Strategic change in Wal Mart
Wal Mart Stores, Inc is a company based in the United States which operates the famous range of retail stores identified by the brand of Wal Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Clubs in America. It also has stores in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom. (Wal Mart Changes: 2005). The company is listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges. It has a significant on line presence through its web site www. walmart. com. This is supported by www. walmartfacts.
com which provides the details of management of the company. (Wal Mart Changes: 2005). Wal Mart is a typical US success story. Founded in 1962 as the vision of a single man, Sam Walton, the super stores today symbolize American entrepreneurship. Wal Mart has consistently been regarded as one of the best Fortune 500 companies in the United States over the years. This has been feasible because of the unflinching commitment of the management to the customer and its adaptability to a model of benign change, be it in technology or market trends.
Thus the Wal Mart Model bodes good reason for study. Wal Mart – The Super Store
Wal Mart was started as a small chain of variety stores by Sam Walton in Arkansas and Kansas. The birth of discount retailing in 1962 was the growth catalyst for Wal Mart. Sam Walton toured the country to study the model of discount retailing and adopted it to advantage which saw the emergence of this doyen of the retailing industry in the World in general and particularly in America. (Wal Mart Story: 2006). Wal Mart’s path of growth in the 1960’s was slow while its competitors as Kmart rapidly expanded.
It was only in 1970 with its listing on the New York Stock Exchange and infusion of capital that Wal Mart generated growth. Thus in the 1970’s the company had 276 stores with a presence in 11 states in the United States. The 1980’s was a period of rapid growth with sales of $ 1 billion in 1980, which expanded to $ 26 billion in 1989. (Wal Mart Story: 2006). The company branched into warehouse clubs with the first Sam’s Clubs formed in 1983. The Supercentre or a complete grocery department opened in 1988.
Technology too has had an important role to play in Wal Mart’s growth as it embraced information technology and modern management techniques readily and adapted it to the processes of retailing. The basic value of Wal Mart has been customer service. The aim being to provide the best service to the customer based on price differential. Wal Mart’s success has come about with constant efforts to change with the times and stay ahead rather than follow innovative trends in the market without losing focus on organizational development. (Wal Mart Story: 2006).