The History of Walmart

This article covers the history of Walmart, the large international discount retail chain.
950, Walton purchased a store from Luther E. Harrison in Bentonville, Arkansas, and opened Walton's 5 & 10.[1] Thus, the Ozark Mountain town of 2,900 residents would become the headquarters for the world's largest retailer.
In 1962 Walton invested 95% of the capital to open the first 

1960s and 1970s

Logo used from 1962 – 1968
At some point Sam Walton made the decision to achieve higher sales volumes by keeping sales prices lower than his competitors by reducing his profit margin. Inspired by the successes of other discount department store chains, Walton opened the first store in his own discount chain in Rogers, Arkansas that year. Responsible for the purchase and maintenance of signage, Walton's assistant, Bob Bogle, came up with the name "Wal-Mart" for the new chain.[2] By 1967, the company grew to 24 stores across the state of Arkansas, and had reached $12.6 million in sales, and by 1968, the company opened its first stores outside of Arkansas in Sikeston, Missouri and Claremore, Oklahoma.[3]
The company's first stock split occurred in May 1972 at a market price of $47. By this time, Walmart was operating in five statesArkansasKansasLouisianaMissouri and Oklahoma, and entered Tennessee in 1973, and Kentucky and Mississippi in 1974. As the company moved into Texas in 1975, there were 125 stores with 7,500 associates, and total sales of $340.3 million.

Logo used from 1968 – 1981
By 1977, Wal-Mart made its first corporate acquisition, assuming ownership and operation of the Mohr-Value stores, which operated in Missouri and Illinois.[4] This was followed by the acquisition of theHutcheson Shoe Company in 1978. In the same year Walmart also branched out into several new markets, launching its pharmacy, auto service center, and jewelry divisions.
By 1979, with 276 stores and 21,000 associates, Walmart reached $1.248 billion in sales.[citation needed

1980s and 1990s

Logo used from 1981 – 1992
In 1981, Wal-Mart moved into the southeastern US market, opening stores in Georgia and South Carolina, and acquiring 92 Kuhn's Big Kstores. They moved into Florida and Nebraska in 1982.
In April 1983, the company opened its first Sam's Club store, a membership-based discount warehouse club, in Midwest City, Oklahoma. They also opened new Wal-Mart stores in IndianaIowaNew Mexico and North Carolina, and implemented "people greeters" in all of their stores. In 1984, they entered the Virginia market.
In 1985, with 882 stores with sales of $8.4 billion and 104,000 associates, the company enteredWisconsin and Colorado, and the first stores in Minnesota opened the following year, in 1986.
By the company's twenty-fifth anniversary in 1987, there were offices to track inventory, sales, and send instant communication to their stores.[5] Continuing their technological upgrades, they had equipped 90% of their stores with barcode readers by 1988, to further assist in keeping track of their large inventory.
In February 1988, company founder Sam Walton stepped down as Chief Executive Officer, and David Glass was named to succeed him.[6] Walton remained on as Chairman of the Corporate Board of Directors, and the company also restructured their senior management positions, elevating a cadre of executives to positions of greater responsibility.
Also in 1988, the first Wal-Mart Supercenter opened in Washington, Missouri. The supercenter concept features everything contained in a standard Walmart discount store, in addition to a tire and oil change shop, optical center, one-hour photo processing lab, portrait studio, and numerous alcove shops such as banks, cellular telephone stores, hair and nail salons, video rental stores, and other fast food outlets.
By 1989, Walmart was operating in 27 states with the addition of MichiganWest VirginiaNew Jersey, and Wyoming. By 1990, they entered the markets of CaliforniaNevadaNorth DakotaPennsylvania,South Dakota and Utah. The Walmart Visitor's Center also opened this year on the site of Sam Walton's original store.
The 1990s saw an era of furious growth on an unprecedented scale and the incorporation of several new ideas and technology into the business.
In 1990, US sales had quadrupled to $32 billion over the previous five years [2] and Walmart acquiredThe McLane Company, a food service distributor,[7] which was later sold to Berkshire Hathaway in 2003.[8]
In 1991, the company moved into the ConnecticutDelawareMaineMarylandMassachusettsNew Hampshire, and New York markets. Walmart entered the international market in this year, with the opening of their first store in Mexico City. They also acquired Western Merchandisers, Inc. of Amarillo, Texas. 1991 also saw the launch of the Sam's American Choice brand of products.

Logo used from 1992 – 2008
On March 17, 1992 US President George H. W. Bush presented Sam Walton with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Sam Walton died on April 5, 1992. His eldest son, S. Robson Walton, succeeded him as Chairman of the corporate board of directors, on April 7, 1992. This year, Walmart had a presence in 45 states with the addition of Idaho,Montana, and Oregon, as well as Puerto Rico.
In 1993, the Walmart International Division was formed with Bobby Martin as its president. The company also enters the US markets of AlaskaHawaiiRhode Island and Washington. Their stores also achieve the billion-dollar sales mark in one week in December 1993.
In 1994, the National Advertising Review Board challenged the Walmart slogan, "Always the low price. Always," contending that it implied that Walmart's prices were always the lowest and could mislead some shoppers. In response, Walmart adopted a new slogan, "Always low prices. Always."[9]
Also in 1994, the Code Adam program was instituted in Walmart stores. That same year, Walmart acquired 91 PACE Membership Warehouse clubs from Kmart and 122 Woolco stores in Canada in 1994. In addition, it opened 3 value clubs in Hong Kong, and had 96 stores in Mexico.
By 1995, Walmart had 1,995 discount stores, 239 Supercenters, 433 SAM'S CLUBS and 276 international stores with sales at $93.6 billion (including US sales of $78 billion) and 675,000 associates. Walmart entered its 50th state (Vermont), and entered the South American market, with three new units inArgentina and five in Brazil.
The company entered the Chinese market in 1996 through a joint-venture agreement.
In 1997, Walmart replaced Woolworth on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The company had its first $100 billion sales year, with sales totaling $118.1 billion. Also this year, they acquired 21 Wertkauf stores in Germany, and introduced their OneSource nutrition centers.
In 1998, Walmart introduced the Neighborhood Market concept at three stores in Arkansas. Neighborhood Market stores are predominantly grocery stores, and are meant to attract customers with easier parking, less crowded aisles and quicker checkout. Internationally Walmart enters South Korea by acquiring 4 stores operated by Korea Makro.
Also in 1998, Walmart launched its Wal-Mart Television Network, a vast, in-store advertising network showing commercials for products sold in the stores, concert clips and music videos for a recording artist's media, trailers for upcoming movie releases, and news.
The Asda chain in the United Kingdom became a subsidiary in 1999, and is the second largest chain in the UK after Tesco.

