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Up first is retail giant
WMT). Wal-Mart sells products to more than 200 million consumers each week, earning almost $470 billion in revenues across more than 10,000 stores. That earns the firm the crown of being the biggest retailer worldwide, a title that comes with considerable benefits. Even though WMT's mammoth size makes it more difficult to maneuver for growth, the firm has managed to keep slowly pushing its top-line numbers higher and higher each year.
Wal-Mart's model is built on price. The firm's scale gives it a unique amount of leverage over suppliers, many of which see WMT as their biggest -- or only -- customer. For that reason, the firm can command the lowest possible prices, and it can pass them onto customers. Even though competition is fierce, Wal-Mart's massive footprint and emphasis on bargain price tags should keep shoppers flowing in.
Not all of WMT's moves have been stellar. International operations have been a drag on earnings for around a decade, and margins have suffered from the intense competition seen here at home. That said, Wal-Mart's embrace of exclusive service revenue partnerships, like the Straight Talk Wireless brand it runs with Tracfone, makes a lot of economic sense in this market.
Don't expect Wal-Mart to get unseated from its throne anytime soon.