1. Introduction and executive summary of WAL-MART stores:
Wal-Mart was started the year in 1962, with the opening of the first Wal-Mart discount store in Rogers, Ark. The company incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., on 31/10/1969. Between 1945 and 1961, Sam Walton and his brother, bud, developed a chain of 15 Ben Franklin franchised variety stores across rural Arkansas. Experiencing increasing price competition from newly established discount retailers with large format stores offering a broad range of products, Sam and Bud began developing their own discount store concept. The company's shares began trading on OTC markets in 1970 and were listed on the New York Stock Exchange two years later. The company grew to 276 stores in 11 states by the end of the decade. Walton built his first distribution center, and in the same year took the company public in order to finance the heavy investment involved. Replicating this structure of large distribution hubs serving up to 100 discount stores formed the basis for Wal-Mart’s expansion strategy. By 1980, Wal-Mart has 330 stores across the South and into the Midwest. By 1995, Wal-Mart was in all 50 states. Geographical expansion was incremental. In developing a new area, Wal-Mart built a few stores that were served initially by extending distribution from a nearby cluster. When a critical mass of stores had been established, Wal-Mart would build a new distribution center. As Wal-Mart became a national retail chain, so it entered more developed retailing areas, including larger cities, where it met stronger competition from other discount chains. In 1983, the company opened its first Sam’s Club membership warehouse and in 1988 opened the first supercenter – now the company’s dominant format – featuring a complete grocery in addition to general merchandise. Wal-Mart became an international company in 1991 when it opened its first Sam's Club near Mexico City (information from the Wal-Mart website: http://Wal-Martstores.com/AboutUs/). 2. Strategic corporate development history:
The historical strategies of the company with regards to the new way of doing business looks positive and promising, but how sustainable is it for WAL-MART stores remains a question mark, which was faced during this exercise as well (Basker, 2005). It is clear that WAL-MART stores cannot depend only on one aspect of the business to make it a success, rather consider many ways that make the sustainability possible to remain in the market. Historical strategy changes of WAL-MART stores has been explored from the time it was felt to have made a correlation to the current strategy or the company’s situation it is in at the moment. The above was helpful to understand the image of WAL-MART stores and its history over the past years, which has gone through many changes due to the market situation and also due to the weaknesses in the management to identify the needs of the customers on time and adjust the marketing strategies accordingly; an example is not accepting credit cards whereas most other leading retailers did and whereby WAL-MART stores lost a great deal of profits. Wal-Mart’s Change strategy:
Same stores sales have matured and are flat and achieving same store growth has become increasingly difficult. The lower income Wal-Mart customer was unable to take the store to the next level by buying more expensive merchandise. New stores in urban areas are more expensive to start-up with higher real estate costs, taxes, and other retailers willing to bid high for scarce, quality retail space (Baum and Helaine, 1999). Target was also established in many of the suburban communities Wal-Mart sought to enter. Local communities fought against the opening of Wal-Mart stores trying to protect local retailers. This caused negative publicity against Wal-Mart and increased costs in legal fees to try to locate stores. Wal-Mart came under intense criticism from labor unions and other organizations tarnishing the image...