Napoleon has nothing on Wal-Mart. Watch the discount mega-giant retailer take over the U.S. starting from the time Sam Walton opened the first store in Rogers, Arkansas in 1962, the same year Kmart and Target opened. The rest is history, as captured in this dynamic interactive U.S. map produced by the multimedia geniuses at Flowing Data.
Wal-Mart's rapid growth is shown with little green blips appearing on the map for each new location. By 2007, nearly the entire U.S. is green. Most of the stores spread rapidly and are mainly concentrated in the Southeast and Midwest.
According to the company's website, there are 7,390 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores that employ more than two million people and serve around 200 million customers a year. Wal-Mart has operations in Asia, Europe, and South America, proof that Sam Walton, if he were alive today, would be one of those rare individuals who could claim world domination.
The company's profits reached $1 billion in 1980 and grew to $26 billion in 1989. The sheer spread of these green little blips in this interactive tell the story best. It would have been funny if they instead used the Wal-Mart smiley faces. But to small Main Street businesses, the green stuff from "The Blob" might be more appropriate.
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