March 09, 2003
04:00 PM:

Fortune gushes over the largest, most respected, and most maligned company in the world: Wal-Mart.


  • There are no direct flights from New York City to Little Rock, but you can catch one of American Airlines' two daily nonstops from LaGuardia to Bentonville.
  • As for a supplier raising prices, good luck: In some cases Wal-Mart has been known simply to keep sending payment for the old amount.
  • Warren Buffet: "They have contributed to the financial well-being of the American public more than any institution I can think of."
  • Wal-Mart in 2003 is, in short, a lot like America in 2003: a sole superpower with a down-home twang.
  • Only ten years after launching its food business amid much guffawing, Wal-Mart is the world's biggest grocer, driving down prices an average of 13% in the markets it enters, according to a UBS Warburg study.
  • Wal-Mart's turnover is so rapid that 70% of its merchandise is rung up at the register before the company has paid for it.
  • Its truckers are trained to avoid deluded motorists who dream of a collision and a Wal-Mart-sized settlement.
  • Target had difficulty finding American flags on Sept. 12, 2001, because guess who had begun buying every flag it could the previous day.
  • 50% of women shoppers have an undeveloped roll of film in their purse.
  • Monopolists jack up prices. Wal-Mart lowers them--making it, in some instances, a more effective trustbuster than the trustbusters themselves.

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