Walmart is the largest company in America, based both on the number of employees and on revenue. Last year, its global sales were $559 billion. It has 5,342 locations in the United States, and well over a million employees here.
Walmart also has huge operations outside America. Its international sales last year were $121 billion. Most of its operations are in a few countries, which include Canada, China, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Its largest international market borders the United States to the south. Walmart opened Sam’s Club, one of its divisions, in Mexico City in 1991 which started its operations in the country. Its growth since then has been phenomenal.
Today, Walmart has 2,634 locations in Mexico and employs approximately 200,200 people. In 1997, it bought a majority of local retailer Cifra. It then changed that name to Walmart de México (WALMEX).
The largest Walmart brands in Mexico are Bodega Aurrera Express with 1,113 locations and Bodega Aurrera with 549. These are traditional discount stores. Walmart also has 287 of its Supercenters, and 164 of its members-only Sam’s Club. Finally, Walmart de México has a supermarket chain called Superama which has 95 locations.
Walmart also operates the Walmart Mexico Foundation, which it says focuses on “fighting hunger, sustainable communities, volunteerism and natural disaster relief.” The retailer has also tried to position itself in Mexico as environmentally friendly. Over 50% of its locations run on wind or “other clean energy sources.”
Many Americans know Walmart’s Mexico operations best because of a long New York Times expose published in 2012. It accused the company of driving growth through a large and elaborate series of bribes. Some of these were made to create zoning changes so Walmart could put stores in locations with heavy populations. The Times said the total sum of the bribes hit $24 million and indicated that people in Walmart’s most senior management were at least partially aware of the activities.
Base on its scale in Mexico, even if other large markets like China grow, none is likely to top the scope of Walmart’s operations in what is the southernmost nation in North America.