Walmart Inc. ( /ˈwɔːlmɑːrt/ ⓘ; formerly Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.) is an American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarkets (also called supercenters), discount department stores, and grocery stores in the United States, headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas. The company was founded by brothers Sam and James “Bud” Walton in nearby Rogers, Arkansas in 1962 and incorporated under Delaware General Corporation Law on October 31, 1969. It also owns and operates Sam’s Club retail warehouses.
As of October 31, 2022, Walmart has 10,586 stores and clubs in 24 countries, operating under 46 different names. The company operates under the name Walmart in the United States and Canada, as Walmart de México y Centroamérica in Mexico and Central America, and as Flipkart Wholesale in India. It has wholly owned operations in Chile, Canada, and South Africa. Since August 2018, Walmart held only a minority stake in Walmart Brasil, which was renamed Grupo Big in August 2019, with 20 percent of the company’s shares, and private equity firm Advent International holding 80% ownership of the company. They eventually divested their shareholdings in Grupo Big to French retailer Carrefour, in transaction worth R$7 billion and completed on June 7, 2022.
Walmart is the world’s largest company by revenue, with about US$570 billion in annual revenue, according to the Fortune Global 500 list in October 2022. It is also the largest private employer in the world with 2.2 million employees. It is a publicly traded family-owned business, as the company is controlled by the Walton family. Sam Walton’s heirs own over 50 percent of Walmart through both their holding company Walton Enterprises and their individual holdings. Walmart was the largest United States grocery retailer in 2019, and 65 percent of Walmart’s US$510.329 billion sales came from U.S. operations.
Walmart was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1972. By 1988, it was the most profitable retailer in the U.S., and it had become the largest in terms of revenue by October 1989. The company was originally geographically limited to the South and lower Midwest, but it had stores from coast to coast by the early 1990s. Sam’s Club opened in New Jersey in November 1989, and the first California outlet opened in Lancaster, in July 1990. A Walmart in York, Pennsylvania, opened in October 1990, the first main store in the Northeast.
Walmart’s investments outside the U.S. have seen mixed results. Its operations and subsidiaries in Canada, the United Kingdom (ASDA), Central America, South America, and China are successful, but its ventures failed in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Brazil and Argentina.