Wal-Mart in 2003: The World's Largest Company

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTA091
Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 2003
Organization : Wal-Mart
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : Global
Industry : Retail

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"The world has never known a company with such ambition, capability and momentum".1


In 2003, Wal-Mart, the largest retail chain in the world was also the world's largest company with a turnover of $245 billion. Each year, roughly 80% of American households made at least one purchase at Wal-Mart. Starting off in a small way, under the leadership of the legendary Sam Walton, Wal-Mart had emerged as a global player with operations in North America, Asia, Europe and South America. Wal-Mart symbolised operational excellence and cost leadership. According to rough estimates Wal-Mart had saved an estimated $20 billion of costs for US customers in 2002 alone2.

Some economists even argued that the 'Wal-Mart effect' had reduced inflation and improved productivity in the US economy year after year.

In 1955, when Fortune began to publish its list of top 500 companies, Wal-Mart did not even exist. By 2002, it had moved to the top of the list. During the period 1997-2002, revenues grew by more than $100 billion...

Excerpts >>

1] Boston Consulting Group, Quoted in Business Week, 6th October 2003.

2] Business Week, 6th October 2003.


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