Wal-Mart: An International “Superstar” Fails In Germany

The first Wal-Mart store was established in Rogers, Arkansas in 1962. The first Sam’s Club came into existence in 1983. The first international store was purchased in Mexico in 1991. Today, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club possess more than 4400 stores in the United States. Additionally, Wal-Mart has more than 5200 stores and located in 27 countries. Wal-Mart seems to have the “Midas Touch” in everything it does; it was a complete disaster in Germany.

On March 29, 1918, Sam Moore Walton was born to Thomas and Nancy Walton. He had a younger brother named Bud. During the Great Depression, Sam helped to increase the family income by delivering newspapers. In 1936, he graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in economics. He worked his first full time job as a management trainee at JC Penny’s in 1940. He married Helen Robson in 1943. She had a degree in finance and her father ran a flourishing business. Sam and Helen had a knack for business. In 1945, Sam along with his brother Bud borrowed $25,000 from his father-in law to purchase a five and dime store named Ben Franklin in Newport, Arkansas. He had very little knowledge in running a business. He learned ways to lower costs and how to keep the customers happy. In 1950, the landlord would not renew the contract and Walton was forced to move his business to Bentonville, Arkansas. Later, this would be Wal-Mart headquarters. Sam and Bud owned nine Ben Franklin franchises between them.

Walton began having concerns about the outlook of the five and dime stores. He began observing larger chains such as K-Mart. Those larger chains of retail favored suburban or urban sites eluded the rural areas. In 1962, Walton transformed his five and dime store into the first Wal...

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