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Walmart's Reign as America's Biggest Retailer Is Under Threat

Published by Slashdot on Thu, 16 May 2024

With Amazon on its heels, the nation's biggest company by revenue is hunting for ways to continue growing. From a report: For a decade, Walmart has reigned as the nation's biggest company by revenue. Its sales last year added up to $648 billion -- more than $1.2 million a minute. That status comes with benefits. It gives Walmart power in negotiations with product manufacturers and in dealing with government officials over policy issues. It's also a point of pride: Job postings often tout working at the "Fortune 1" company as a perk. Its reign is looking shaky lately [non-paywalled link]. If current sales trends persist, Amazon is likely to overtake Walmart soon. Amazon reported $575 billion in total revenue last year, up 12% from the previous year, compared with Walmart's revenue growth of 6%. Walmart's behemoth size means that to meet its own sales target of around 4% growth each year, the company has to find an additional $26 billion in sales this year. That's no easy task. About 90% of Americans already shop at the retailer. The pandemic and rising inflation boosted Walmart's revenue by $100 billion since 2019. It faces continued uncertainty in consumer confidence and while it's spending in some areas, it's pulling back in others. Earlier this week, Walmart told workers it would cut hundreds of corporate jobs and ask most remote workers to move to offices. While Amazon's and Walmart's businesses compete head on, there are big differences. Amazon earns much of its profit from non-retail operations such as cloud computing and advertising, while grabbing retail market share with fast shipping. Walmart gets the bulk of its sales and profits from U.S. stores, while growing side businesses like advertising and digital sales. Walmart executives are most wary of Amazon's ability to keep increasing profits through its non-retail business, while eating more of the retail landscape with ever-faster shipping and a bigger product selection, people familiar with the company said. Internally some executives are highlighting Walmart's role as a good corporate citizen and emphasizing that it's important to be the best at serving customers and workers, not just the biggest, say some of those people. Its scale can also have downsides, say some, like outsize attention on every misstep.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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