Chapter 15

Retail Sector IPOs

Some of the greatest initial public offering (IPO) fortunes have been made from retail companies. The main reason is scalability, the ability to sell large quantities in many geographic markets. Once you have the blueprint for one store, it is easy to duplicate it across the United States and perhaps even the world.

Consider that Walmart went public in 1970 by issuing 300,000 shares at $16.50 each, raising about $4.95 million. The company was mostly a regional operator with 38 stores. But it was growing quickly. From 1969 to 1970, sales had spiked from $12.6 million to $21.3 million.

But the company needed to pull off the IPO because it had little capital for expansion. Walmart required about $500,000 for each new ...

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