New Improved Walmart Hits No. 1 in Midst of Global Recession
We live in turbulent times. Since the collapse of the U.S. housing market in 2008, the unemployment rate has more than doubled. Iconic American businesses have gone belly up or been bailed out with taxpayer money. Entire nations have teetered on the edge of bankruptcy. Yet, despite widespread turmoil, some organizations have actually defied the global recession—Walmart is a case in point. During this same period of economic decline, Walmart increased profits, created thousands of new jobs annually, expanded its operations overseas, launched a sustainable-business revolution, extended health coverage to 1.2 million people, unveiled a hunger-relief program, developed 75 percent of store management from hourly associates, and saved the average American household $3,100 annually. In the words of the company motto, Walmart has helped people “Save money. Live better.” As the world’s largest corporation and private employer, Walmart possesses a massive economic profile. In 2010, the Bentonville, Arkansas–based retailer hit No. 1 on the Fortune 500 list and was ranked among the top ten world’s most admired companies. Fiscal year sales reached $405 billion, and the company’s diverse workforce grew to more than 2 million people worldwide. The big-box leader operated 8,400 retail units in 15 countries, including 2,747 supercenters, 803 discount stores, and 596 Sam’s Clubs in the United States alone. It donated more than $400 million to charities and maintained partnerships with 61,000 suppliers. If Walmart were a country, its economy would rank among the top 25 nations, rivaling Saudi Arabia and Sweden. The company’s recession-defying growth springs from a familiar but groundbreaking retail formula: unbeatable low prices made possible by high-volume purchasing, ultra-efficient logistics, and advanced supply-chain technology. Significant cost reductions from increased efficiencies and... [continues]
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