18 Facts About Walmart That Will Give You A Glimpse Into The Retail Giant’s History

7/21/14 3:26PM EST

18 Facts About Walmart That Will Give You A Glimpse Into The Retail Giants History 18 Facts About Walmart That Will Give You A Glimpse Into The Retail Giants History

Image via Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

Love it or hate it, Walmart is not going anywhere. Friend to savvy shopper and foe to local businesses, the giant global retailer has created its share of controversy in the last 40 years or so since its inception. You know they’ll beat prices, and you can probably locate one of its thousands of locations in your sleep: but you don’t know the whole story. Here are 18 facts about Walmart’s story that you didn’t know until now.

1. Sam Walton, Walmart’s founder and formerly a military captain and J.C. Penney employee, took over a Ben Franklin variety store. With his keen business sense, he increased sales from $72,000 to $105,000 in just the first year.

2. Walmart is still very much a family business today. The Walton family still collectively owns more than half the company and are estimated to be worth $152 billion — making them the richest family in the entire world.

3. There are more than 11,000 Walmart stores in 27 countries, but they operate under 55 different names. It’s known as Asda in the UK, Seiyu in Japan, and Best Price in India.

4. “Always Low Prices, Always” was Walmart’s signature slogan for 19 years until it was replaced by “Save Money, Live Better” in 2007.

5. Walmart worked with Michelle Obama and her staff to announce a program in 2011 to improve the nutritional value of its store brands over the next five years, reducing sugar and salt in its foods and eliminating trans fat.

6. Walmart is the biggest private employer, according to the 2014 Fortune Global 500 list and the largest retailer in the world, employing more than two million people.

7. In 2005, Walmart announced that it would be making an effort to become a more energy efficient company. The company designed three experimental stores in Texas, Colorado, and Las Vegas with wind turbines, photovoltaic solar panels, biofuel-capable boilers, water-cooled refrigerators, and xeriscape gardens.

8. According to research by Global Insight, Walmart’s price level reduction has saved people $287 billion — about $957 a person.

9. Walmart didn’t make it into the Northeast until 1990, when it opened its doors in York, Pennsylvania.

10. Saving customers money has been Walmart’s main goal since its very beginning. Sam Walton’s entire focus was to sell products at high volume so he could get them at low prices. He found low-cost suppliers to offset his other expenses and succeeded in his goal in passing on the savings to his customers.

11. Walmart donated $20 million in cash, 1500 truckloads of merchandise, and food for 100,000 meals in the relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina.

12. Texas Retail Energy, an electric company in Texas, was created by Walmart. By supplying its stores with cheaper power, Walmart is aiming to save the company $15 trillion a year and eventually start selling its own electricity to Texans.

13. Walmart sells more than 1,000,000 products and even offers music downloads for purchase these days.

14. @WalMartLabs is a tech company set up by Walmart in Silicon Valley that works on creating ways to combine services and shopping for Walmart’s customers by developing new e-commerce technologies.

15. The one competitor Walmart hasn’t touched yet is Netflix. The company made an attempt at launching a “beta” version of a movie download service in 2007 but failed miserably and pulled it within the year.

16. Walmart prides itself on offering growth and opportunity as an associate at one of its stores, saying that depending on the time of year, there are anywhere between 15,000-50,000 job openings at their U.S. stores. About 75 percent of the company’s store management teams start as hourly associates and climb the ladder (according to Walmart) earning between $50k and $170k — “similar to what firefighters, accountants, and even doctors make.”

17. Walmart launched the Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative in 2011 to make progress in the company’s sourcing, training, and diversity numbers. The majority of Walmart’s employees are women.

18. In November 2012, Walmart launched Goodies, the company’s first mail subscription service which allows customers to get 5-8 food samples a month delivered to their homes for $7.

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