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Early Development of Wal-Mart Essay

Wal-Mart owes its early development to Sam Walton in the 1940’s. The Wal-Mart founder ushered his career in retailing right after earning a degree and graduating from the University of Missouri in Columbia. Retailing firms such as JC Penney and Sears were among the firms who sought the young Walton’s knack for the retailing industry. Eventually, Walton ended up working for JC Penney. Under the tutelage of James Cash Penney, Walton was assigned at one of the company’s flagship’s store in Des Moines, Iowa. During his tenure at J.C. Penney, Walton made salary of $2 on a monthly basis. In 1945, founded the would-be precursor of the Wal-Mart empire. Walton assumed the mantle of ownership of a Ben Franklin franchise in Newport, Arkansas from George Scharlott. Ben Franklin was a chain of variety stores managed by the reputable regional retailer – the Butler Brothers. Walton has aptly operated the franchise, increasing annual revenues from $80,000 to $225,000 in a span of 3 years. In the late 50’s, Walton refused to renew the lease in Newport, and relocated in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Walton acquired the property from Jim Dodson after reaching an agreement on the purchase price. Eventually, Walton made progress

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and wanted an expansion of his stores.

Walton purchased a store in Bentonville, Arkansas, which opened Walton’s outlets 5 and 10. The zenith of Ozark Mountain was the choice location for the main headquarters for Walton’s. In order to increase profit margins, Walton was practical enough to seek better deals from suppliers. Walton’s goal was to place a premium on clients’ savings instead of deliberately profiting from them. In tha early 60’s, Walton has 11 outlets, which was the model for most fledgling discount department store chains. Walton was more than adamant than prmoting his stores through expansion alone. Bob Bogle, Walton’s assistant, acted as advertising director and created the the purchase and maintenance of the Wal-Mart signage. Bogle was responsible for the store name “Wal-Mart” as well. In the late ’60’s, the proliferation of Wal-Mart stores mushroomed to 24 outlets; overwhelming the state of Arkansas and expanding Missouri and Oklahoma.  Eventually, Wal-Mart came up with an inter-store computer network in order to complement the order transactions and invoicing.

Early Development of J.C. Penney

In 1902, James Cash Penny together with William Henry McManus founded the retail firm known as J.C. Penney. Prior to being a retail firm, J.C. Penney started out as a dry goods business called The Golden Rule Store. Its flagship store is located inKemmerer, Wyoming, which still very much in operations at present. The main headquarters’ for J.C. Penney was relocated in Salt Lake City, Utah in order to be situated near railroads and banks in 1909. In 1914, it was relocated in Buffalo in order to make way for the transition of purchasing, financing, and transportation of goods. In 1917, the firm has 175 stores operating 22 states in the United States. J.C. Penney has set its sights on expanding as well; it acquired Crescent Corset Company in 1920. Crescent Corset was the firm’s first exclusively owned subsidiary. Eventually, J.C. Penney embarked on garment retailing as well, its oldest active trademark brand, Big Mac work clothes was launched in 1922. In 1924, Hamilton, Missouri was the landmark for the firm’s 500th store which happens to be James Cash Penney’s hometown. Gross sales have catapulted to $190,000,000 by opening the firms 1,000th store.

By 1956, J.C. Penney augmented its advertising campaign and public relation; spawning a bevy of advertisements in national publications such as Life Magazine. In the late ’50’s, J.C. Penney introduced the J.C. Penney credit cards. In the late ’60’s J.C. Penney embarked on discount merchandising upon the acquisition of The Treasury from the General Merchandise Company. In 1963, the firm launched its first full-line department stores. In the mid-60’s, J.C. Penney completed its range of outlets by opening an outlet in Honolulu, Hawaii. J.C. Penney stores feature restaurants, beauty salons, portrait studios,  appliances,sporting goods, garden merchandise auto parts and auto centers (J.C. Penney, 2006).


Trimble,V. (1990). Sam Walton: The Inside Story of America’s Richest Man, pp.46-64, Dutton.

        J.C. Penney. (2006). J.C. Penney Annual Report. Retrieved July 9, from             http://thomson.mobular.net/thomson/7/2411/2642/

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