This company is one of the world leaders in the retail industry. It is easy to explain this phenomenon - since its inception, the company has followed a simple strategy of low prices.
Thanks to this, she manages to consistently bypass her competitors. For buyers, this is a plus, but there are also "pitfalls" - small staff salaries, ruin of small competitors, which leads to unemployment.
In pursuit of profits, Walmart may turn a blind eye to the quality of its products. At the same time, not only the goods in Walmart itself are deteriorating, but competitors are forced to save on their products. Even suppliers depend on such a large customer.
And it all started quite harmlessly. The founder of the company believed that success can only be achieved through continuous improvement of service and a friendly attitude towards customers. In the memory of Americans, Sam Walton remained constantly smiling. This is how he met clients, this is how he talked with employees. But thanks to such vital values, Walton constantly approached his great goal.
Sam Walton was born on March 29, 1918 in Kinfisher, Oklahoma. His parents were farmers, which determined a difficult childhood. However, Sam did not live in poverty or starvation. His family lacked stability, but it was associated with the Great Depression. As a result, the Waltons were constantly moving from place to place in search of better jobs. Already at the age of 7, he began working as a distributor of morning newspapers.
It is worth saying that Sam was very fond of sports, playing basketball and American football. In his opinion, it was these games that taught him to work in a team. The boy realized that he could level out his minuses at the expense of the pluses of his partners. During his studies, Sam breeds rabbits and pigeons, selling them. At school, Walton proved to be a diligent student, he is constantly elected headman and even became the youngest holder of the Eagle degree in the history of the state scouts.
After graduating from high school, Walton entered the University of Missouri, where he studied until 1940. There Sam studied economics, because already at this age he was interested in retail. The young man combined his studies with work as a manager in a small company. This experience came in handy later. Once again, Walton is in leading roles at the university, serving as chairman and president of various societies.
And in 1942, Sam was drafted into the army. He never got to the war - heart problems affected. Walton served at the DuPont Gunpowder Factory. There he met Helen Robson, who became his wife and beloved for life. This marriage generally played an important role in Walton's future. After all, the girl's parents turned out to be wealthy people and gave the young family a loan for 20 thousand dollars. Helen and Sam used these funds to purchase their first store with the Ben Franklin franchise. It cost 25 thousand dollars. The institution opened on September 1, 1945.
This Newport, Arkansas store quickly became popular. Moreover, he even became the sales leader in the city, surpassing his main competitor. True, Newport itself was a small town, only 7 thousand people lived here. The store's success was based on its owner's approach. He personally met each customer. As a result, he got the feeling that they did not come to an ordinary shop, but to some kind of hotel with individual service. Walton constantly emphasized that his store was a family one - he could tell visitors for a long time about the pranks of his son Robson.
In a small town, this approach paid off. But the first envious people appeared with success. Just five years after the start of sales, Walton's store turned out to be the most profitable in the Ben Franklin chain. That is why the owner decided not to renew the franchise. He considered that the store is located in an initially good location and that you can manage it yourself, without sharing your income with anyone. As a result, the Walton family decided to try their luck in a new city, Bentonville.
This city turned out to be even smaller, in general, 3 thousand people lived here. But there were already four children in the family, Helen believed that they needed to grow up in a calm environment. Here Sam opened his first store called "5 and 10 Cents." It was then that Walton came to understand the low price strategy. He avoided working with intermediaries, trying to purchase his goods from the manufacturers themselves. Sam was not afraid to cut prices, even if he made less profit compared to competitors. The businessman worked for the future and made the right decision.
For 10 years, he opened as many as 10 stores under his own brand. Some of them ended up not even in Arkansas, but in the neighboring state of Missouri. All this time, Walton devoted himself to his family and the study of the art of trading. He set out to combine family stores, where the owners themselves act as sellers, and huge supermarkets from metropolitan areas. From the first establishments, he intended to adopt the sincere atmosphere, and from the second - the scale. Walton read a lot, and also just visited stores and supermarkets, constantly noting fresh interesting ideas.
This formed the future strategy of Walmart. It became clear that it would be impossible to open a supermarket just like that in a big city. After all, there is a different level of competition, expensive space and a different level of salaries for employees. Small provincial could not pull it. Walton decided to start by opening large supermarkets on the outskirts of small towns.
For the main players, it was simply not interesting. But rent was inexpensive and labor was cheap. In 1962, the first Walmart store opened under the name "Waltons Five & Dime". This place turned out to be on the outskirts of Rogers. At the same time, the name Wal-Mart was also chosen taking into account the economy - fewer letters made the sign cheaper.
Local residents immediately noticed the new establishment. After all, it really turned out to be a huge supermarket, just like in a big city. But the prices were low, and there was that same family shop vibe. The Waltons also hired locals, which further enhanced the company's credibility.
As a result, it turned out that there were entire generations of families who worked at Walmart all their lives. This gave rise to the opinion that the company is creating new jobs. Currently, there is a "Walmart effect". With the opening of a new store in the vicinity, an average of 30 jobs are reduced in 5 years. This is due to the closure of small stores or cost cutting by laying off employees.
Walton's stores attracted shoppers with very low prices. This quickly became the main idea of the entire chain of establishments. People believed in discounts and sales, besides, competitors could not boast of the same prices. Five years after the opening of the first Walmart supermarket, there were already 24 of them. The family's annual income was $ 12 million. At the same time, the network was constantly growing. The company sought to build special trusting relationships with suppliers, because this allowed them to lower prices. And for the suppliers themselves, such cooperation with a large extortionist at times turned into a collapse.
An important feature of Sam Walton was his constant presence at the "front line" of his business. He personally visited his stores, listening to the wishes of the employees. The owner believed that it was they who could give the best ideas for the work of the establishments. It happened that Sam even spent his working day with some employee, driving around, for example, in a truck. Walton pushed as best he could, writing down the most interesting in a notebook. And this behavior was the norm for him.
The company did not have serious competitors in small towns, and it began to grow stronger. Indeed, new jobs appeared, people bought goods at attractive prices. The company even took part in charity work, strengthening its image. And its owner was "his own", a native of the people. Although Walton was wealthy, he preferred not a suit and a limousine, but an old pickup truck and simple clothes. The luxury simply left him indifferent.
In 1979, the number of stores grew to 230, with annual revenues exceeding $ 1 billion. The company's strategy turned out to be a winning one. As a result, in the early 1990s, Walmart proved to be far more profitable than other popular supermarket chains - Kmart and Sears. Sam Walton himself unexpectedly turned out to be the richest man in the country. His chain of stores imperceptibly enveloped the whole of America. After small towns, it was the turn of large million-strong megalopolises.
In 1992, Sam Walton managed to receive the Medal of Freedom from the President of the United States. The founder of Walmart passed away the same year after living for 90 long years. And his fortune was divided between his wife and children. Today the family owns half of the company, which is valued at $ 100 billion. Today the company employs over 2 million people and has an annual turnover of over $ 400 billion with a net profit of $ 13 billion.