From its humble beginnings of a single location opened in 1962, to its current status as one of the world’s true juggernaut companies, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is an amazing American success story. The company sells virtually everything, and operates more than 10,000 retail stores in more than 25 countries. As an investment, there are few stocks that boast a similar track record of rewards for shareholders. The Walton family, which owns roughly 48% of the company, should be considered a modern American dynasty. At recent valuations, the net worth of the Walton family is more than $110 billion. Wal-Mart is an American business wonder with a massive size and scale of almost unbelievable proportion.
Out of this world numbers
In February, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) released its fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year fiscal 2013 results. The company reported full-year total revenue of $469 billion, an increase of 5% versus the prior year. To put Wal-Mart’s gigantic sales in perspective, if Wal-Mart were its own nation it would rank among the top 30 countries by gross domestic product. Its $469 billion in sales would almost match the GDP of Poland, according to 2012 estimates from the International Monetary Fund. Furthermore, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) employs more than 2 million people, only about a half million fewer than the population of Chicago.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) competes with other discount retailers including Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) and Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST). Target is a $40 billion company that competes directly with Wal-Mart. In November, Target reported adjusted earnings per share of $0.90, up 4.3% from the third quarter 2011. Target also provided fourth quarter earnings guidance of $1.64-$1.74. Target generated trailing twelve-month revenue of almost $72 billion.