We live in a world where retail companies are directly involved with the consumers or end-users of the products. Retailer companies specialise in selling goods and services sourced or manufactured. Retail companies deal with everything from a knife in your kitchen to the TV in your lounge to reach you.
Besides, the retail sales of any country significantly contribute to consumer spending. According to statistics, consumer spending in the US economy is 2/3 of the total economic activity, and retail sales are part of consumer spending.
And when we talk about retail companies, it’s impossible to conclude anything without mention of Walmart, the largest retail company in the world. Many people wonder how Walmart company operate and who owns the company.
We will walk you through everything you need to know about Walmart and its ownership. We will also take you to the company’s history and introduce you to the major shareholders.
So let’s get into it.
Walmart is an American multinational retail corporation that has been operating for the last 60 years. The company also run a chain of hypermarkets called Supercenters, besides the discount department stores and grocery stores.
Walmart is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas. Sam Walton and his brother James Walton co-founded the company in Rogers, Arkansas. The company also owns the Sam’s Club retail warehouses in the United States.
There are over 10500 stores of Walmart and Sam’s Club warehouses in the United States and 24 other countries. The stores of Walmart are operating under 46 different names depending on the country of operation. For instance, Flipkart Wholesale is the name of Walmart in India, and Walmart de Mexico y Centroamerica is the name in Central America, and Mexico.
Walmart has grown to the world’s largest company in terms of revenues, with annual revenue of $570 bn as per stats of 2022. Besides, the company is also the world’s largest private employer, with 2.2 million employees. The family-owned business is publicly traded and majorly controlled by Walton Family.
Who Own Walmart?
Walmart Inc. is a publicly traded company with shares on the stock exchange. Therefore, owners of publicly held companies are the shareholders who have equity stakes in the company. Certain shareholders’ shares, equity rights, or voting power might be more or less than each other. Therefore, we often regard a company’s major shareholders as the owner, as they significantly influence the strategic decisions and policies of the company.
Unlike Apple or Twitter, Walmart Inc is not a company where founders are nowhere to be found in major stakeholders in the company. Instead, Walmart has 50% or more stocks held by the Walton Family. It makes Walmart Inc a family-owned, publicly held company. We will talk about the company’s major shareholders in later parts of the blog.
History of Walmart
Let’s go back in time and see how Walmart started, and the milestones company has achieved along the way.
- It was the foundation period of what the world knows as Walmart today. The important events during this time period are as follows:
- J.C. Penny’s employee Sam Walton purchased a branch of Ben Franklin from Butler Brothers in 1945. He wanted to sell products at a low price to achieve a high volume of sales.
- He achieved a 45% increase in revenues within the first year of operations, and the trend also continued for the next four years.
- At the end of 5 years lease, Sam Walton couldn’t renew it despite profitable business. Therefore, he opened a new store with name Walton’s Five and Dime at 105 N. Main Street, Bentonville.
- In 1962 the first Walmart Discount Store opened at 719 W. Walnut Street, Rogers, Arkansas. Walton took inspiration from Anne and Hope for the design of the store. The inspiration for the name was taken from Fedmart, a chain of discount department stores in the US.
- The company expanded to open 18 stores in Arkansas within the first five years of operations. The revenues also kept growing exponentially.
- For the first time, the stores outside Arkansas were opened in Sikeston(Missouri) and Claremore(Oklahoma) in 1968.
- Walmart was incorporated on October 31, 1969, under Delaware General Corporation Law.
- The name of the company was changed from Walmart Inc. to Walmart Stores Inc. within the first year of incorporation.
- The company had expanded to 38 stores, a home office, a distribution center in Arkansas, and 1500 employees by 1970.
- The company was also listed on NYSE on October 1, 1970, as a publicly held company.
- By 1971, Walmart had expanded its stores in 5 states of the United States.
- In 1975, Walmart had 125 stores, 7500 employees, and $340.3 million in revenues.
- In 1984 the company started sourcing 6-40% products from China.
- By the 25th anniversary of the company in 1987, Walmart had 1198 stores, 200,000 associates, and $15.9 bn in revenues.
- In 1987, Walmart also completed its satellite network with extensive investment. The network connected all the stores with the Bentonville office through two-way audio, one-way video, and data transmission.
- In 1988, Sam Walton stepped down from the CEO position of the company, and David Glass was appointed as the company’s new CEO. However, Walton retained his chairmanship on the Board of Directors.
- By the late 1980s, Walmart was already 3rd largest retailer in the United States. In 1994, Walmart opened its stores in all US states, with Vermont being the last state. It was the time to expand internationally.
- Walmart opened its first international store in South America in the countries of Argentina and Brazil in 1995.
- The company entered Europe by opening its store in the United Kingdom in 1999.
- The company’s CEO was changed to H.Lee Scott in 2000. He was also the president of the company.
- The company got ranked among Fortune 500 companies in 2002 as America’s largest corporation.
- Walmart also entered Asia by investing in the Japanese market in Seiyu.
- The company had achieved the milestone of 6200 facilities and $312.4 bn in sales by 2005.
- The generic-drug subscription program of Walmart was launched in 2006.
- In 2007, the company launched its Site to Store service to facilitate customers purchasing online and picking up products in stores.
