Small-Town Hit

"Give me a W!" shouts Sam Walton, 65, the chairman of Wal-Mart Stores, to employees at staff meetings. "Give me an A!" And so forth, down to the last T. Then he gives a final ringing cheer: "WalMart, we're No. 1!" Walton has plenty of reasons to shout. In April, sales at his 570 outlets were up 32% from the previous year. By comparison, Sears' revenues increased just 7.7%, K mart's by 5.5%, and J.C. Penney's were down 1.3%.

Thanks to a strategy of selling big in small-town stores and deep discounting, Wal-Mart is...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!