The tiny town of Bentonville, Arkansas is the headquarters for one biggest and most successful retailers in the world: Walmart. Sam Walton, the company’s founder, opened his first five-and-dime store there in 1950 and launched the first Walmart store in 1962 in nearby Rogers, Arkansas. Just four years later, the number of Walmart stores had jumped to 24.
The rest, as they say, is history.
By the 1990s, Walmart was a publicly traded company and one of the the nation’s top retailers. It expanded to Mexico in 1991, Canada in 1994, China in 1996, and the U.K. in 1998. By 2002, it topped the Fortune 500 as the largest company in America.
Today, Walmart has about 2.3 million sales associates globally, sources its products from all 50 states, and serves 260 million customers per week in 11,700 stores in 28 countries. It also operates e-commerce websites in 11 countries.
Walmart’s stock is part of the S&P 500 index, an index that holds 500 of the largest companies in the U.S by market cap. The retailer, which generates approximately $486 billion in revenue and has a market cap of $244 billion, is also held in more than 100 exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
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Walmart also has numerous subsidiaries. Here’s a look at the top companies owned by Walmart.
The first Sam’s Club opened in 1983 in Midwest City, Oklahoma. It’s a membership-only discount wholesaler. Sam’s Club employs about 100,000 employees in 650 stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, China, and Brazil. Sam’s Club generated roughly $57 billion in revenue in its 2017 fiscal year.
ASDA Stores Ltd.
ASDA is the second largest grocery retailer in the U.K., with 525 stores and 175,000 employees. It was acquired by Walmart in 1999 for $10.8 billion. It had revenue of $28.8 billion in fiscal year 2016.
The Seiyu Group is a Tokyo-based chain of supermarkets, department stores, delis, and shopping centers that Walmart acquired gradually, initially buying a 37% stake in 2002, and then a majority stake in 2008. The company has 339 stores and employs over 16,000 people.
Brompreco is a supermarket and hypermarket chain headquartered in Sao Paolo, Brazil. (Fun fact: A hypermarket is a supermarket-department store combo.)
The company is the flagship acquisition of Walmart Brazil, which includes 498 retail units such as TodoDia, Mercadorama, BIG, and Maxxi Atacado. Walmart does not report operating results separately in its consolidated income statement. However, Walmart Brazil’s CEO Flavio Cotini said in an interview that the Brazil operations generated over $8.28 billion in revenue in 2015.
Walmart acquired Internet retailer Jet.com for $3 billion in 2016, in an attempt to compete with Amazon for a larger share of the e-commerce market. Walmart reportedly ranks as the third-largest Internet retailer by revenue, with $14.4 billion in revenue for 2016. Walmart’s purchase of Jet.com was the largest e-commerce acquisition in U.S. history.
Jet.com’s founder and CEO Marc Lore remained with Wal-Mart after the sale, and is reportedly a driving force behind Walmart’s aggressive e-commerce expansion.
Walmart introduced the Great Value groceries in 1993, hoping to provide affordable products with a quality comparable to competing national grocery chains. Walmart revamped this food line in 2009, testing and tweaking some 5,250 products, and introducing 80 new ones. In 2009, Great Value’s sales of $10 billion were estimated to be higher than those of either McDonald’s or Amazon.
Walmart acquired Bonobos, an online menswear retailer, in June 2017 in a cash deal worth $310 million. The purchase is considered another step in Walmart’s plan to boost its presence in the lucrative online clothing and accessories space.
In early 2017, Walmart acquired Moosejaw, a Michigan-based outdoor retailer with a large online presence and 10 physical stores, for $51 million in cash. The Moosejaw acquisition reportedly gives Wal-Mart access to high-end brands such as The North Face and Patagonia.
Founded in 1999, Zappos competitor Shoebuy was one of the first companies to sell shoes online. By the time it Walmart acquired it in early 2017, it carried over 1 million products and 800 brands. Walmart paid approximately $70 million for the company.
In another effort to further expand its online retail presence, Wal-Mart bought ModCloth through its Jet.com subsidiary in early 2017, for a reported $50 million to $70 million. The company focuses on quirky, trendy, and vintage clothing that appeals to Millennials.
Note: Unless otherwise indicated, historical information and financial data is from the Walmart 2017 Annual Report.