- Mike Duke was appointed as the CEO of Walmart in 2009. The company entered Chile in the same year by acquiring D&S SA. Yet another milestone of $400 bn annual sales was achieved in 2009.
- Walmart entered the Indian market in 2010 through a joint venture called Bharti Walmart. The company also took part in several humanitarian and environmental causes throughout the 2000s and 2010s.
- The company expanded and entered the South African market by acquiring Massmart Holdings Limited as a holding company with 51% stakes.
- The company celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012.
- The first store of Walmart was opened in the District of Colombia in 2013. Besides, the company also acquired Bharti Walmart Private Limited and Best Price Modern Wholesale cash and carry business in India in 2013.
- Mike Duke was replaced by Doug McMillon as the new CEO in 2014. In the same year, Greg Foran assumed the position of CEO and President of Walmart US.
- Walmart introduced its in-store payment method, Walmart Pay, which became very popular among customers in 2016.
- Walmart acquired Hayneedle, and Jet.com became part of Walmart Stores Inc. in 2016.
- Sam’s Club got a new president and CEO in 2017, and John Furner assumed the charge.
- The acquisition continued, and Walmart acquired ModCloth, Bonobos, Moosejaw, and Parcel in 2017.
- The company’s legal name was changed from Walmart Stores Inc. to Walmart Inc. in 2018.
- John Furner became President and CEO of Walmart US in 2019. The company also opened its first health center, InHome Delivery and free NextDay delivery in the year 2019.
- In 2020, COVID-19 took over everything, and Sam’s Club responded to the pandemic by turning their parking lots into testing centers. The company also contributed by sourcing PPE materials for frontline healthcare workers.
- The company launched its Walmart+ membership in 2020. Besides, the Grupo de Narvaez acquired Walmart Argentina.
- In 2021, Walmart sold its majority stakes in Seiyu to Rakuten and KKR. Walmart also completed the sale of the UK grocery chain Asda in 2021.
- Walmart celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2022.
Shareholders Of Walmart Stores Inc.
We will dig into the top shareholders of Walmart by segregating them into institutional and individual shareholders. For reference, we can say that the Walton family holds more than 50% equity stakes in the company. However, we will treat them individually and talk about the stakes of each family member.
The Walton family owns almost $190 bn, equivalent to 50% of the company’s stocks. Here are the main names from the Walton clan who have inherited the stocks of Walmart or purchased them from the market:
Jim C. Walton
Jim C. Walton is the youngest son of Sam Walton. Sam Walton worked on the company’s Board of Directors for over ten years. Now Jim C. Walton is leading the technology and eCommerce division of Walmart. He is also chairman of the Walton family-owned Arvest Bank. It’s the oldest bank in Arkansas and offers several banking services and investment services.
Jim Walton holds around 1.298 billion shares of the company. However, the individual equity percentage of the Walton clan has not been publicly declared.
Alice L. Walton
Alice L. Walton is also the daughter of the founder Sam Walton. She is the only daughter of the founder and one of the wealthiest women in America. Alice has 1.294 billion company shares in her ownership, and she hasn’t worked for the company, unlike her other siblings.
S. Robson Walton aka Rob is also the son of Sam Walton, and he has been working for the company since 1969. Rob remained chairman of the company’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2015. Robson Walton holds 1.291 billion shares of Walmart Inc., and his net worth is reported to be $61.8 bn.
Lukas Walton is the son of John Walton, co-founder of the company, and Sam Walton. She inherited the stakes in the company after the death of John Walton in 2005. He has received stakes equal to 3.8% of Walmart.
Here is the description of the major corporate shareholders of Walmart Inc:
John T. Walton Estate Trust
John T. Walton, son of Sam Walton, has also invested in the company through his John. T Estate Trust. The number of shares owned by the trust is one billion. The Wyoming-based company has all three children of Sam Walton as the cotrustees.
Vanguard Group Inc.
Vanguard Group Inc. has a portfolio of $6.2 trillion in global assets under management. The company holds almost 130.2 million shares of Walmart Inc. as per the proxy statement issued on September 29, 2022. This entitles the company to 4.9% outstanding equity stocks of Walmart.
BlackRock Inc. is also one of the major shareholders of Walmart Inc. It was established in 1998 and currently has a presence in 36 countries. According to the recent proxy statement, BlackRock holds 96.6 million shares of Walmart Inc. This entitles the company to 3.6% of Walmart’s total outstanding equity stocks.
State Street Corp.
State Street Corp owns 2.25% of Walmart’s outstanding stocks. The worth of shares held by State Street Corp is about $8.5 bn.
Geode Capital Management LLC
Geode Capital Management, LLC is a Boston-based investment management firm and owns 0.92% of Walmart stocks. The worth of the stocks owned by Geode Capital Management LLC is around $3.48 bn.
#1. Who owns Walmart right now?
Walton Family is the company’s major shareholder at present, with more than 50% of the stocks in their ownership.
#2. How much of Walmart is owned by China?
It’s just a rumor that China owns Walmart or a Chinese company has a holding share in the company.
#3. Who is the current CEO of Walmart?
Doug McMillon is the current CEO of Walmart Inc, and he has been holding the position since February 1, 2014.
#4. How many countries is Walmart in?
Walmart has over 10500 stores in 20 countries of the world.