1950s and 1960s
During the post-war years of the early 1950’s, America experienced an economic shift from military emphasis to one that was consumer driven. Many sought out to start their own businesses because of this economic boom, but a man by the name of Sam Walton had a much greater vision towards the art of business. Walton decided to purchase a store in Bentonville, Arkansas and turn it into a discount department store called, “Walton’s 5 & 10.” Surprisingly, his business did very well because the main focus was to keep sales prices lower than his competitors. In 1962, Walton opened another discount department store by the name of, “Wal-Mart” and it gave rise to the extremely successful enterprise we know it as today. 1970s and 1980s
Wal-Mart was known for satisfying consumer needs with their discounted products which included everything from home necessities to outdoor merchandise. The company began trading stock as a publicly held company in 1970, and was soon featured on the New York Stock Exchange. As any successful business should do, in 1979 Wal-Mart established a foundation were the needs of the underserved are met through charitable giving in ways such as hunger relief, sustainability, women’s economic empowerment, and career opportunities. The 1980’s for Wal-Mart served as a period of industrial expansion and improved interconnectedness within the system. With an outstanding $1 billion annual sales revenue in the beginning of the decade, the company expanded further by creating another retail chain called, “Sam’s Club” which offered bulk items to customers who purchase warehouse memberships. Moreover, an improved version of the regular Wal-Mart store was initiated by creating Supercenters, which offered auto services, optical care, one-hour photo processing labs, portrait studios, and numerous small shops such as banks, cellular telephone stores, hair and nail salons, video rental stores, and other fast food outlets. In 1987, the company upgraded their logistics by installing the largest private satellite communication system in the U.S., linking the company's operations through voice, data and video communication. 1990s and 00s
Wal-Mart could not afford to confine its operations to the United States for reasons such as, saturation of domestic markets and emerging markets, with their lower levels of disposable income, offered huge platforms for growth in discount retailing. (Govindarajan & Gupta, 2002) By 1990, Wal-Mart was the nation’s number-one retailer and plans to globalizing the company were underway. For the first time in 1991, Wal-Mart went global, opening a Sam’s Club in Mexico City. As the decade progressed, the company expanded to more countries including Canada, China, and the United Kingdom. In 2000, the multinational franchise entered the internet market with introduction of Walmart.com. Moreover, a Site to Store feature was added later on to the website so that consumers would not have to worry about shipping costs. In 2005, Wal-Mart made a major commitment to environmental sustainability, announcing goals to create zero waste, use only renewable energy and sell products that sustain people and the environment. (Walmart’s History, 2012) Michael T. Duke is Wal-Mart’s current CEO and the company’s total revenues for 2012 were $443.9 billion.
The strong retail brand of Wal-Mart influences many consumers to choose them over others. It is the convenience of having a wide range of products all in one store and having lower prices than its competitors, which distinguishes Wal-Mart from other retail stores. The company has grown enormously over recent years, and has focused on global expansion. As of 2012, the company employs 2.2 million associates worldwide and serves 200 million customers each week at more than 10,000 stores in 27 countries. Weaknesses
Due to Wal-Mart’s wide range of...