in 1975 by the United States Congress to regulate the campaign finance legislation in the United States. It was created in a provision of the 1975 amendment to the Federal Election Campaign Act...

 to investigate whether Wal-Mart broke federal election rules by advocating against Democratic candidate Barack Obama in meetings with employees.

According to a Newsweek article, Wal-Mart, after years of fierce fighting, accepted organized labor in China. Labor unions in China do not negotiate contracts, but rather they are an arm of the state "to secure the social order" and provide funding to the Communist Party.

Gender and sexual orientation

In 2007, a gender discrimination
Discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

 lawsuit, Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., a sexual discrimination lawsuit, was the largest civil rights class action suit in United States history. It charged Wal-Mart with discriminating against women in promotions, pay, and job assignments in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.The case...

, was filed against Walmart, alleging that female employees were discriminated against in matters regarding pay and promotions. A class action
Class action
In law, a class action, a class suit, or a representative action is a form of lawsuit in which a large group of people collectively bring a claim to court and/or in which a class of defendants is being sued...

 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
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 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
Human Rights Campaign
The Human Rights Campaign is the United States' largest LGBT advocacy group and lobbying organization; according to the HRC, it has more than one million members and supporters...

's Corporate Equality Index
Corporate Equality Index
The Corporate Equality Index is a report published by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation as a tool to rate American businesses on their treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, consumers and investors. Its primary source of data are surveys but researchers cross-check...

, a measure of how companies treat LGBT
LGBT
LGBT is an initialism that collectively refers to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community" beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the...

 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
Target Corporation
Target Corporation, doing business as Target, is an American retailing company headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is the second-largest discount retailer in the United States, behind Walmart. The company is ranked at number 33 on the Fortune 500 and is a component of the Standard & Poor's...

 at 80% and Kmart
Kmart
Kmart, sometimes styled as "K-Mart," is a chain of discount department stores. The chain acquired Sears in 2005, forming a new corporation under the name Sears Holdings Corporation. The company was founded in 1962 and is the third largest discount store chain in the world, behind Wal-Mart and...

 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

  • Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price
    Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price
    Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price is a 2005 documentary film by director Robert Greenwald. The film presents an unfavorable picture of Wal-Mart's business practices through interviews with former employees, small business owners, and footage of Wal-Mart executives...

    – a 2005 documentary film
    Documentary film
    Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

     by director Robert Greenwald
    Robert Greenwald
    Robert Greenwald is an American film director, film producer, and political activist.-Early life:Greenwald was born and raised in New York City, the son of Ruth and Harold Greenwald. He attended the city's High School of Performing Arts...

  • Why Wal-Mart Works; and Why That Drives Some People C-R-A-Z-Y
    Why Wal-Mart Works; and Why That Drives Some People C-R-A-Z-Y
    Why Wal-Mart Works; and Why That Drives Some People C-R-A-Z-Y is a 2005 independent documentary film by Ron and Robert David Galloway. It investigates the reasons behind the financial success of the Wal-Mart Corporation...

    – a 2005 rebuttal to the Greenwald documentary
  • Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes
    Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes
    "Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes" is episode 120 of Comedy Central's South Park. This episode originally aired on November 3, 2004. Its title and theme were inspired by the 1983 Disney movie Something Wicked This Way Comes based on the 1962 novel by Ray Bradbury.-Plot:The episode begins with...

    – a 2004 episode of Comedy Central
    Comedy Central
    Comedy Central is an American cable television and satellite television channel that carries comedy programming, both original and syndicated....

    's South Park
    South Park
    South Park is an American animated television series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the Comedy Central television network. Intended for mature audiences, the show has become famous for its crude language, surreal, satirical, and dark humor that lampoons a wide range of topics...


Other

  • Wal-Mart camel – a bone fossil
    Fossil
    Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals , plants, and other organisms from the remote past...

     of a prehistoric camel
    Camel
    A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. There are two species of camels: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the bactrian has two humps. Dromedaries are native to the dry desert areas of West Asia,...

     found at a future Wal-Mart store in Mesa, Arizona
    Mesa, Arizona
    According to the 2010 Census, the racial composition of Mesa was as follows:* White: 77.1% * Hispanic or Latino : 26.54%* Black or African American: 3.5%* Two or more races: 3.4%* Native American: 2.4%...

  • Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach
    Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach
    The First Tee Open is a golf tournament on the Champions Tour. Normally held in August/September in Monterey, California at the Pebble Beach Golf Links and Del Monte Golf Course, but has been moved to July. It is an official Champions tour event that pairs one junior with one champions tour player...

     – a golf
    Golf
    Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

     tournament
  • Walmarting
    Walmarting
    Walmarting is a neologism referring to U.S. discount department store Walmart with three meanings.* The first use is similar to the concept of globalization and is used pejoratively by critics and neutrally by businesses seeking to emulate Wal-Mart's success....

     – a neologism

Further reading

  • Charles Fishman. The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works--and How It's Transforming the American Economy (2006)
  • Paul Ingram, Lori Qingyuan Yue, and Hayagreeva Rao. "Trouble in Store: Probes, Protests, and Store Openings by Wal‐Mart, 1998–2007," American Journal of Sociology July 2010, Vol. 116, No. 1: pp 53–92.
  • Nelson Lichtenstein. The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business (2009)
  • Sandra Stringer Vance and Roy V. Scott. Wal-Mart: A History of Sam Walton's Retail Phenomenon (Twayne's Evolution of Modern Business Series) (1997), academic study

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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