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Walmart, in full Walmart, Inc., formerly Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., American operator of discount stores that was one of the world’s biggest retailers and among the world’s largest corporations. Company headquarters are in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Wal-Mart was founded by Sam Walton in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962 and focused its early growth in rural areas, thereby avoiding direct competition with retailing giants such as Sears and Kmart. As it grew, the company developed new retail formats, including Sam’s Club discount warehouses (1983) and Wal-Mart Supercenters (1988). Within a decade of opening the combination grocery and merchandise Supercenters, Wal-Mart had become one of the largest grocers in the United States. An emphasis on customer attention (e.g., direct mail advertising), cost controls (e.g., low-cost imports), and efficiencies in its distribution networks (e.g., regional warehousing) helped Wal-Mart become the largest retailer in the United States in 1990.
It moved into international markets one year later with the opening of a store in Mexico, and growth continued, either through new stores or the acquisition of established retailers, in countries such as Canada, China, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The company experienced a decline in sales immediately following Walton’s death in 1992 but rebounded with the introduction of the company’s house brand Great Value in 1993. In the years after Walton’s death, the company was less fiscally frugal, quickly accumulating corporate debt in order to finance such new strategies as a group of additional Wal-Mart Supercenters. The financial risk paid off: by 1995 Wal-Mart’s sales had doubled, by 1999 the company had become the world’s largest private employer, and by 2001 its total sales surpassed those of Exxon Mobil, ranking Wal-Mart as the largest corporation in the world.
Wal-Mart remained a global leader in the ensuing years, and in the 2010s it began to acquire numerous e-commerce businesses, including Jet.com (2016) and Moosejaw (2017). In 2018 the company changed its name to Walmart.
Its extreme growth did not occur without controversy. Walmart has been criticized for contributing to urban sprawl by forcing out of business local merchandisers, many of whom were unable to compete with the company’s economy of scale. Walmart has also been criticized for perpetuating low wages; its workers make significantly less than the average retail worker, in large part because of the company’s anti-union stance. Its merchandising practices are nonetheless emulated by other retailers.
History of Walmart
The history of Walmart, an American discount department store chain, began in 1950 when businessman Sam Walton purchased a store from Luther E. Harrison in Bentonville, Arkansas, and opened Walton’s 5 & 10. The Walmart chain proper was founded in 1962 with a single store in Bentonville, expanding outside Arkansas by 1968 and throughout the rest of the Southern United States by the 1980s, ultimately operating a store in every state of the United States, plus its first stores in Canada, by 1995. The expansion was largely fueled by new store construction, although the chains Mohr-Value and Kuhn’s Big K were also acquired. The company introduced its warehouse club chain Sam’s Club in 1983 and its first Supercenter stores in 1988. By the second decade of the 21st century, the chain had grown to over 11,000 stores in 27 countries.
1960s and 1970s
Logo used from 1962 to 1964
At some point, Sam Walton made the decision to achieve higher sales volumes by keeping sales prices lower than his competitors by reducing his profit margin. Inspired by the successes of other discount department store chains, Walton opened the second store in Harrison, Arkansas, that year. Responsible for the purchase and maintenance of signage, Walton’s assistant, Bob Bogle, came up with the name “Wal-Mart” for the new chain. By 1967, the company grew to 24 stores across the state of Arkansas, and had reached $12.6 million in sales, and by 1968, the company opened its first stores outside of Arkansas in Sikeston, Missouri, and Claremore, Oklahoma.
The company’s first stock split occurred in May 1972 at a market price of $47. By this time, Walmart was operating in five states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Oklahoma, and expanded into Tennessee in 1973, and Kentucky and Mississippi in 1974. As the company expanded into Texas in 1975, there were 125 stores with 7,500 associates, and total sales of $340.3 million.
Logo used from 1964 to 1981
By 1977, Walmart expanded into Illinois and made its first corporate acquisition, assuming ownership and operation of the Mohr-Value stores, which operated in Missouri and Illinois. This was followed by the acquisition of the Hutcheson Shoe Company in 1978. In the same year Walmart also branched out into several new markets, launching its pharmacy, auto service center, and jewelry divisions.
1980s and 1990s
In 1981, Walmart expanded into the southeastern US market, opening stores in Georgia and South Carolina, and acquiring 92 Kuhn’s Big K stores. They expanded into Florida and Nebraska in 1982.
In April 1983, the company opened its first Sam’s Club store, a membership-based discount warehouse club, in Midwest City, Oklahoma. They also expanded into Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico, and North Carolina and implemented “people greeters” in all of their stores. The first stores opened in Virginia in 1984.
