Special Report

18 American Companies That Control What You Buy

Chris Lange

Detailed Findings

Out of U.S. retailers, Walmart is not just as the largest publicly traded employer in the world, but also the highest grossing company in the world. Founded by Sam Walton, Walmart made its humble beginnings as a small discount store in 1945. Over time, with an aggressive expansion strategy, it has come to be the top dog.

Most retailers cannot claim the success that Walmart has achieved, and many, in fact, are falling to the wayside because they have failed to adapt and change with the industry. Stores like Sears and J.C. Penney have fallen on hard times, and management is facing some tough decisions. The root problem seems to be fairly obvious for most of the stores in decline — failure to adapt to the spread of e-commerce.

Retailers that have been more successful over the past few years have updated their model to rely more on e-commerce sales, or omnichannel. Although shoppers will never wholly abandon brick-and-mortar stores, they expect retailers to offer convenient online alternatives.

The antithesis of these retailers and perhaps the biggest thorn in their sides is Amazon. Retailers have lost more sales to Amazon than to each other. Though Amazon now has acquired brick-and-mortar locations in the form of Whole Foods, it offers a practically limitless online marketplace with prompt delivery. This is more than most retailers can offer.

While Amazon poses a formidable threat to the industry, brick-and-mortar stores will always have a place in the U.S. economy. As retailers continue to develop in their fight against Amazon, it seems that this will only benefit the consumer with more options to shop than ever before.


24/7 Wall St. ordered our list of major retailers by market cap as of June 19, 2018. We also included the retailers’ most recent fiscal year revenues, net income, and number of employees.