History

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From humble beginnings.
To redefining retail.

Sam Walton was a man with visionary leadership, and our business is a result of that. Since the first Walmart opened in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas, we've been dedicated to making a difference in the lives of our customers. Today, we're helping communities save money and live better all over the world.

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"Give me a W! Give me an A! Give me an L! How about a squiggly? Now give me an M! A! R! T! What's that spell? Walmart! I can't hear you! Walmart! Who's number one? The customer!"

the
1960s

Retail Revolution

Sam Walton's strategy is built on an unshakeable foundation: the lowest prices anytime, anywhere.

  • 1962

    On July 2, 1962, Sam Walton opens the first Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas.

  • 1967

    The Walton family owns 24 stores, ringing up $12.7 million in sales.

  • 1969

    The company officially incorporates as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

1962 ribbon cutting for the first Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas

1962 ribbon cutting for the first Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas

the
1970s

Walmart goes national

In the 1970's, a decade of incredible growth, "Mr. Sam" begins to take Walmart national, providing his vision's widespread appeal.

  • 1970

    Walmart becomes a publicly traded company. The first stock is sold at $16.50 per share.

  • 1971

    The first distribution center and Home Office open in Bentonville, Arkansas.

  • 1972

    Walmart is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (WMT). With 51 stores, Walmart records sales of $78 million.

  • 1975

    Inspired by a visit to a Korean manufacturing facility, Sam Walton introduces the Walmart cheer.

  • 1978

    First pharmacy opens.

  • 1979

    The Walmart Foundation is established.

Walmart distribution center and general office sign

Walmart distribution center and general office sign

the
1980s

Decade of firsts

In the 1980s, the first Sam's Club opens, serving small businesses and individuals, and the first Walmart Supercenter opens, combining a supermarket with general merchandise.

  • 1980

    Walmart reaches $1 billion in annual sales, faster than any other company at that time.

    Walmart has 276 stores and employs 21,000 associates.

  • 1983

    The first Sam’s Club opens in Midwest City, Oklahoma.

    Walmart replaces cash registers with computerized point-of-sale systems, enabling fast and accurate checkout.

  • 1984

    Sam Walton does the hula on Wall Street, making good on a promise to associates after the company achieves a pre-tax profit of 8% for the previous fiscal year.

  • 1987

    The Walton family establishes the Walton Family Foundation.

    The company installs the largest private satellite communication system in the U.S., linking the company's operations through voice, data and video communication.

  • 1988

    The first Walmart Supercenter opens in Washington, Missouri, combining general merchandise and a full-scale supermarket to provide one-stop shopping convenience.

    David Glass is named chief executive officer.

Sam Walton walks through first Sam's Club store

Sam Walton walks through first Sam's Club store

the
1990s

America's Top Retailer

By 1990, Walmart is the nation's No. 1 retailer. As the Walmart Supercenter redefines convenience and one-stop shopping, Everyday Low Prices goes international.

  • 1991

    Through a joint venture with Cifra, a Mexican retail company, Walmart goes global, opening a Sam’s Club in Mexico City.

    First optical location.

  • 1992

    While receiving the Medal of Freedom, Sam Walton articulates the company’s mission of saving people money so they can live better, shortly before passing away at age 74.

    Rob Walton becomes chairman of the board.

    Walmart employs 371,000 associates in 1,928 stores and clubs.

  • 1993

    Walmart celebrates its first $1 billion sales week.

  • 1994

    Walmart expands into Canada with the purchase of 122 Woolco stores.

  • 1996

    Walmart opens its first stores in China.

  • 1997

    The company celebrates its first $100 billion sales year.

  • 1998

    The Neighborhood Market format is introduced with three stores in Arkansas.

    Walmart enters the United Kingdom with the acquisition of Asda.

A group of associates cheer as Walmart goes international

A group of associates cheer as Walmart goes international

the
2000s

New Millennium

Walmart enters the new millennium dedicated to offering customers a seamless shopping experience, whether they are online, in a store or on a mobile device.

  • 2000

    H. Lee Scott, Jr. succeeds David Glass as CEO.

    Walmart.com is founded, allowing U.S. customers to shop online.

    Walmart employs more than 1.1 million associates in 3,989 stores and clubs worldwide.

  • 2002

    For the first time, Walmart tops the Fortune 500 ranking of America's largest companies.

    Walmart enters the Japanese market through its investment in Seiyu.

