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Data Analysis of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Essay by   •  June 26, 2011  •  Case Study  •  1,863 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,722 Views

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DATA ANALYSIS OF

WAL-MART STORES, INC

COMPANY BACKGROUND

Wal-Mart initially began its operations in 1945, when Sam Walton leased a �Ben Franklin’ franchise variety store in Newport, Arkansas. After relocating to Rogers, Arkansas in the early 1950s, Sam Walton’s �Ben Franklin’ became �Walton’s 5 & 10’. By 1962, Walton found himself the chain owner of 11 different Walton’s stores across Arkansas. He then decided to rename the chain �Wal-Mart’, after himself. On October 31, 1969, after further expansion across the state, the chain was incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Three years later, Wal-Mart was approved and listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

In April 1983, the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. opened its first Sam's Club store, a membership-based discount warehouse club, in Midwest City, Oklahoma. In 1985, their stock was being traded on the Pacific Stock Exchange (PSE). By the company's 25th anniversary, in 1987, there were 1,198 stores nationwide, employing 200,000 associates, with sales of $15.9 billion. In February 1988, Sam Walton stepped down as the CEO of Wal-Mart, and was succeeded by David Glass. The same year, the first Wal-Mart Supercenter was opened in Washington, Missouri. The supercenter contained everything found in a regular Wal-Mart discount store, along with a tire and oil change shop; optical center; photo processing lab & portrait studio; and numerous small outlets like banks, cellular phone stores, hair & nail salons, video rental stores, and several fast food restaurants.

Wal-Mart was able to enter the international market by opening Club Aurrera in Mexico City in 1991 and a Wal-Mart store in Puerto Rico the following year. On April 5, 1992, Sam Walton passed away, and was succeeded by his eldest son, S. Robson Walton, as Chairman of the corporate board of directors. In 1996, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE). The following year, the company replaced Woolworth on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Also, this same year, the company had its first $100 billion sales year, with sales totaling $118.1 billion.

By 1997, the company was the top employer in the United States, employing 680,000 associates. In 1998, Wal-Mart launched its Wal-Mart Television Network вЂ" an in-store advertising network showing commercials for products sold in the stores, trailers for upcoming movie releases, and news updates. By 1999, Wal-Mart employed 1,140,000 associates; making them the largest private employer in the world.

Wal-Mart now operates retail stores around the globe in three different facets: Wal-Mart Stores, Sam's Club, and International. The Wal-Mart Stores include supercenters, discount stores, and neighborhood markets in the United States, as well as walmart.com. This segment offers general merchandise, including apparel, domestics, grocery merchandise, fabrics & notions, stationery & books, shoes, housewares, hardware, electronics, home furnishings, small appliances, automotive accessories, horticulture & accessories, sporting goods, toys, pet food & pet accessories, cellular phones & service plan contracts, and financial services & products.

The Sam's Club includes the warehouse membership clubs in the United States, as well as samsclub.com. These stores primarily provide hardgoods, softgoods, economy-size grocery items, and selected private-label items under the Member's Mark, Bakers & Chefs, and Sam’s Club brands. The International segment includes various retail stores and restaurants, including discount stores, supercenters, and Sam's Clubs that operate outside of the US.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates in the Discount, Variety Store market, and remains the leading firm of that industry. Its main competitors are: Target Corp., Costco Wholesale Corp., Family Dollar Stores Inc., Dollar Tree Stores Inc. and BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. The latest reports indicate that Wal-Mart is fighting 38 different state and federal lawsuits filed by hourly workers in 30 states, accusing the company of forcing them to work long hours off the clock. Two years ago, Wal-Mart settled a similar suit in Colorado, reportedly for $50 million.

Although its policy prohibits off-the-clock work, Wal-Mart has created a system of rewards and punishments that seem to give managers strong incentives to demand such work. According to one policy, described in a deposition by a senior payroll executive, store managers are ordered to keep payroll costs below a target set by headquarters for every store. If a store misses its target, the manager faces a reprimand, and sometimes demotion or dismissal. Another incentive Wal-Mart gives store managers to squeeze down labor costs is pegging annual bonuses to the profits of individual stores, a system that is rare amongst big retailers.

OBJECTIVE OF STUDY

For this study, I will record the daily closing stock prices for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. between the dates of December 3, 2007 and January 31, 2008. I will then use Microsoft Excel to carry out several calculations using this data, in order to find such statistical measures as the mean, median, sample variance and standard deviation. I will then use the resulting figures to compare Wal-Mart’s stock performance in December 2007 to its performance in January 2008. I am carrying out this study in order to prove that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. had an equal mean of stock performance for the months of December 2007 and January 2008.

DESCRIPTION OF DATA

The data used in this study are the 41 closing stock prices for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. between the dates of December 3, 2007 and January 31, 2008. I will separate the 41 values by month; with 20 closing prices recorded for December, and 21 recorded for January. Using these two data sets alone, I will be able to calculate the following statistical measures:

The MEAN вЂ" This is the only common measure where all the values in a data set play an equal role. It is calculated by adding together all the values in a data set, then dividing the sum of the values by the number of values present in the data set.

The MEDIAN вЂ" This is the value that divides a ranked set of data into two equal parts. To calculate the median, the values of a data set must

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