Who Owns Walmart?

As of 2022, 2,751,779,629 Shares were outstanding for Walmart. The company’s major shareholder is the Walton family, whose mission is to “help people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores and through eCommerce.” While its vision is to “make every day easier for busy families.” Walmart defines “busy families” as the bull’s eye of its business strategy. From humble beginnings just over 50 years ago, Walmart’s business model has become the world’s largest retail company.

Products and ServicesWalmart is a multinational retail corporation that provides a wide range of products and services. The company operates physical retail stores, including Walmart Supercenters, discount stores, and warehouse clubs. Walmart also offers e-commerce and online shopping through its website and mobile app. The company sells various categories of products, including groceries, clothing, electronics, household goods, pharmacy items, and more. Additionally, Walmart provides financial services, such as banking, money transfers, and insurance, as well as healthcare services in some locations.Walmart’s core offerings encompass retail products and services, targeting a broad customer base seeking convenience and value. A diverse product range caters to various needs. E-commerce extends accessibility. Financial and healthcare services enhance the shopping experience.Walmart physical stores (e.g., Walmart Supercenters), discount stores (e.g., Walmart Discount Stores), warehouse clubs (e.g., Sam’s Club), e-commerce platform (walmart.com), groceries, clothing, electronics, financial services (e.g., Walmart MoneyCenter), healthcare services (e.g., Walmart Health).
Revenue StreamsWalmart generates revenue primarily through the sale of retail products in its physical stores and e-commerce platform. The company also earns income from its membership-based warehouse club, Sam’s Club. Additionally, Walmart generates revenue from financial services, including fees for money transfers and banking products.Revenue from retail product sales in physical stores is a substantial portion of income, driven by Walmart’s vast retail footprint. E-commerce sales contribute to revenue growth. Sam’s Club memberships and sales provide income. Financial services generate additional income through fees.Revenue from retail product sales in physical stores, e-commerce sales (e.g., walmart.com revenue), Sam’s Club memberships and sales, income from financial services (e.g., fees for money transfers, banking products).
Customer SegmentsWalmart serves a diverse customer base, including individuals and families of various income levels, businesses, and organizations. The brand appeals to consumers seeking everyday essentials, groceries, value-priced goods, and a one-stop shopping experience. Walmart’s clientele spans across demographics.Walmart’s target demographic is broad, covering individuals and families with varying shopping needs and budgets. The brand’s focus on offering value attracts cost-conscious consumers. Business customers appreciate bulk purchasing options.Individuals and families seeking everyday essentials, groceries, value-priced goods, businesses and organizations purchasing in bulk, cost-conscious consumers looking for value.
Distribution ChannelsWalmart distributes its products through a vast network of physical retail stores, including Walmart Supercenters, discount stores, and Sam’s Club warehouse clubs. The company also operates an e-commerce platform for online sales, providing customers with convenient shopping options.Physical retail stores offer a traditional shopping experience with a vast product selection. The e-commerce platform caters to online shoppers and enhances convenience.Walmart physical retail stores (e.g., Walmart Supercenters, Walmart Discount Stores), Sam’s Club warehouse clubs, e-commerce platform (walmart.com).
Key PartnershipsWalmart forms partnerships with suppliers and manufacturers to source products for its stores. The company may collaborate with technology providers for digital solutions and enhancements. Additionally, Walmart partners with financial institutions to offer banking and money transfer services.Collaborations with suppliers ensure product availability and diversity. Partnerships with technology providers drive digital innovation. Financial institution partnerships enable the provision of banking and money transfer services.Collaborations with suppliers (e.g., food manufacturers for groceries), partnerships with technology providers (e.g., tech companies for e-commerce enhancements), collaborations with financial institutions (e.g., banks for financial services).
Key ResourcesWalmart’s key resources include its extensive retail infrastructure, including physical stores and e-commerce platform, vast supply chain and distribution network, brand recognition, product sourcing capabilities, customer data and insights, and a commitment to value and convenience.The extensive retail infrastructure provides a physical presence. A vast supply chain ensures product availability. Brand recognition builds trust. Product sourcing capabilities maintain diverse inventory. Customer data and insights inform strategies. A commitment to value and convenience is a core resource.Extensive retail infrastructure (physical stores and e-commerce), supply chain and distribution network, brand recognition, product sourcing capabilities, customer data and insights, commitment to value and convenience.
Cost StructureWalmart incurs costs in various areas, including inventory procurement, store operations and maintenance, e-commerce platform maintenance, marketing and advertising campaigns, employee salaries (including store associates), supply chain operations, and investments in technology and innovation.Costs associated with inventory procurement are substantial due to Walmart’s vast product range. Store operations and maintenance expenses cover physical stores. Marketing and advertising campaigns promote the brand. Employee salaries, including store associates, represent a significant portion of costs. Supply chain operations are essential for inventory management. Investments in technology and innovation require resources.Costs related to inventory procurement (e.g., purchasing products for stores), store operations and maintenance, marketing and advertising campaigns (e.g., Walmart

