AN INSPIRATION FOR RETAILERS: SAM WALTON
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One of the most influential pioneers of the retail industry was an American Businessman called Sam Walton. He founded the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. which grew to be the world’s largest corporation by revenue as well as the biggest private employer in the world. Founded in 1962, today the company has thousands of stores all over the world. Sam Walton had spent years in the retail management business before opening the first Wal-Mart store. Born into a humble farming family in the late 1910s, he grew up during the Great Depression when not just his own family, but everyone else around him struggled to make ends meet. Still a young boy, he took up a variety of jobs like selling of old magazine subscriptions and delivering newspapers. He also milked the family cow, bottled the surplus and sold it to customers; all these in order to contribute to his family’s income and this taught him the value of hard work and determination at a young age. This also showed that he had the spirit and will in him already to become a successful retailer.
He attended the University of Missouri and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics. After working for a while at J. C. Penney, he went on to serve in the army during the war years before venturing into the retail management business. He took over management of his first variety store when he purchased a Ben Franklin variety store in Newport, Arkansas. Eventually, he opened the first Wal-Mart store in 1962 which has now grown to include over 11,000 stores in 28 countries.
The company went public in 1970 and the first stock was sold at $16.50 per share. By 1972, Wal-Mart was listed on the New York Stock Exchange (WMT). By 1980, the company had reached $1 billion in annual sales. Ever the innovator, Sam Walton launched the first Sam's Club in the 1980s to serve small businesses and individuals. During the same decade, the first Wal-Mart Supercenter was also opened, combining a supermarket with general merchandise to provide one-stop shopping convenience.
Wal-Mart enjoyed continued success in the years to come and by the early 1990s, the company’s stock worth had surged to $45 billion. Wal-Mart became the nation’s largest retailer in 1991, surpassing even Sears, Roebuck & Company.
He had a strong belief in giving back to the society. The Walmart Foundation was established in 1979 to contribute to the underprivileged, focusing on the core areas of opportunity, sustainability, and community. Along with his wife, he supported various charitable causes and was active in the First Presbyterian Church in Bentonville where he served as a Ruling Elder and a Sunday School teacher. He also made considerable financial contributions to the church.
From 1982 to 1988, ‘Forbes’ magazine named Walton the wealthiest man in the United States. In 1992, Sam Walton was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, by President George H. W. Bush and hailed as "an American original" who "embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and epitomizes the American dream." In 1998, Walton was included in Time's list of 100 most influential people of the 20th Century.
Walton had stepped down as CEO in 1988 but remained active in the company until his death in 1992.
He definitely built an empire. You can leave a comment below on what you think!
Article Title-Sam Walton Biography
Author - Editors, TheFamousPeople.com