WMT - Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) is not only the largest retailer and discount department store in the world, but also among the largest companies in the world year after year.
Founded in 1962 by retail genius Sam Walton, the company has grown exponentially since that time, to the point where as of this writing its market cap was over $200 billion.
The first Wal-Mart actually operating by that name was launched in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. The company still remains based in the small town of Bentonville, Arkansas.
Included in the Wal-Mart family of stores is the popular Sam's Club, built with the small business person in mind, and is one of the company's more significant endeavors beyond the traditional Wal-Mart store supercenter setup.
Wal-Mart's major discount department store competitors are Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) and Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ:Cost). Other rising competitors of concern are the thousands of dollar stores scattered across the nation.
The company first started trading in the Over The Counter (OTC) markets in 1970, and in 1972 was listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
Along with its Wal-Mart U.S. and Sam's Club divisions, the company also has a third unit named Walmart International which operates in 15 countries at this time, including Puerto Rico.
In the early part of 2009 they acquired a 57 percent stake in Distribucion y Servicio D&S S.A.
For the 2009 fiscal year Wal-Mart generated sales of $401 billion.
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