21st century

In 2000, H. Lee Scott was named president and CEO and US sales had doubled to $156 billion since 1995.
Also in 2000, Walmart was ranked fifth by Fortune magazine on its Global Most Admired All-Stars list, and in 2003 and 2004, as the most admired company in America.
In 2002 Walmart entered the Japanese market by acquiring a minor stake in Seiyu, by 2008 Seiyu would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Walmart.
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 3,800 international units, and employing more than 1.6 million associates worldwide. In fact, their US presence had grown so rapidly that there were only small pockets of the country that remained further than 60 miles away from the nearest Walmart.[10] Approximately 138 million customers visited Walmart stores each week all over the world. Their corporate philanthropy efforts also assisted the US hurricane relief efforts with $18 million in cash donations. Through a purchase of stock in Central American Retail Holding Company (CARHCO), Walmart also enters the countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.
On 22 May 2006 Walmart announced the sale of its 16 stores in South Korea to Shinsegae Co, which rebranded the stores to E-Mart. Then on 26 July 2006 Walmart announced its complete pull-out of the German market; all existing 85 stores were sold to the Metro Group which rebranded most of the stores toReal (hypermarket).
On September 12, 2007, after 13 years, Walmart introduced new advertising with the slogan, "Save Money Live Better," instead of "Always Low Prices, Always." It commissioned Global Insight for the adsand the report stated that as of 2006, the retailer saves American families $2,500 yearly (up 7.3% from $2,329, 2004). The new research found that the reduction in price levels due to Walmart resulted tosavings for consumers of $287 billion in 2006, which is $957 per person or $2,500 per household.

Logo designed in 2008
On June 30, 2008, Walmart unveiled the company's new logo, which stylized the name as "Walmart". A spark, a symbol chosen to represent Walmart associates, replaces the star.
In early 2009 Walmart entered the country of Chile by acquiring Distribucion y Servicio D&S SA. Then in May 2009 Walmart entered into a 50/50 partnership with Bharti to gain access to the Indian market.
On February 22, 2010, the company confirmed it is acquiring the video streaming company Vudu, Inc. for an estimated $100 million.[11]
In June 2011, Walmart acquired 51% of Massmart Holdings. This acquisition gives the company access to the African countries of: South AfricaBotswanaGhanaLesothoMalawiMauritiusMozambique,NamibiaNigeriaSwazilandTanzaniaUganda and Zambia.
The Massmart acquisition received final governmental approval in early 2012. Also the one store in Mauritius was closed in January of this same year.

New ventures

In late 2005, Walmart designed two experimental stores, one in McKinney, Texas and the other in Aurora, Colorado, which featured wind turbines, photovoltaic solar panels, biofuel-capable boilers, water-cooled refrigerators, and xeriscape gardens.[12] The buildings also included many other energy and cost saving technologies.
In March 2006, Walmart sought to appeal to a more affluent demographic, with the opening of a new supercenter in Plano, Texas which was intended to compete against stores that some viewed as more upscale and appealing.[13] The new store features wooden floors, wider aisles, a sushi bar, a coffee/sandwich shop (with free Wi-Fi Internet access), a Subway, and higher-end items such asmicrobrew beer, expensive wines, and high-end electronics. The exterior sports the less-common hunter green background behind the Walmart letters instead of the trademark blue.
In response to the popularity of organic food supermarkets, such as Whole Foods and Wild Oats, Walmart announced plans in May 2006, to increase the amount of organic food available in its stores.[14] They announced that both conventionally grown and organic versions of certain products would be available, and the price of organic versions would not be more than 10% over the price of conventionally-grown products.[14] Since Walmart is one of the nation's largest grocery retailers, there was some concern expressed that their push to lower prices would not be sustainable for inexpensive organic food.[15]
The 2010 remodelings of their smaller stores shifted their emphasis away from non-grocery products towards carrying grocery items carried by their supercenters. This has created a small backlash amongst some loyal customers. The smaller sizes and the larger sizes in the adult clothing were discontinued as well as available styles, forcing adult customers to look for clothing in the children's section, or go to the more expensive specialty Big and Tall stores for basic items like jeans. Their popular Wrangler and Faded Glory brands are not readily available through their on-line stores in the larger sizes, making many of their customers feel that Walmart has completely abandoned their needs now that they have driven Kmart out of most areas and is more interested in maximizing their profits and pursuing the affluent demographic than being the one-stop-store filling the needs for the entire family.

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