Walmart History 1950 -1990
Learn how Sam Walton founded Walmart, hear from former executives David Glass and Don Soderquist, and see famous footage of Mr. Sam dancing the hula on Wall Street.
Experience Walmart's History
Walmart's history is more than just the stores we've built, the partnerships we've made and the customers we've served. So much of our history is in the details.
See how Walmart began, how we grew and how our leadership has changed the retail industry.
Sam Walton's strategy was built on an unshakeable foundation: The Lowest Prices Anytime, Anywhere.
On July 2, 1962, Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in Rogers, Ark.
The Walton family owned 24 stores, ringing up $12.7 million in sales.
The company officially incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Walmart Goes National
In the 1970s, a decade of incredible growth, "Mr. Sam" began to take Walmart national, proving his vision's widespread appeal.
Walmart became a publicly traded company. The first stock was sold at $16.50 per share.
The first distribution center and Home Office opened in Bentonville, Ark.
Walmart was listed on the New York Stock Exchange (WMT).
With 51 stores, Walmart recorded sales of $78 million.
Inspired by a visit to a Korean manufacturing facility, Sam Walton introduced the Walmart cheer.
The Walmart Foundation was established.
Decade of Firsts
In the 1980s, the first Sam's Club opened, serving small businesses and individuals, and the first Walmart Supercenter opened, combining a supermarket with general merchandise.
Walmart reached $1 billion in annual sales, faster than any other company at that time.
Walmart had 276 stores and employed 21,000 associates.
The first Sam’s Club opened in Midwest City, Okla.
Walmart replaced cash registers with computerized point-of-sale systems, enabling fast and accurate checkout.
Sam Walton did the hula on Wall Street, making good on a promise to associates after the company achieved a pre-tax profit of 8% for the previous fiscal year.
The company installed the largest private satellite communication system in the U.S., linking the company's operations through voice, data and video communication.
The first Walmart Supercenter opened in Washington, Mo., combining general merchandise and a full-scale supermarket to provide one-stop shopping convenience.
David Glass was named CEO.
America’s Top Retailer
By 1990, Walmart was the nation's number-one retailer. As the Walmart Supercenter redefined convenience and one-stop shopping, Every Day Low Prices went international.
Through a joint venture with Cifra, a Mexican retail company, Walmart went global, opening a Sam’s Club in Mexico City.
While receiving the Medal of Freedom, Sam Walton articulated the company’s mission of saving people money so they can live better, shortly before passing away at age 74.
Rob Walton became chairman of the board.
Walmart employed 371,000 associates in 1,928 stores and clubs.
Walmart celebrated its first $1 billion sales week.
Walmart expanded into Canada with the purchase of 122 Woolco stores.
Walmart opened its first stores in China.
The company celebrated its first $100 billion sales year.
The Neighborhood Market format was introduced with three stores in Arkansas.
Walmart entered the United Kingdom with the acquisition of ASDA.
Walmart entered the new millennium dedicated to offering customers a seamless shopping experience, whether they are online, in a store or on a mobile device.
H. Lee Scott, Jr. succeeded David Glass as CEO.
Walmart.com was founded, allowing U.S. customers to shop online.
Walmart employed more than 1.1 million associates in 3,989 stores and clubs worldwide.
For the first time, Walmart topped the Fortune 500 ranking of America's largest companies.
Walmart entered the Japanese market through its investment in Seiyu.
Walmart took a leading role in disaster relief, contributing $18 million and 2,450 truckloads of supplies to victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Walmart made a major commitment to environmental sustainability, announcing goals to create zero waste, use only renewable energy and sell products that sustain people and the environment.
Walmart introduced its $4 generic-drug prescription program.
Walmart.com launched Site to Store service, enabling customers to make a purchase online and pick up merchandise in stores.
Mike Duke became CEO.
Walmart entered Chile with the acquisition of a majority stake in D&S S.A.
For the first time, Walmart exceeded $400 billion in annual sales.
Bharti Walmart, a joint venture, opened its first store in India.
Walmart committed $2 billion through the end of 2015 to help end hunger in the United States.
Walmart launched a global commitment to sustainable agriculture, aiming to strengthen local farmers and economies, while providing customers access to affordable, high-quality food.
With the acquisition of MassMart in South Africa, Walmart surpassed 10,000 retail units around the world.
The first Walmart Express stores were introduced in Arkansas.
Walmart established @walmartlabs, a hub for developing social, mobile and global platforms.
Walmart celebrated 50 years of helping people save money so they can live better.
The company employs 2.2 million associates worldwide and serves 200 million customers each week at more than 10,000 stores in 27 countries.