Just How Big is Wal-Mart? Darn Big

Top 100 Retailers (Stores Magazine)

Wal-Mart Ranks Number 1 in Retail SizeAlmost everyone knows Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the United States but few have a clear idea of just how big they are.? This annual report from Stores Magazine shows Wal-Mart is a massive operation with sales exceeding $300 billion in 2009.? To add some perspective to this number, Wal-Mart?s sales are four times larger than the second-place retailer, Kroger.? Even more, if you combine the sales of the retailers rated two through six (Kroger, Target, Walgreen, The Home Depot and Costco) this total only barely exceeds Wal-Mart?s total sales ($305 billion for Wal-Mart vs. $319 billion for the group).? And, if that is not enough, Wal-Mart?s operating income of $21 billion exceeds the individual sales figures of all but 16 retailers.

While the sales and income values may generate the most attention, this report also offers several other intriguing numbers including:

  • The top 100 retailer with the largest number of outlets ? Subway with over 22,000 locations.
  • The top 100 retailer with the highest sales growth from 2008 to 2009 ? O?Reilly Automotive with sales increasing over 35%.
  • The top 100 retailer with the poorest sales performance from 2008 to 2009 ? Albertsons with a sales decline of nearly 26%.

You can have a lot more fun with this report by copying the information into a spreadsheet and looking for more relationships.? For instance, which retailer has the highest sales-per-outlet?? Costco with over $139 million per store.? Which U.S. states are headquarters to the most top retailers? California and Texas each with 11 followed by Pennsylvania with 8.

While overall this is useful information, as with any compilation list the numbers need to be evaluated closely for potential discrepancies.? For instance, some of the retail revenue numbers may include online sales, which must be factored out in order to get a true assessment of the sales-per-outlet number.? There are a few other issues but generally the information provided is good.

Though Walmart?s best growth opportunities of late have been overseas, the company says it can still generate another $100 billion in annual sales from domestic markets, perhaps with smaller-sized stores. These might not carry supercenters? economies of scale, but the reduced footprints could help the company win approval from zoning officials in places like New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Five years from now, will the top 10 look similar or will there likely be major changes to the list?

Image by Ron Dauphin