Walmart is the nation’s largest mass retailer, closing out fiscal 2020 with a total of 4,756 Walmart stores and 599 Sam’s Club warehouse locations. Globally the company operates another 6,100 international locations, for a total of 11,503 stores worldwide. In addition to being the largest grocery retailer in the U.S., the Bentonville, Ark.-based chain sells apparel, home goods, electronics and appliances and more.
Its Walmart.com e-commerce business is second only to Amazon in total sales. Its aggressive growth in digital sales, delivery and curbside pickup has made it the leader in online grocery sales, a position that has grown stronger since the 2020 coronavirus pandemic boosted e-commerce across the grocery industry — e-commerce sales rose by 79% in fiscal 2020.
Walmart was famously founded by Arkansas chain store operator Sam Walton in 1962, with the first store opening in 1962 in Rogers, Ark. The company opened its home office and first distribution center in Bentonville, Ark., in 1969, where its headquarters remains today.
Known initially as a one-stop shop for rural and small-town customers, Walmart grew exponentially and geographically in the 1970s and ‘80s from 190 stores to 800 by 1985. By the 1990s, Walmart had stores in every state in the nation and began its international expansion.
Over the past decade, Walmart has continued to expand both its Walmart and Sam’s Club store presence in the United States and internationally, while, more significantly, growing its e-commerce business. Its focus and innovation in online grocery pickup and delivery — including projects ranging from self-driving delivery to automated fulfillment — have helped the retail giant maintain its status as the largest grocery retailer in the United States.
Headquarters: Bentonville, Ark.
CEO: Doug McMillon (since 2014)
Number of US Locations: 6,100
Number of US employees: Approx. 1.6 million
2020 Sales: $433.9B