Walmart origin story

Walmart is an American multinational retail corporation operating hypermarkets, grocery stores, and discount department stores. Sam Walton founded it in Arkansas in 1962.

Walton was a military veteran who moved to Newport, Arkansas, after his service ended in 1945. Walton and his wife Helen then purchased their first Ben Franklin variety store franchise.

After five years in operation, Sam had fulfilled his wish to make the franchise the top store in the state. He achieved this through exemplary customer service and low prices, a personal philosophy still important to Walmart today.

In 1945, Sam Walton built up from scratch what would later become the largest retailer in the world.

In 1950, the Waltons were forced to move on after the landlord refused to renew their lease.

Until 1962, Walmart’s founders focused on opening various stores. Only in 1983, did Walmart opens its first Sam’s Club, and by 1988, it opened its first supercenter.

By the 1990s, Walmart had become a giant in the US and started global expansion.

Starting in the 2000s, as e-commerce picked up, Amazon, once a startup, became a tech giant.

This also led Walmart in the direction of investing massive resources online.

To stay competitive, as the pandemic hit the world in 2021, Walmart also started to offer Walmart+, a subscription service, including unlimited free shipping, unlimited delivery from its stores, and discounts.

As the company highlighted with the launch of its subscription service:

Walmart+ uses the company’s unique assets to make life easier for busy families. Along with the power of its online presence, Walmart+ has the reach of more than 4,700 stores, including 2,700 stores that offer delivery as fast as same day. Members will receive unlimited free delivery from stores, fuel discounts and access to tools that make shopping faster for families. Membership will be available to all customers on Sept. 15. It will cost $98 a year or $12.95 a month and includes a 15-day free trial period. In the future, the company will leverage its wide-ranging strengths to add additional benefits for members in a variety of services and offerings.

The three main features of the service are:

  • Unlimited free delivery.
  • Scan & Go.
  • And fuel discounts.

Walmart is an American multinational retail corporation operating hypermarkets, grocery stores, and discount department stores. It was founded by Sam Walton in Arkansas in 1962.

Walton was a military veteran who moved to Newport, Arkansas after his service ended in 1945. Walton and his wife Helen then purchased their first Ben Franklin variety store franchise.

After five years in operation, Sam had fulfilled his wish to make the franchise the top store in the state. He achieved this through exemplary customer service and low prices, a personal philosophy still important to Walmart today.

In 1950, the Waltons were forced to move on after the landlord refused to renew their lease.

The move to Bentonville, Arkansas

Walton then began scouring northwest Arkansas for somewhere to establish a new presence.

In Bentonville, he found a small variety store whose owner was willing to sell.

He called this Ben Franklin franchise Walton’s Five and Dime, marketing it as the “most up-to-date, modern variety store in Northwest Arkansas.

Between 1951 and 1962, Walton opened 14 stores in small, rural towns.

He believed discount stores could thrive in these places provided products were sold at the lowest price possible.

