Sam Walton's original Walton's Five and Dime, now the Wal-Mart Visitor's Center, Bentonville, Arkansas. Main article: History of Wal-Mart
Sam Walton's retailing career began when he accepted a job offer at a JCPenney store in Des Moines, Iowa on June 3, 1940 where he remained for 18 months. In 1945, he met with Butler Brothers, a regional retailer that owned a chain of variety stores called Ben Franklin. Butler Brothers offered him a Ben Franklin store in Newport, Arkansas. Walton could not come to agreement on his lease renewal and could not find a new location in Newport; so he located a new variety store in Bentonville, Arkansas which he would open as another Ben Franklin franchise, but called "Walton's Five and Dime." Walton achieved higher sales volume by selling products with slightly smaller markups than most competitors. In 1962, Walton opened the first Wal-Mart store, Wal-Mart Discount City and within five years the company expanded to 24 stores across the state of Arkansas and reached $12.6 million in sales. In 1968, it opened its first stores outside Arkansas, in Sikeston, Missouri and Claremore, Oklahoma. The company was incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. on October 31, 1969, and in 1970 opened its home office in Bentonville, Arkansas, and its first distribution center. There were now 38 stores operating with 1,500 employees and sales of $44.2 million. The company began trading stock at this time as a publicly held company on October 1, 1972, and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange shortly thereafter. The first stock split 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, and 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 continued to grow rapidly during the 1980s, and by its...
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