Wal-Mart Tops Fortune 500

First published in 1955 by Fortune magazine, the Fortune 500 ranks the top 500 privately held and publicly traded companies in the United States by gross revenue. Created by Fortune editor Edgar P. Smith, the report only lists companies that make their revenues publicly available, and gross revenue excludes excise taxes incurred by individual companies. In addition to the Fortune 500 list, Fortune magazine also compiles the Fortune Global 500, Fortune India 500, 40 under 40, and Fortune 500 Computer Software and Information Companies. Initially the Fortune 500 was restricted to companies in the manufacturing, mining and energy exploration sectors, but in 1994 the magazine included service companies, resulting in 291 new entrants on the list, three of which were counted in the Top 10 – Wal-Mart Stores Inc., AT&T Corp., and Sears, Roebuck & Co.

The 2014 Fortune 500 saw Wal-Mart Stores retain its #1 spot for the second successive year with net sales totaling $473.1 billion, reflecting a 1.6% increase over the previous year. It was reported that Wal-Mart’s domestic revenue was negatively impacted by reductions in the food stamp program and expiration of a payroll tax cut. Future plans for Wall-Mart include opening more small stores to compete with existing grocery stores and drugstores.

Exxon Mobil retained its #2 spot on the list, with total revenue dropping 8.8 percent to $438.26 billion. Capital and exploration expenditure climbed, while oil production declined in 2013 and Exxon Mobil’s net income plunged by 27%. Upcoming ventures include deep-water oil extraction in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as a liquefied natural gas project in Papua New Guinea.

At #3 on the list is the second-largest US oil company, Chevron, with $228.9 billion total revenue. Multinational conglomerate holding company Berkshire Hathaway was placed at #4 with revenues of $182.1 billion. The rest of the Top Ten on the list (in order) are Apple, Phillips 66, General Motors, Ford Motor Co., General Electric and Valero Energy.