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The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies by J. Michael Ryan, Daniel Thomas Cook

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Wal-Mart

NEWMAN CHUN WAI WONG

Midwestern State University, USA

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs236

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is an international retail corporation headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas. Wal-Mart was founded by Sam Walton, a businessman and former employee of J. C. Penny Department Store. Prior to opening the first Wal-Mart in 1962, Walton ran a nickel and dime discount store, and was keen on selling products at lower prices than his competitors and still making profits with high sales volumes. Walton opened the first Wal-Mart in Rogers, Arkansas, with the principle of “the lowest prices anytime, anywhere.” By 1967, Wal-Mart had expanded to 24 stores with sales of US$12.7 million. Wal-Mart was incorporated in 1969, and became a publicly traded company in 1970, as Walton needed cash to pay off debts and open more stores. In 1971, it established its first distribution center and home office in Bentonville, and in 1972 Wal-Mart was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. By 1975, Wal-Mart had become a regional store in the Southern United States.

Wal-Mart continued to expand and implement new concepts in the 1980s. In 1980, Wal-Mart's annual sales reached to US$1 billion with 276 stores and 21,000 employees. The first Sam's Club, the company's membership-based discount warehouse club, was opened in Midwest City, Oklahoma, in 1983. By its 25th anniversary in 1987, Wal-Mart's sales were US$15.9 billion with 1,198 stores and 200,000 employees, and the company installed the ...

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