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1990s

America’s Top Retailer

1990

Walmart is now the nation's number-one retailer, with annual sales of $32.6 billion.

Bud's Warehouse Outlets

In the early 1990s, the company created a chain of more than 80 Bud’s Warehouse Outlets to sell refurbished name-brand appliances and furniture at deep discounts. The no-frills stores were usually in former Walmart or Sam’s Club buildings.

Apr. 1990

Let me express a few thoughts that come to mind today.... Read Letter

Walmart has become the meeting place for area residents in so many of our communities. And it’s our store associates - out there on the front line – who are working so hard to increase our customer base.

Sam Walton

May. 1990

Something Old Is New Again: The Wal-Mart Visitors... Read Letter

1990

New stores open in California, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Utah.

All of these things: in stock, SWAS, morale, etc. everything is contingent upon associates feeling good about themselves and enjoying their jobs so that they are taking care of our customers in the right way. If we don't achieve this, we'll have higher shrinkage, lower morale and disappointed customers.

Sam Walton

Don't be blinded by our own success, our status, our house or the number of cars we own. We've got to support each other and show concern for each other. Remember those wonderful associates in the stores who are doing the real job and how important they are to us all.

Sam Walton

We are the target of a lot of aggressive people out there. Why can't weattack our customers with customer service? Exceed their expectations inany way you can. It can be done, folks, but it's gonna' have to happen inHuntsville, AR, Miami, FL, and even now on the West coast. Our associates are our front line strategists.

Sam Walton

Little Known Sparks

In 1945, Sam opened his first Ben Franklin store in which Arkansas town?
Sam opened his first Ben Franklin store in Newport, Arkansas.

I would like to be remembered as a good friend … that's important. I have such a strong feeling for the folks in our company. They have meant so much to me.

Sam Walton

1990

Walmart buys the McLane Company, a leader in worldwide logistics and distribution.

Oct. 1990

Pleasing Our Customer Will Keep Profits High Dear... Read Letter

1990

The Walmart Visitor Center opens in Sam Walton's original 5&10, on the town square in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas.

1990

Bud's Warehouse, named for Bud Walton, opens as an outlet for close-outs and overstocked merchandise.

1990

Walmart buys its first Learjet, speeding visits between the Home Office and thousands of Walmart stores.

1990

Walmart Visitor Center, under construction.

1991

A Global Company

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1991

Through a joint venture with Cifra, a Mexican retail company, Walmart goes global and opens a Club Aurerra in Mexico City.

The undeniable cornerstone of Walmart's success can be traced back to our strong belief in the dignity of each individual. Our People Really Do Make a Difference!

Don Soderquist

1991

New stores open in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, including Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York.

Jun. 1991

Partners and good friends of 1991, as usual over this... Read Letter

Aug. 1991

The Importance of Integrity Dear Partners: I just had... Read Letter

1991

Sam's American Choice brand products are introduced.

1991

Walmart buys Western Merchandisers, Inc., of Amarillo, Texas.

Dec. 1991

Season’s Greetings and Merry Christmas I’m writing this... Read Letter

1991

Walmart introduces Rollback America, passing on savings from Walmart suppliers to customers.

1992

With the additions of Idaho, Montana, and Oregon, Walmart now has stores in 45 states.

Feb. 1992

Our Focus For ‘92 On this day after Christmas, I’m so... Read Letter

Little Known Sparks

In 1950, Sam opened what store in Bentonville, Arkansas?

Sam opened Walton's 5&10 in Bentonville in 1950.

1992

Expansion continues into Puerto Rico.

Made in America

In the last year of his life, while battling cancer, Sam Walton turned his attention to writing his story. Published in 1992, his book was an instant success. It was translated into numerous languages, and it circulated to readers around the world.

1992

Walmart deploys the Retail Link system to strengthen supplier partnerships. The system provides vendors with information on sales trends and inventory levels.

1992–2008

In 1992, Walmart replaced the hyphen with a star. This logo can still be seen on many of the North American storefronts as Walmart continues to transition hundreds of stores to the newest logo.

1992

The Presidential Medal of Freedom

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If we work together … we'll lower the cost of living for everyone. We'll give the world an opportunity to see what it's like to save and have a better life.

Sam Walton

1992

George H.W. Bush’s full speech honoring Sam with the Medal of Freedom.

Play Video

1992

President George H. W. Bush presents Sam with the Medal of Freedom. During his acceptance speech, Sam articulates the company's purpose of saving people money so they can live better. Sam calls the award "the highlight of our entire career."

1992

A Time to Remember

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Walmart's business is 75 percent people. Those wonderful associates out there … they're all mission-bound to take care of our customers.

