242. Walmart Stores (Listen and Read)
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242. Walmart Stores
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Walmart is now the world's largest retail organization.
Walmart employs around 1.2 million people worldwide.
In 2000, Walmart had sales of more than $191 billion with profits of $6.3 billion.
Profits increased 16% from the previous year.
People have come to expect that Walmart's profits will increase substantially every year.
Each year more stores are opened, and Walmart expands into new countries.
Walmart also enters new areas of business nearly every year.
Few people know that Walmart is also a major real estate company.
Sam Walton opened his Walton's Five and Dime in Bentonville, Arkansas, in 1950.
Twelve years later he opened the first Walmart in Bentonville.
His business philosophy was simple
good prices, great selection and a friendly greeting.
Walton was known for the "Ten Foot Attitude".
This means that any employee should greet any customer who is within ten feet of them.
He emphasized that it is important to speak to people before they speak to you.
Walton also believed that good deals from suppliers should be passed along to customers.
The combination of low prices and friendly service is basic to Walmart's success.
That one store in Bentonville has become 4,203 stores in the U.S.A,
plus another 1,000 outside the United States.
Walton died in 1992,
but his business philosophy continues to be preached at Walmarts.
Each store has greeters who meet the customers at the door, and deal with any special needs they have.
Having greeters gives the effect of having more service clerks than Walmart really has.
Compared to some other department stores, Walmart has relatively fewer employees.
Walmart also has the Walmart Foundation, which sponsors numerous good causes.
Among their programs are high school scholarships, fundraising for local hospitals and sick children,
environmental concerns and community "matching grant" outreach.
So, what's not to like about Walmart?
The main complaint is that their business style is extremely aggressive.
Walmart's attitudes towards manufacturers and suppliers are:
"You do it our way, or we won't do business with you".
This puts Walmart at an advantage over smaller retails who don't have the same retailing power.
Walmart has been known to demand that its suppliers provide products at discount for Walmart store openings;
levy fines for shipment errors;
tell manufacturers what products, styles and colors to make, etc.
Walmart expects product delivery in two days, and expects manufacturers to cooperate with its promotional and retailing strategies.
In effect any company that works with Walmart becomes one of their employees
Any company, which so dominates one area of the market, will have a lot of power.
So far, Walmart has been successful in getting what it wants,
and providing customers with what they want.