SS340-01American Business History
On July 2, 1962 when the first Wal-Mart store opened in Rogers Arkansas, no one would have guessed that in less than fifty years, one store would explode into nine-hundred and seventy one locations across the United States. The Wal-Mart Store has revolutionized the way that Americans shop for groceries, household supplies, clothes, and even home repair items. Sam Walton’s vision for a place that people could come to purchase a variety of items in one location for a reasonable price, began in 1940 when he started working in retail for J.C. Penny. During his career ...view middle of the document...
The format was simple; Americans wanted a store that they could trust to provide quality products at reasonable prices. In his autobiography, Sam said, "… if you think about it from the point of view of the customer, you want everything: a wide assortment of quality merchandise; the lowest possible prices; guaranteed satisfaction; friendly, knowledgeable service; convenient hours; and a pleasant shopping experience. You love it when a store exceeds your expectations, and you hate it when a store inconveniences you, gives you a hard time, or pretends you're invisible (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.). “ The stores had several main departments that included clothing, health and beauty, automotive, home repair, toys, electronics, shoes, and baby.
Nearly a decade later, Wal-Mart stores were booming with business and other retailers were anxious to get a piece of the discount retailer pie. It seemed as if overnight discount stores like Kmart were showing up everywhere. Walton was only able to put up enough capital to open fifteen more locations. It was this dilemma that brought him to open the company up to stock holders in the early seventies. The supplementary capital investments led to over two-hundred and seventy five more stores before the turn of the decade.
In the mid eighties, Walton found that Americans were looking for more from their local Wal-Mart Discount City. He began to ponder the idea of incorporating a grocery store area into his stores. In 1988, the first “Wal-Mart Supercenter” was born in Washington Missouri. The supercenter included thirty six departments of general merchandise in addition to a full size grocery store. The response to this store format was huge! Customers began to flock even more to Walton’s stores in mass numbers. Eventually all of the “Wal-Mart Discount City” stores were converted to “Wal-Mart Supercenters”. Walton also envisioned marketing a new store brand called “Sam’s Club” offering customers the opportunity to take advantage of even larger discounts on merchandise my purchasing in bulk. By 1989 there were over fourteen hundred “Wal-Mart” stores and over one-hundred and twenty “Sam’s Club” locations across the United States. In 1998 the “Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market” was introduced. This store concept extracted the grocery store portion of the “Wal-Mart Supercenter” into a separate grocery-only store. Fast-forward to the year 2008 and the “Wal-Mart” name has spread to over forty-one hundred locations in the United States and over twenty-four hundred locations outside the United States.
In early 2006, “Wal-Mart” stores began an eighteen-month remodel of eighteen hundred of its stores. Many consumers complained that the old store design was not very inviting and did not encourage a relaxed meandering shopping trip through the store but rather more of a get in get out feel. The board of executives took this into consideration and the results are wider aisles, a more appealing visual display including...