In 1962, Sam Walton, an Arkansas businessman, set up the very first Wal-Mart store (note the hyphenation in the original store name – something that was permanently dropped when the store re-branded in 2008). Walton had already had success with selling budget-priced retail items with his 'Walton's Five and Dime' and Walmart was a development and expansion of his original outlet. Five years after starting, there were 24 Wal-Mart stores in business with a collective turnover of $ 12m.
The store's phenomenal growth has continued and, in 2009, the conglomerate achieved the status of having the world's largest revenue for a public corporation at $ 408bn on which it made an operating profit of $ 14bn. The chain's other statistics are equally impressive. For example, there are 200 million customer transactions every week, it is estimated that one in three Americans will use Walmart on a weekly basis, and the stores employ over 2,000,000 people. There are shops in 15 countries with 8,600 outlets and 59 different names.
Despite the size of the conglomerate, the Walton family still has a very significant boardroom presence.
Walmart offer the following benefits to its staff:
Health and wellness benefits
There is illness protection, an eyewear program, and dental insurance. The company also offers life insurance, disability insurance, company contributions towards drugs and other pharmaceuticals, health reimbursements and a health savings account. If you need moral support, Walmart also provides round-the-clock nurse and counseling services, pregnancy support and even advice and support for those battling nicotine addiction.
Walmart will contribute up to 6% of your salary into a pension plan, there are paid personal days (for things like bereavement and jury duty), travel and entertainment discounts, a stock purchase plan, membership of Sam's Club a and a staff discount card which gives you 10% off.
If you are ambitious and want to make it to the top, or at least some way towards it, Walmart claim that about three-quarters of all staff, even those currently at very senior level, starting out working in a store. The company also says that it will offer the training and encouragement to take you all the way from the shop floor to the boardroom.
Characteristics that they say they look for in job applicants include an ability to motivation, good communications skills, an above average organizational talent and financial acumen. There is also an expectation that you will work towards having an in-depth knowledge of Walmart's range of products. With that in mind, before you go to an interview, it would make sense to swot up by browsing the Walmart website and reading up on current promotions and best-selling lines.