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What makes Wal-Mart the world's largest retailer

Last updated on: December 8, 2011 11:37 IST

What makes Wal-Mart the world's largest retailer

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If you have to define huge, large or giant-size, simply say - Wal-Mart. So, what is it that makes Wal-Mart the world's largest retailer?

There are many reasons -- its size, its success model, its sales figures, its employee strength and so on.

It is, in fact, so big and so furtively powerful that it has become an entirely different order of corporate being.

Here, we find out some figures that will only magnify its size.

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Photographs: Mike Cassese/Reuters
Tags: Wal-Mart

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What makes Wal-Mart the world's largest retailer

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If revenues were Wal-Mart's national GDP, it would be the 25th largest economy in the world

Wal-Mart is so huge that it can overtake many industries and countries. Wal-Mart's historic $400+ billion annual revenues eclipse the GDPs of more than 170 countries!

For fiscal year 2011, Wal-Mart US net sales were more than $260 billion. According to Fortune, Walmart sold $421,849,000,000 worth of products last year.

Even in 2010, Wal-Mart overtook the likes of Chevron, Exxon, General Electric and Pfizer in terms of revenue. Then, Wal-Mart's revenues were at $421 billion, while Chevron's was at $196.3 billion, Exxon Mobil's at $354.6 billion, Pfizer's at $67.8 billion and General Electric's at $151.6 billion.

This is not all. If revenues were Wal-Mart's national GDP, it would be the 25th largest economy in the world.

In 2010, its revenues were two times Ireland's revenue at $206 billion, five times Iraq's revenue at $ 81 billion and 21 times that of Bolivia at $19.8 billion.

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What makes Wal-Mart the world's largest retailer

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Walmart's employee strength is so large that it can form the world's second largest army

It's not just the sales figure that speaks volumes of Wal-Mart and its size.

It is reported that the retailer employs over 2.1 million people across the globe, including almost 1.4 million in the United States.

Walmart is one of the largest private employers in the US, the largest in Mexico and one of the largest in Canada, as well.

In fact, its employee force is so huge that it can form the second largest active military in the world. For instance, North Korea's army employs 1.1 million people, while Russia's army has 1 million people and US has 14.6 million people!

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What makes Wal-Mart the world's largest retailer

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Wal-Mart is the world's largest retailer

Wal-Mart is not just the world's largest retailer. It's the world's largest company. It is said that the scale is so big that it is really difficult to absorb.

Wal-Mart is believed to sell five times the sale of the second-largest US retailer, Costco and 10 times the sales of the largest online retailer, Amazon.

It is also the largest grocer in the United States, with $129 billion in grocery sales alone.

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What makes Wal-Mart the world's largest retailer

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The company operates out of 952,203,837 square feet of retail space

Next, in line comes the real estate that Wal-Mart owns. According to some media reports the company operates out of 952,203,837 square feet of retail space. This figure excludes their offices, distribution facilities and their gigantic parking lots.

Also, according to Wal-Mart's website it serves customers more than 200 million times per week at more than 9,600 retail units and is now operating in 28 countries.

About 60 per cent of US population lives within eight kilometers of a Wal-Mart and 96 per cent lives within 32 kilometers of one.

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Tags: Wal-Mart , US

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What makes Wal-Mart the world's largest retailer

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Wal-Mart accounts for 15 per cent of all US' Chinese imports

Wal-Mart is the largest importer of Chinese goods. Wal-Mart accounts for 15 per cent of all US' Chinese imports. This means that Wal-Mart imports as many Chinese goods as that of Germany and more than Taiwan and Russia combined.

It was reported that both Wal-Mart and Germay imported goods worth $32.5 billion from China, while Taiwan imported $16.6 billion and Russia imported $13.2 billion.

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Tags: Russia , Taiwan , US , Wal-Mart

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What makes Wal-Mart the world's largest retailer

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Wal-Mart and fuel consumption

Wal-Mart's 8,000 delivery drivers burn about 446, 678, 591 liters of fuel each year.

In fact, spilled Wal-Mart's oil slick would cover an area over half the size of BP's Gulf disaster, and over four times the size of the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.

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Photographs: Rick Wilking/Reuters

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What makes Wal-Mart the world's largest retailer

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Wal-Mart's donation to the world is paltry 2 per cent

But, Wal-mart is not as generous as its size. So, if Wal-Mart were a national economy they would rank first in the world for income inequality. Its CEO Michael Duke makes more in an hour than his sales associate will in a year.

For instance, a full-time associate earns $13,650/year (which is $6.50/hour), while CEO makes $35 million/ year (which means $16, 827/hour).

Also, Waltons are the second wealthiest family on earth, yet 20 billionaires donate more than their paltry 2 per cent contribution. In fact as compared to Bill and Melinda Gates (48 per cent) and Warren Buffet (81 per cent), Waltons' contribution seems like a dot.

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What makes Wal-Mart the world

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History of Wal-Mart

Walmart was founded by Sam Walton in 1962 with the opening of the first store in Rogers, Arkansas.

His vision was to keep prices as low as possible. Even if his margins weren't as fat as competitors, he figured he could make up for that in volume.

The company incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in 1969 and was first publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange in 1972.

In 1983, the company opened the first Sam's Club membership warehouse and in 1988 opened the first Wal-Mart Supercenter, which features a complete grocery department in addition to general merchandise.

In 1990, Wal-Mart surpassed key rival Kmart in size. Two years later, it surpassed Sears. Today in the US, Wal-Mart operates more than 4,400 retail facilities, including Walmart stores and Sam's Club warehouses.

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Image: Sam Walton


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Wal-Mart in India

Wal-Mart's presence in India is routed through the joint venture with Bharti Enterprises. The two companies announced the joint venture four years ago, and have launched stores in India under the wholesale cash-and-carry model.

Today, they have 17 wholesale cash-and-carry stores, with the latest one at Raipur, in Chhattisgarh.

So, if at all Wal-Mart enters India, will it be able to replicate its success model here?




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