He went to Ben Franklin with this strategy, but they were uninterested after learning their margins would have to be cut in half.

As a result, Walton decided to strike out alone.

The first Walmart store and further expansion

The first Walmart store opened in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962.

Sam and Helen provided 95% of the required funding, so they had to make it work.

To increase their odds of success, Sam would travel the country and learn everything he could about discount retailing.

In 1968, Walmart expanded into Missouri and Oklahoma, opening its first distribution center in Bentonville.

The following year, Walmart Stores was incorporated and held an IPO. By 1972, Sam Walton had enough money to build 15 more stores.

Facing stiff competition from retail giants such as Kmart, Walmart stock was offered on the New York Stock Exchange on August 15 of that same year.

By the end of the decade, Walmart had grown to 276 stores in 11 different states. The company made several acquisitions, including 16 Mohr Value Stores and the Hutcheson Shoe Company.

Coming of age

In 1980, Walmart, through its business model, became the fastest company to reach $1 billion in sales after just 18 years in operation.

As the company continued expanding into other U.S. states, so did Walton’s aspirations.

The first Walmart Supercenter opened in 1988, an experimental hypermarket selling traditional groceries alongside other services.

These included pet shops, garden centers, optical centers, pharmacies, and photo-processing labs.

Sam’s Club was also created around this time, a membership-only retail warehouse club offering exclusive savings on shipping, fuel, and prescriptions, among other things.

In 1990, Walmart became the top retailer in the United States – a title it still holds over three decades later.

As we saw:

    • Walmart was founded by Sam Walton, who started his retail career by operating a Ben Franklin variety store franchise. Walton believed in delivering value to the customer through exemplary customer service and low prices.

    • Walton would go on to operate 15 Ben Franklin franchises but decided to create his chain after disagreements with the owners over profit margins.
    • The first Walmart store opened in Arkansas in 1962. An IPO facilitated expansion throughout the United States in 1969 and a debut on the NYSE in 1972. By 1980, Walmart surpassed $1 billion in annual revenue and began experimenting with hypermarket and membership-only retail models. 


The 1990s was a period of meteoric growth and expansion for Walmart.

In 1991, new Walmart stores were opened in the states of Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Connecticut. 

This was soon followed by the first store outside of the United States, a Sam’s Club outlet that opened in Mexico City and was the product of a joint venture with Mexican retail company Cifra.

Three years later, Walmart established a Canadian presence after it acquired 100 stores from the discount retail chain Woolco.

By 1995, Walmart expanded into Vermont which meant the company had a presence in all 50 states, and, the following year, opened its first stores in China and South America. 

In 1997, Walmart surpassed $100 billion in annual sales for the first time.

Walmart Neighborhood Market

Walmart introduced the Walmart Neighborhood Market chain of supermarkets in 1998 at a few select locations across Arkansas. 

Each store focused on the three major grocery categories that made up 55% of sales and endeavored to attract customers with easier parking, wider aisles, and a more seamless checkout process. Some also offered the somewhat novel concept of drive-thru pharmacies.

At first, Walmart Neighborhood Market stores expanded slowly and were devised as a way to fill existing gaps between Walmart Supercenters and Discount Stores. Over the next twelve years, the company would open 180 stores and this number now stands at just under 700.

Early 2000s

In 2000, Walmart posted sales of $156 billion which was double what it had posted just five years earlier. That same year, Lee Scott Jr. succeeded David Glass as CEO and the company established an eCommerce presence at Walmart.com.

With more than 1.1 million employees and almost 4,000 stores and clubs around the world, Walmart became the number one ranked Fortune 500 company in 2002.

Six years later, Walmart acquired a 37% stake in Seiyu Group to enter the Japanese market. The group became a wholly-owned subsidiary in 2008.

For all of Walmart’s success, however, it was forced to sell 85 of its stores in the lucrative $370 billion German retail market because it failed to understand cultural differences.

The company also ceased operations in South Korea because for similar reasons.

In 2007, Walmart changed its slogan from “Always Low Prices, Always” to “Save Money Live Better.”


