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Wal-Mart Stores — History

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Wal-Mart Stores — History

Wal-Mart was established in 1969. In the following year, Wal-Mart became a publicly-held company and started selling shares over the counter. In 1972, the company got listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Wal-Mart diversified into grocery (Wal-Mart Supercenters), international operations, and membership warehouse clubs (Sam’s Clubs) during the 1980s. In 1983, the company opened Sam’s Wholesale Club, a concept based on the successful cash-and-carry, membership-only warehouse format pioneered by the Price Company of California (now Costco Wholesale Corporation). The company started Hypermart*USA in 1987 as a joint venture with the Dallas-based supermarket chain Cullum Companies (now Randall’s Food Markets). Hypermart USA outlets later became the company’s Wal-Mart Supercenters. In 1989, Wal-Mart acquired Cullum Companies.

Wal-Mart acquired a wholesale distributor, McLane Company, in 1990.The company entered Mexico in 1992 through a joint venture with Mexico’s largest retailer, Cifra, to open Sam’s Clubs. Furthermore, it acquired 122 former Woolco stores in Canada in 1994.Wal-Mart continued to expand internationally, and established Chinese operations in 1996. It also acquired the German hypermarket chain, Wertkauf, in 1997. In Brazil, Wal-Mart acquired a stake in the retailer Lojas Americanas, in 1998. During the same year, the company began testing the Neighborhood Market format, a 40,000-square-foot grocery and drug combination store. In 1999, Wal-Mart purchased 74 German-based Interspar hypermarkets and acquired ASDA Group, the UK’s third-largest supermarket chain.

The company began selling household appliances in selected stores in 2000. Wal-Mart launched its ‘No Boundaries’ private label cosmetics brand in 2001. Wal-Mart started operating in Japan in 2002, acquiring a 6% stake in one of Japan’s top retailers, Seiyu. Later that year, the company increased its stake in Seiyu to 36%. The company also acquired, Supermercados Amigo, in Puerto Rico in the same year. During 2002, Wal-Mart started 107 international units, with two in Brazil, 22 in Canada, eight in China, two in Germany, three in South Korea, 59 in Mexico, two in Puerto Rico, and nine in the UK. The company’s attempt to open a state industrial bank in California, in 2002, failed owing to legal problems.

Wal-Mart sold its McLane subsidiary, a US grocery distributor, in 2003. This subsidiary was sold to Berkshire Hathaway, allowing Wal-Mart to concentrate on its core retail activities. Throughout the year and well into 2004, the company focused on expansion in China. In 2004, Wal-Mart Brazil acquired Bompreco, a retail chain in northeastern Brazil with 118 units (hypermarkets, supermarkets and mini markets) from a Dutch retailer, Royal Ahold. During the same year, Wal-Mart launched its online music store.

In early 2005, the company entered a joint venture with CITIC Pacific to open hundreds of stores in China over the following five years. Wal-Mart held a 65% share of the venture. During the same period, Wal-Mart Canada, the Canadian arm of Wal-Mart Stores, closed one of its two Quebec stores in Jonquiere because of its weak financial performance.Wal-Mart increased its stake in Seiyu (Japan) to 42% in mid 2005. In the same year, Wal-Mart purchased a one-third interest in Central American Retail Holding (CARHCO), an operator of supermarkets in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras,

Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. In late 2005, Wal-Mart also acquired about 140 stores in Brazil from Sonae, a Portuguese retailer, for about $757 million, increasing the number of outlets it operates in Brazil to nearly 300.

The company acquired an additional 17.7% interest in CARHCO from Royal Ahold in 2006, increasing its stake in the Central America supermarket operator to 51%. Shinsegae Company, South Korea’s leading retailer, agreed to purchase the company’s South Korean retail business for KRW825 billion (approximately $882 million) in the same year. The company sold its German retail business to Metro, in 2006. Later in 2006, Eagles and Wal-Mart entered a long-term strategic marketing agreement, including sponsorship, exclusive audio and video releases, and product visibility.

Wal-Mart purchased a 35% interest in Bounteous Company, which operated hypermarkets in China under the Trust-Mart banner, in February 2007. Wal-Mart introduced the neighborhood market concept to Naples with a new company design in March 2007. In the following month, the company announced an expansion of associate-established effort on ’Personal Sustainability Projects‘ (PSPs). In May 2007, Wal-Mart announced its plans to open nearly 400 in-store health clinics over the following two to three years. During the same month, Wal-Mart partnered with Skype to bring Internet communications to the masses. As part of a pilot project to determine solar power viability, the company purchased solar power from three providers, BP Solar, SunEdison, and SunPower subsidiary PowerLight during the same period.

Fendi and Sam’s Club resolved the dispute regarding sale of counterfeit bags and other products under the Fendi label in June 2007. Under the agreement, Sam’s Club had to pay a confidential amount for settlement to Fendi. In the same month, Wal-Mart announced its intentions to open 1,000 financial centers by the end of 2009 in its stores, so that customers would be able to pay bills, cash paychecks and obtain other financial services. In tandem with the intended roll-out of a financial center, Wal-Mart announced the introduction of pre-paid debit card catering to low-income US customers.

In July 2007, the company completed the final phase of its Site to Store national rollout to more than 3,300 stores across the country. This service allowed customers to order products online at Walmart.com, most of which were also available in its stores.Wal-Mart entered a 50:50 joint venture agreement with Bharti Enterprises to establish Bharti Wal-Mart (Private Limited) in August 2007. The joint venture was meant for establishing wholesale cash-and-carry and back-end supply chain management operations in India. In September 2007, the company formed a partnership with the Carbon Disclosure Project, a not-for-profit organization, to help its suppliers in managing energy efficiency. In October 2007, Wal-Mart announced the addition of two new Home brands. In the same month, the company opened 36 new stores in the US.

Vicente Trius was appointed as the Executive Vice President, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wal-Mart Asia, International, in January 2008. In the same month, Wal-Mart reopened its store at Oakland Park Boulevard and University Drive, which was damaged by Hurricane Wilma two years ago. The company announced its plan to expand its in-store clinic network and to open its first co-branded clinics at Supercenter stores in Atlanta, Little Rock and Dallas, in February 2008.

In March 2008, Wal-Mart announced its plan to open 81 new stores and clubs in the US. In the same month, the company’s store in Orange Park, Florida, relocated its discount store and expanded its format to a Supercenter, providing an additional one-stop shopping destination to its customers. New Supercenter’s were opened near Orlando International Airport, West Point, Chandler, Checotah and Coweta, in the same month. The company also announced to open its smallest Wal-Mart Supercenter in California in early 2009. Wal-Mart launched six coffee products under its Sam’s Choice brand in April 2008. In the following month, another Supercenter Wal-Mart opened in Ponce, Puerto Rico.