Wal-Mart serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week. This large organization serves them in the ways they want to be served – in retail outlets, online and on mobile devices. Wal-Mart operates under 69 different banners in 27 countries. With fiscal year 2012 sales of approximately $444 billion, Wal-Mart employs 2.2 million associates worldwide. (Wal-Mart Corporate) Since the first Wal-Mart store opened in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas, they have been dedicated to making a difference in the lives of their customers. Wal-Mart’s business is the result of Sam Walton's visionary leadership, along with generations of associates focused on helping customers and communities save money and live better. This rich heritage defines who Wal-Mart is and what they do today. (Walmart Heritage) What I have intended to do in this research paper is the give a brief history, a SWOT analysis, and description of some of the problems Wal-Mart has and will face.
Wal-Mart as we know it today evolved from Sam Walton’s goals for great value and great customer service. “Mr. Sam,” as he was known, believed in leadership through service. This belief that true leadership depends on willing service was the principle on which Wal-Mart was built, and drove the decisions the company has made for the past 50 years. So much of Wal-Mart’s history is tied to the story of Sam Walton himself, and so much of the company’s future will be rooted in Mr. Sam’s principles. Sam Walton was born in 1918 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. In 1942, at the age of 24, he joined the military. He married Helen Robson in 1943. When his military service ended in 1945, Sam and Helen moved to Iowa and then to Newport, Arkansas. During this time, Sam gained early retail experience, eventually operating his own variety store. In 1950, the Waltons left Newport for Bentonville, where Sam opened Walton’s 5&10 on the downtown square. They chose Bentonville because Helen wanted small-town living, and Sam could take advantage of the different hunting seasons that living at the corner of four states had to offer. Inspired by the early success of his dime store, and driven to bring even greater opportunity and value to his customers, Sam opened the first Wal-Mart in 1962 at the age of 44 in Rogers, Arkansas. Sam's competitors thought his idea that a successful business could be built around offering lower prices and great service would never work. As it turned out, the company's success exceeded even Sam's expectations. The company went public in 1970, and the proceeds financed a steady expansion of the business. Sam credited the rapid growth of Wal-Mart not just to the low costs that attracted his customers, but also to his associates. He relied on them to give customers the great shopping experience that would keep them coming back. Sam shared his vision for the company with associates in a way that was nearly unheard of in the industry. He made them partners in the success of the company, and firmly believed that this partnership was what made Wal-Mart great. As the stores grew, so did Sam's aspirations. In addition to bringing new approaches and technologies to retail, he also experimented with new store formats—including Sam's Club and the Wal-Mart Supercenter—and even made the decision to take Wal-Mart into Mexico. Sam's fearlessness in offering lower prices and bringing Wal-Mart’s value to customers in the U.S. and beyond set a standard for the company that lives on to this day. His strong commitment to service and to the values that help individuals, businesses and the country succeed earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded by President George H. W. Bush in 1992.It was during Sam's acceptance...