Wal-Mart did $191 billion in revenues last year. By 2011, analysts expect it to hit $450 billion. It has more than 4,600 stores open around the world right now; it is already the largest employer in many states – with more than a million employees globally.
Why are all these numbers important? Because Wal-Mart is more than corporation. In terms of population, revenues, and real estate – it’s a virtual country, and a wealthy country at that. And this country, by itself, is taking on the world. Years ago it was popular to accuse McDonald’s of doing the same thing, yet Wal-Mart has much more ambitous goals; it seeks to succeed at EVERYTHING – from clothing to car parts to groceries to DVD rentals.
Wal-Mart has conquered the U.S., but in order for it to hit its ever-ominous sales targets, it has to conquer the world. And each country is a whole new world of its own; I’m not so confident that Wal-Mart will succeed as quickly abroad as it has domestically. It has struggled in Germany as of late and it has yet to launch a Web site to support its Chinese operations. Yet Wal-Mart has the inertia of Microsoft; the only company that will likely stop Wal-Mart is Wal-Mart.