In 1985, with 882 stores with sales of $8.4 billion and 104,000 associates, the company expanded into Wisconsin and Colorado, and the first stores opened in Minnesota in 1986.
A Wal-Mart store in the 1980s.
By the company’s 25th anniversary in 1987, there were offices to track inventory, sales, and send instant communication to their stores. Continuing their technological upgrades, they had equipped 90% of their stores with barcode readers by 1988, to further assist in keeping track of their large inventory.
In February 1988, company founder Sam Walton stepped down as chief executive officer, and David Glass was named to succeed him. Walton remained on as Chairman of the Corporate Board of Directors, and the company also restructured their senior management positions, elevating a cadre of executives to positions of greater responsibility.
Also in 1988, the first Wal-Mart Supercenter was opened in Washington, Missouri. The supercenter concept features everything contained in an average Walmart discount store, in addition to a tire and oil change shop, optical center, one-hour photo processing lab, portrait studio, and numerous alcove shops such as banks, cellular telephone stores, hair and nail salons, video rental stores, and fast food outlets.
By 1988, Wal-Mart was the most profitable retailer in the United States, though it did not outsell K-Mart and Sears in terms of value of items purchased until late 1990 or early 1991.
By 1988, Walmart was operating in 27 states, having expanded into Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, New Jersey, and Wyoming. By 1990, they expanded into California (which marked Walmart officially becoming a fully nationwide retailer), Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Utah. The Walmart Visitor’s Center also opened this year on the site of Sam Walton’s original store.
The 1990s saw an era of furious growth on an unprecedented scale and the incorporation of several new ideas and technology into the business.
New and old Walmart logos outside store in Newburgh, New York, 2012 (Store #2104)
In 2000, Lee Scott was named president and CEO and US sales had doubled to $156 billion since 1995. That same year, Walmart was ranked fifth by Fortune magazine on its Global Most Admired All-Stars list and in 2003 and 2004, it was named as the most admired company in America.
In 2002, Walmart entered the Japanese market by acquiring a minor stake in Seiyu Group, who would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Walmart by 2008.
FAQs from Walmart
Where can I find the latest Walmart discounts and deals?
The Groupon Coupons team checks for new Walmart promo codes, sales and discounts every day and updates them here first. Check back on this page for the latest working codes and deals.
What will Walmart Black Friday 2022 look like?
We’re staying on top of the latest Walmart Black Friday deals, ads and store hours and will keep you up to date on everything from the top discounts to buy online pickup in store (BOPIS) options.
How do I use my Walmart promo code?
Select the offer you want to redeem and click the green See Code button to copy the code that appears. If you see a green Get Deal button, don’t worry—you just need to click and we’ll take you to walmart.com where the savings will automatically be applied! Once you’re at the Walmart site, if you’ve copied a code you’ll have the opportunity to enter it at checkout.
Everything you need to know about Walmart
Walmart Black Friday Deals
Walmart is always a hot spot for Black Friday. Shop Walmart’s 2022 Black Friday deals to find deals on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, Save up to $150 on select gaming laptops. 70” TVs for under $600 and even more deals on tools, home essentials and fashion. The sale starts on November 21nd and runs through November 27th.
Using your walmart.com coupon
Choose a deal you would like to use, copy the code if one is provided, and follow the link to the Walmart website to shop for your affordable goods When you’re ready to pay, enter the checkout process and sign into or create your Walmart account. Review your order on the order summary page, and paste your promo code into the box provided in order to redeem your discount. If no code is supplied with your order, you can expect your savings to be applied automatically – it doesn’t get easier than that!
Is there a Walmart near me?
Stock up on affordable essentials at your nearest Walmart by using the handy store locator tool at Walmart.com.
Where can I buy a Walmart gift card?
Give your loved ones the gift of choice and pick up a Walmart gift card from the online Walmart store. Simply enter your details and select a physical or e-gift card option, and you’re one step closer to putting a smile on that special someone’s face as they pick out their own present.
Does Walmart offer free shipping?
You could qualify for free shipping from Walmart if you spend $35 or more on your haul. There are also specific items that are eligible for free shipping in the Walmart collection – just look for the ‘Free 2-day shipping’ logo beside your item of choice. However, if your order is below $35 and does not qualify for free shipping, you still won’t have to break the bank. An affordable shipping rate will be calculated at checkout, after you enter your shipping address.
What is the Walmart return policy?
If you are not 100% happy with your Walmart purchase, you can return your items via mail or to your nearest Walmart store within 90 days of purchase. To request a refund, please see the Walmart return policy.