  • 2005

    Walmart takes a leading role in disaster relief, contributing $18 million and 2,450 truckloads of supplies to victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

    Walmart announces major commitment to environmental sustainability.

    • Create zero waste
    • Use only renewable energy
    • Sell products that sustain people and the environment

  • 2006

    Walmart introduces its $4 generic-drug prescription program.

  • 2007

    Walmart.com launches its Site to Store service, enabling customers to make a purchase online and pick up merchandise in stores.

  • 2009

    Mike Duke becomes CEO.

    Walmart enters Chile with the acquisition of a majority stake in D&S S.A.

    Walmart exceeds $400 billion in annual sales.

Walmart facilities organizing packages ordered from Walmart.com

Walmart facilities organizing packages ordered from Walmart.com

THE
2010s

People-Led and Tech-Empowered

Walmart commits to serving customers in a changing retail environment, leveraging both associates and technology to make it happen.

  • 2010

    Bharti Walmart, a joint venture, opens its first store in India.

    Walmart commits $2 billion through the end of 2015 to help end hunger in the United States.

    Walmart launches a global commitment to sustainable agriculture, aiming to strengthen local farmers and economies, while providing customers access to affordable, high-quality food.

  • 2011

    Walmart expands its business into South Africa by acquiring 51% of Massmart Holdings Limited.

    With the acquisition of Massmart in South Africa, Walmart surpasses 10,000 retail units around the world.

  • 2012

    Walmart celebrates 50 years of helping people save money so they can live better.

  • 2013

    Walmart U.S. announces it will hire any honorably discharged veteran within their first year off active duty. Walmart projects hiring over 100,000 veterans in the next five years.

    Walmart acquires Bharti Walmart Private Limited, including the Best Price Modern Wholesale cash and carry business in India.

    Walmart commits to buying $250 billion in goods manufactured in the United States over the next 10 years.

    Walmart opens its first store in the District of Columbia.

  • 2014

    Doug McMillon succeeds Mike Duke as CEO.

    Greg Foran becomes President and CEO of Walmart U.S.

  • 2015

    The company employs 2.3 million associates worldwide and serves more than 200 million customers each week at more than 11,000 stores in 27 countries.

    Walmart announces a $2.7 billion investment over two years in its U.S. workforce.

    Walmart acquires 100% stake in Yihaodian, an e-commerce business in China, up from the 51% stake since 2012.

    Rob Walton retires as chairman of the board of directors for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. He continues to serve as a director.

    Greg Penner succeeds Rob Walton as chairman of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

  • 2016

    Walmart opens its Culinary & Innovation Center in Bentonville, Arkansas to develop and test new and innovative products.

    Walmart Pay, a fast, easy and secure way for customers to make purchases with their smart phones, becomes a popular in-store payment method.

    Online retailer Jet.com and Heyneedle, a subsidiary of Jet.com, become part of the Walmart family.

    Walmart opens its first training Academy in South Carolina, with 200 total locations planned at stores across the U.S.

    More than 1.2 million Walmart and Sam’s Club associates get a pay increase as part of the company’s two-year, $2.7 billion investment in its people.

    With goals focused on sustainability, Walmart makes a commitment to become the most trusted retailer by 2025.

  • 2017

    John Furner becomes Sam's Club's new president and CEO.

    Walmart launches free two-day shipping on more than 2 million items, no membership required.

    Walmart acquires Moosejaw, ModCloth, Bonobos and Parcel. Jet acquires ShoeBuy.com, which is later renamed Shoes.com.

    Walmart launches Store No 8, a tech incubator, with a focus to drive commerce forward and transform the future of retail.

    Walmart launches Project Gigaton, asking suppliers to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chain by 1 gigaton.

    The company also sets a new goal to reduce its consumables chemical footprint by 10% by 2022.

  • 2018

    The company changes its legal name from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. to Walmart Inc.

    More than 1 million associates benefit from wage rate increases and expanded maternity and parental leave benefits.

    Judith McKenna becomes President and CEO of Walmart International.

    Walmart acquires Flipkart in India, divestiture of its business in Brazil and proposed merger of Asda and Sainsburys in the U.K.

    Walmart acquires Eloquii, Bare Necessities, and Art.com.

  • 2019

    John Furner named President and CEO of Walmart U.S.

    First Walmart Health Center opens.

International Walmart customers use self-checkout systems

International Walmart customers use self-checkout systems