By 2015, Walmart was serving 200 million customers each week in over 11,000 stores across 27 countries. That year, it also completed the acquisition of Chinese eCommerce company Yihaodian, with CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce Neil Ashe explaining that “Our investment in Yihaodian is part of our long-term commitment to grow in China, and we look forward to playing a positive role in the development of the e-commerce industry.

At the time of the acquisition, Yihaodian offered more than 8 million products across 14 categories and famously once sold 1 million liters of milk in less than 24 hours.

In 2016, the Culinary & Innovation Center was opened in Bentonville, Arkansas, to develop and test innovative products. The company also launched Walmart Pay soon thereafter which afforded customers a fast and secure way to pay for their items. 

To compete with Amazon, Walmart introduced free two-day shipping on over 2 million items in 2017. It also launched the Store No 8 tech incubator to develop ideas that would progress eCommerce and transform the future of retail.

2020 and beyond

Walmart was an active participant in the management of COVID-19. It turned many of its parking lots into testing centers in early 2020 and administered tens of millions of vaccines in underserved communities.

In 2021, Walmart made investments in drone delivery, autonomous vehicles, and fintech, and later launched a last-mile delivery service known as Walmart GoLocal. The following year, Walmart celebrated its 60th anniversary. 

Walmart’s business model today

By 2022, Walmart managed to diversify its business model, and while retail it’s still the core, the company also managed to build a successful e-commerce segment. 

In 2022, Walmart generated over $572 billion in revenue and $13.67 billion in profits. 


Walmart counted 230 million customers in 2022. 


Walmart had 10,500 stores in 2022.


Walmart employed 2.3 million employees in 2022. 


Walmart’s Mission Statement is to “help people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores and through eCommerce.” While its vision is to “make every day easier for busy families.” Walmart defines “busy families” as the bull’s eye of its business strategy.


Walmart’s Organizational Structure is a hybrid hierarchical-functional organizational structure (matrix).


Key Highlights

  1. Ownership and Major Shareholder: As of 2022, Walmart had 2,751,779,629 shares outstanding. The Walton family, the major shareholders, are dedicated to Walmart’s mission of helping people save money and live better through retail and eCommerce.

  2. Founding Story: Walmart, founded by Sam Walton in 1962, began with his experience in the retail sector, his focus on customer service, and offering low prices. Walton opened the first Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas.

  3. Expansion: Walmart grew rapidly, opening more stores and experimenting with different retail models. The first Walmart Supercenter opened in 1988, offering a hypermarket concept. Sam’s Club, a membership-only retail warehouse club, was also introduced.

  4. Global Presence: In the 1990s, Walmart expanded globally, opening stores in Mexico, Canada, China, South America, and more. By 1997, it surpassed $100 billion in annual sales.

  5. Walmart Neighborhood Market: Walmart introduced the Walmart Neighborhood Market in 1998, focusing on groceries and other services. This concept aimed to fill gaps between Supercenters and Discount Stores.

  6. Early 2000s: In 2000, Walmart entered the eCommerce space with Walmart.com. Lee Scott Jr. became CEO, and the company grew in revenue and global presence. It also entered the Japanese market.

  7. Diversification and Innovation: Walmart diversified its operations, serving 200 million customers weekly across 27 countries by 2015. It acquired Chinese eCommerce company Yihaodian and introduced innovations like Walmart Pay and two-day shipping.

  8. COVID-19 Response: In 2020, Walmart actively participated in COVID-19 management, turning its parking lots into testing centers and administering vaccines.

  9. 2022 Business Model: By 2022, Walmart had diversified its core retail business with a successful eCommerce segment. It generated over $572 billion in revenue and employed 2.3 million employees. The company counted 230 million customers and operated 10,500 stores.

  10. Mission and Vision: Walmart’s mission is to help people save money and live better, while its vision is to make every day easier for busy families. The company’s business strategy revolves around serving busy families.

  11. Organizational Structure: Walmart follows a hybrid hierarchical-functional organizational structure (matrix).

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