Wal-Mart’s philosophy has always been to provide everyday low prices and superior customer service. But this philosophy might have stared potential customers away from Wal-Mart. Many people, including myself, have the misconception that Wal-Mart only sells necessities that the average working class family can afford. An extreme eye opener for me was a recent television commercial by Wal-Mart. I saw that they also sold flat panel televisions, which is considered a luxury item for any social class.
After going to their website to see what other luxury items Wal-Mart sold I was amazed at the number of items I found that were not the necessities which I stereotyped them selling. Wal-Mart has to change the public’s opinion of the items that they sell and the types of people that it has in mind of serving.
Sam Walton was the shrewd businessman behind the world’s largest retailer. After working his way through the University of Missouri as a newspaper delivery boy, he got a job in Des Moines, Iowa as a management trainee for J.C. Penny at a salary of $75 a month.
Walton borrowed some money from his father-in-law and opened a variety store after serving as an Army captain in World War II. A chain of drugstores followed. He went into business with his brother Bud, and by 1960, the Waltons’ 15 stores were taking in $1.4 million a year. But Walton soon saw a challenging new competitor arise in the discount store. The Walton brothers opened their first Wal-Mart in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas.
Specializing in name brands at low prices, the chain of Wal-Mart stores sprang up across rural America.
Wal-Mart’s sales grew to $26 billion by 1989, compared to $1 billion in 1980. By 1990, Wal-Mart was the largest U.S. retailer, with 1,700 stores. One year later Wal-Mart entered the international market for the first time with the opening of a unit in Mexico City.
Within five years, Wal-Mart would enter Puerto Rico, Argentina, Brazil and China. Since then, Wal-Mart has built stores in Canada, Germany, Korea and the United Kingdom. Wal-Mart currently opens a new megastore every two business days and has expanded, on average, into one new country each year. .