Sam Walton: Changed the World of Merchandising (Titans of Fortune Article)

Sam Walton: Changed the World of Merchandising (Titans of Fortune Article)

by Daniel Alef
     
 
Biographical profile of Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart. Walton made his fortune by being unconventional. He built huge discount stores in rural areas instead of big cities, and offered the lowest-priced merchandise to customers. By converting thin margins into great bargains for shoppers, he brought an enormous volume of business to his operations. Ben Franklin's

Overview

Biographical profile of Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart. Walton made his fortune by being unconventional. He built huge discount stores in rural areas instead of big cities, and offered the lowest-priced merchandise to customers. By converting thin margins into great bargains for shoppers, he brought an enormous volume of business to his operations. Ben Franklin's adage, a penny saved is a penny earned, foreshadowed Walton's ethic and business dynamic to a T. At the time of his death, Wal-Mart's annual sales had grown to $43 billion and discount merchandising was the new American paradigm. Even in the recession beginning in December 2007, Wal-Mart was the only major American retailer to show increased sales. This success has not come without criticism. Wal-Mart's buying power makes it difficult or impossible for smaller local stores to compete. Some communities have opposed the opening of Wal-Mart stores in their area. However, Sam Walton's success is unquestionable and without parallel. Award-winning author and syndicated columnist Daniel Alef, who has written more than 300 biographical profiles of America's greatest tycoons, brings out the story of Walton and his remarkable life of ups, downs and achievements. [1,437-word Titans of Fortune article]

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608042821
Publisher:
Titans of Fortune Publishing
Publication date:
01/15/2009
Series:
Titans of Fortune
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
229 KB
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

According to Fortune magazine, in 2008 Carlos Selim Helu of Mexico had overtaken Bill Gates as the world's richest man with a net worth approaching $70 billion. But if Sam Walton were alive today -- he died in 1992 -- it would be no contest. He would stand a head above both Helu and Gates with a net worth well into the $80 billion range. He set up five trusts, each currently worth more than $16 billion.
Walton made his fortune by being unconventional. He built huge discount stores in rural areas instead of big cities, and offered the lowest-priced merchandise to customers. By converting thin margins into great bargains for shoppers, he brought an enormous volume of business to his operations.
Happy shoppers and high volume resulted in explosive growth and a giant enterprise, Wal-Mart Stores, with more than 6,750 centers worldwide and generating $93 billion in revenue -- in just three months!
Wal-Mart's success has not been without controversy. Although it now employs more than 1.9 million "associates," many part-time, more than a credible record of creating jobs, there is hostility between the company and unions. But the greatest criticism arises from its very success: low prices brought a flood of shoppers to Wal-Mart centers. In rural areas, family-run stores couldn't compete and perished. Their cost of goods sold was higher than the prices at which Wal-Mart sold the same merchandise to the public.
Walton focused on rural areas where prices were traditionally higher than in cities. This disparity in prices made it possible for Sears, Roebuck to become a giant catalog merchandiser by offering farmers and others living in small hamlets products at the same prices prevailing in the cities.
Walton was born on a farm in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, in 1918 and attended public school. When he was 13 he became an Eagle Scout, and after moving to Columbia, Mo., enrolled at Hickman High School, where he played football and baseball -- each team was a state champion. He wasn't a gifted athlete, but ascribed his success to being "totally competitive."

Meet the Author

Daniel Alef has written many articles, one law book, one historical anthology, Centennial Stories, and authored the award-winning historical novel, Pale Truth (MaxIt Publishing, 2000). Foreword Magazine named Pale Truth book of the year for general fiction in 2001 and the novel received many outstanding reviews including ones from Publishers Weekly and the American Library Association's Booklist. A sequel to Pale Truth, currently entitled Measured Swords, has just been completed. Titans of Fortune, biographical profiles of America's great moguls, men and women who had a profound impact on America and the World, began in April 2003. He is also a contributor to the recently released reference work: Gender and Women's Leadership pubished by Sage Publishing. Mr. Alef's experience as a lawyer, CEO of a public company, a rancher, and author, combined with his academic background-UCLA (B.S.), UCLA Law School (J.D.), the London School of Economics and Political Science (LL.M.), and Cambridge University (post-graduate studies)-gave him the perception to analyze the powerful titans and their achievements, and to place their lives and triumphs in a larger perspective. The Titans of Fortune series of articles appeared in several newspapers including the Lee Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, and became a weekly column in the Santa Barbara News Press. Mr. Alef also had a one-hour weekly radio show based on the Titans of Fortune column. He has appeared as a guest speaker and lecturer at various university, Rotary, and Kiwanis clubs, public libraries including San Francisco and Chicago, cruise ships, and at numerous historical societies across the nation. Mr. Alef serves on the Board of Trustees of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum and on the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Activities League. He is a black belt in judo and one of the head instructors of the University of California at Santa Barbara Judo Club. He currently lives with his family in Santa Barbara.

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