Sam Walton

1992

On April 5, Sam Walton passes away at 74. Thousands mourn Sam's passing, yet his memory and ideals live on as inspiration to all.

1992

Rob Walton becomes Walmart's chairman of the board.

I can tell you this, though: after a lifetime of swimming upstream, I am convinced that one of the real secrets to Walmart’s phenomenal success has been that very tendency.

Sam Walton

1992

Sam's Rules for Building a Business

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This thing we've got going with our Company and our people is so gratifying to me that I find it very easy to be enthusiastic about our future and to be optimistic about what we can accomplish together.

Sam Walton

1992

Managing by Walking Around

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1992

The 10 Foot Rule

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1993

Walmart acquires 109 Pace Warehouse Clubs.

1993

Expansion continues into Alaska, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Washington; Walmart now has stores in 49 states.

Little Known Sparks

As what did Walmart employ Doug McMillon in 2014: Walmart’s CEO, CMO, or CFO?

Doug McMillon is Walmart's fifth and current CEO. He started with Walmart as an hourly summer associate in 1984.

1993

Walmart celebrates its first $1 billion sales week.

1993

The Walmart International Division is created to improve the company's ability to expand overseas.

1993

A prototype store designed to be environmentally friendly opens in Lawrence, Kansas.

Retailing is a battle ground - we're in a daily war for customers. Unless we stay aggressive, we too could become soft and fall like other companies.

Sam Walton

1994

Walmart buys 122 Woolco stores in Canada.

1994

The Code Adam missing-child program is implemented at all Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs. It is named in memory of Adam Walsh, who was abducted from a Florida shopping mall in 1981.

1995

Walmart Argentina starts its operations in 1995. The first supercenter is built in Avellaneda, Province of Buenos Aires.

1995

Walmart Brazil begins its operations in 1995 with two supercenters and three Sam's Clubs in the state of Sao Paulo.

1995

Walmart’s co-founder, James Lawrence “Bud” Walton (Sam Walton’s brother), passes away.

Little Known Sparks

How old was Sam Walton when he became an Eagle Scout: 13, 14, or 15?

At 13 years old, Sam became the youngest Eagle Scout in the state's history when he received the award for saving a boy from drowning.

1995

The Volunteerism Always Pays (VAP) program begins. When Walmart associates do volunteer work, Walmart matches their efforts with a contribution to the charity of their choice. By 2008, Walmart volunteer service hours exceed 1 million.

1995

Bentonville Home Office sign with a vintage 1990s company logo.

1995

With the addition of Vermont, Walmart has stores in all 50 states.

1995

At year's end, Walmart has 1,995 stores, 239 Supercenters, 433 Sam's Clubs, and 276 international stores, with annual sales of $93.6 billion. Walmart is 675,000 associates strong.

1996

Walmart opens its first stores in China.

1996

The Missing Children's Network is implemented; information about missing children is posted in all Walmart stores.

1996

Walmart makes Retail Link and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) available via the Internet and begins using the Internet as an application platform.

1996

Walmart and Sam's Club launch online stores.

1996

Brazil associates at a grand opening.

1997

Walmart is now the largest private employer in the United States, with 720,000 associates, plus 105,000 international associates.

1997

In Mexico, Walmart acquires the majority stake in Cifra.

1997

Walmart replaces Woolworth on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

1997

The company celebrates its first $100 billion sales year. Walmart serves 90 million customers per week worldwide.

1998

The company exceeds $100 million in annual charitable contributions.

1998

The Neighborhood Market concept is introduced with three stores in Arkansas. Neighborhood Markets are smaller than Supercenters and offer a quick and convenient shopping experience.

1998

Global expansion continues as Walmart enters Germany and South Korea.

1998

Grand-opening day at a Sam's Club in Mexico.

1999

Walmart is now the largest private employer in the world, with a total of 1,140,000 associates.

Little Known Sparks

When did Walmart become the largest private employer in the world: ’99, ’01, or ’05?
In 1999, Walmart became the largest private employer in the world.

1999

Hank Kaminsky, regionally known and celebrated sculptor, created three busts of Sam. One is at Walmart's Home Office, another is at the Sam Walton School of Business, and this one is displayed at The Walmart Museum. www.HankKaminsky.com

1999

The global biweekly newspaper Mass Market Retailers names Walmart Retailer of the Century.

1999

The 1999 Cone/Roper Report, an annual national survey of philanthropy and corporate citizenship, ranks Walmart America's number-one Corporate Citizen.

By the Numbers

Walmart closes the 1990s with 3,996 stores, including 463 Sam's Clubs and 1,004 international stores. There are 1.14 million associates. The company's annual sales reach $165 billion.

1999

Walmart acquires the chain ASDA (originally Associated Dairies and Farm Stores, Ltd.) in the United Kingdom.