Sam Walton

Samuel Moore Walton, born on March 29, 1918, in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, was an American business magnate known for founding Walmart and Sam’s Club. He grew up in a farming family but moved frequently due to his father’s job as a farm appraiser and mortgage agent. During the Great Depression, his family faced financial struggles, leading Walton to take on various odd jobs to support them.

Despite the challenges, Walton excelled academically and became the youngest Eagle Scout in Missouri’s history while attending eighth grade in Shelbina, Missouri. He continued his education at the University of Missouri, where he joined the ROTC and various campus organizations, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1940.

After college, Walton joined J.C. Penney as a management trainee but left in 1942 to serve in World War II. He eventually reached the rank of captain in the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps, supervising security at aircraft plants. Following his military service, Walton took over the management of his first variety store in Newport, Arkansas, with financial assistance from his father-in-law. This marked the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey.

With the success of his first store, Walton continued to open more Ben Franklin franchises, pioneering concepts such as offering competitive prices and ensuring well-stocked shelves. In 1950, he opened a store in Bentonville, Arkansas, which laid the foundation for the first Walmart store in 1962.

The first Walmart, located in Rogers, Arkansas, aimed to provide one-stop shopping for customers with a focus on American-made products. Walton’s strategy of locating stores in smaller towns and emphasizing logistics and efficient delivery contributed to the chain’s rapid expansion and success. By 1985, Walmart had grown from 190 stores to 800.

Throughout his career, Walton remained dedicated to his family and community. He married Helen Robson in 1943, and they had four children. Walton and his family were active in their local church and supported various charitable causes. He also integrated the concept of “service leadership” into Walmart’s corporate structure, emphasizing the importance of serving others.

Despite his business success, Walton faced health challenges, including a diagnosis of Hairy cell leukemia. He passed away on April 5, 1992, at the age of 74, leaving behind a lasting legacy as one of the most influential figures in retail history.


Company Overview

Walmart Inc., founded by Sam and James Walton in 1962 in Arkansas, is a multinational retail giant headquartered in Bentonville. With over 10,000 stores and clubs across 24 countries, it operates under various names worldwide, including Walmart in the US and Canada, Walmart de México y Centroamérica in Mexico and Central America, and Flipkart Wholesale in India. The company’s diverse portfolio includes hypermarkets, discount department stores, and grocery outlets, along with Sam’s Club retail warehouses.

As of 2022, Walmart holds the title of the world’s largest company by revenue. It reported a staggering $611.3 billion in total revenue for FY2023, with over 2.2 million employees globally. The majority control of the company lies with the Walton family, who own over 50 percent through their holding company Walton Enterprises. Walmart’s success in the US grocery market is significant, with 65 percent of its $510 billion in sales coming from US operations.

Walmart’s journey from a regional player to a global powerhouse began with its listing on the New York Stock Exchange in 1972. By the late 1980s, it became the most profitable and largest retailer in the US. Its strategic expansion from the South and Midwest to coast-to-coast presence was marked by the opening of Sam’s Club and Walmart stores in various states, including California and Pennsylvania in the early 1990s.

Internationally, Walmart has experienced both successes and failures. While its ventures in Canada, the UK, Central and South America, and China thrived, it faced challenges in markets like Germany, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, and Argentina. Despite setbacks, Walmart’s continuous growth has made it a dominant force in global retail.


The company’s history dates back to Sam Walton’s entrepreneurial vision in the mid-20th century. Starting with a Ben Franklin store in 1945, Walton’s focus on low prices and high-volume sales laid the foundation for Walmart’s business model. The first Walmart Discount City store opened in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas, with a unique blend of discount retail and customer-centric approach.

Incorporated in 1969 as Wal-Mart, Inc., the company quickly expanded across states, pioneering the concept of the Supercenter in the 1980s. By its 25th anniversary in 1987, Walmart boasted over 1,000 stores nationwide. Investments in technology, such as a private satellite network in 1987, facilitated inventory tracking and communication, contributing to its rapid growth.

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Walmart solidified its position as a retail giant, entering international markets and diversifying its store formats with concepts like the Neighborhood Market. Its entry into the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1997 signified its status as a corporate powerhouse.

Reference: Wikipedia

However, Walmart’s expansion hasn’t been without criticism. Concerns over its impact on local businesses, labor practices, and community welfare have been subjects of debate. Despite controversies, Walmart’s philanthropic efforts, like its response to Hurricane Katrina, have been recognized, showcasing its logistical capabilities and corporate responsibility.

Charles Fishman’s book “The Wal-Mart Effect” in 2006 shed light on the company’s supply chain operations and efficiency drive. Although Walmart faced scrutiny, particularly regarding its labor relations, it continued to grow and innovate, maintaining its position as a leader in the retail industry.

Looking forward, Walmart faces the challenge of balancing growth with social and environmental responsibility. As it continues to expand into e-commerce, healthcare, and sustainability initiatives, its actions will shape not only the retail landscape but also broader economic and societal trends.




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