The retail Industry of India changed with Big-Bazaar and has ever since been evolving. Thanks to the FDI, Indians are being introduced to Walmart. We know it as an idea or the entity as a whole, we see Walmart as a washed up sophisticated version of Big-bazaar. What is Walmart? Why are we scared of it? Why will it harm our economy? Will the kirana-wala’s survive it? If you wish an answer to these questions, this article focuses solely on how big Walmart is. The fun facts will give a chance to wrap your head around the magnanimous nature of Walmart and extent of its hold on the world.
The world’s second largest public corporation, the biggest private employer in the world, the largest retailer in the world is huge! Established in 1962, it has spread in over 8970 locations as of 2011. So lets get these numbers in some perspective and create the image which will blow your mind. When every location of Walmart is seen together as one unit it will cover around 900 million square feet, 34 miles of space. If that did not paint you a picture, here it is. Its 1.5 times the size of Manhattan or 135 Pentagons, 158 Vatican Cities. The parking lots together gives you area equivalent to Tampa, Florida.
When the revenue of the retail show is as huge as $444 billion, it can be considered as a nation in itself. So when the biggest retail stores revenue is seen as GDP, it crosses over the GDPs of Norway, Venezuela, United Arab Emirates to name a few. It is $20 billion more than that of Austria’s GDP. It would rank as 23rd country on the worlds index. Now that’s huge! One must admire the business acumen of the man behind it all and the technique with which he turned one store into a global phenomenon.
We know that Walmart is huge and economic-wise its strong. This can be achieved only when public allows it. 90% of USA lives in 15 miles of Walmart. The Walmart chain serves more than 200 million customers. The layout of the shop is similar everywhere. The positioning of items, the labeling of the isle and the discount sections are all arranged in a similar pattern in every Walmart. This gives the customers a sense of affinity and belonging for even in a different city, Walmart feels like home.
Chinese may have something to worry about and this is not US army or the Indian army or any country for that matter. If Walmart decides to have an army they will be second largest military in the world. The 2.1 million full time workers will outnumber the military of United states. If we put the number of active personals of Russia and North-Korea together the total Walmart military would be almost at par with it. So if Walmart rises tomorrow we are all in trouble.
What will you say when you get to know that the top selling commodity of the world can be 26th largest economy of the world and the can be 2nd largest army of the world is well, Bananas! In the year 2009, the largest retailer of the world sold more bananas than any other item. The extent of transportation and the total sale of banana by Walmart is sure to put any banana plantation guy in a good mood.
5. Monster is it ?
WalMart today is bigger than Home Depot, Kroger, Target, Sears, Costco, and K-Mart. It is bigger than all of those combined together. So we know its huge. For every 2 jobs provided by Walmart it takes three jobs away. Belief is it spoils the local business. Many cities have joined hands to boycott Walmart completely. So is it the haloed devil or the horned angel ? We may never know or pray to never know. People love Walmart for a reason and the local businesses have a sure-shot reason to worry.
So one corporation with a lot of money and lot of people can have a lot of problems. As it is with Walmart everything is huge and the problem is well king size. Sued as many as 4,851 times in mere 365 days. In 2000 Walmart was sued at least once every 2 hours. It has the lowest pay grade for its workers and hence is often in the line of fire for the social activists. The long hours are another reason for the employees disgruntlement. That is a lot of lawsuits. It is one corporation showered by large number of sex discrimination cases and it has been fighting them ever since.
3. Charity is not its strong suit
Sam Walton was the one who gave birth to this giant corporation. It was he who gave the world Walmart. A family owned business with 50% still under the Walton family. It is one of the words most valuable corporations. So when we put Walmart family with the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, we expect the philanthropy to be at par too. But the disappointment is here. When Bill Gate gives 48% of his net worth to charity, Warren buffet gives a whopping 78%, our hero of the day, the Walton family gives the world a mere 2% of their net worth. Maybe in future we can expect more.
2. Lucky CEO
As of 2010, the CEO of the company is minting money and how. The annual income of the CEO Michael Duke was $35 million. When we calculate this on hourly bases we know that he earns more in half hour than a full time employ does in his entire lifetime. we must say that it pays to be at the top of Walmart chains and pays well to be there.
1. Over the Moon
So when Walmart is huge the supply chain is huge and this huge supply chain is supported by astounding fleet of 8,000 truckers. This is the largest fleet maintained in the world and the miles they have on them is surprising. In the year 2010 they covered $712 million miles along themselves. This amounts to taking a round trip of the earth around the equator 28,600 times. This also amounts to traveling to the moon and back a 1500 times. The truckers of Walmart have been busy.
With all this information we can see Walmart to be what it is. Its more than an average retail shop. The magnitude of Walmart and the power it yields are all awe-inspiring. The method of operation has been a favorite subject of study for the B-schools all over the world. And the fascination is not ill founded for when the extent of control is this large, the acknowledgement of the top-notch player is expected.