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This Day In Market History: Sam Walton Opens The First Walmart

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This Day In Market History: Sam Walton Opens The First Walmart
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Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened?

On this day 56 years ago, Sam Walton opened the first Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT) store.

Where The Market Was

The Dow closed at 573.75. The S&P 500 traded at around 55.86. Today, the Dow is trading at 24,271.41 and the S&P 500 is trading at 2,718.37.

What Else Was Going On In The World?

In 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. The Beatles released their first single, “Love Me Do.” The average American's income was $5,556 per year.

Birth Of A Retail Giant

Sam Walton opened the original Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas. As any American knows, Walton had larger aspirations.

Within five years, the Walton family owned 24 stores that generated $12.7 million in annual sales. The family incorporated its retail chain as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in 1969 and went public at a price of $16.50 one year later.

A decade after the first Walmart opened, 51 stores generated a total of $78 million in sales in 1972. In 1980, Walmart reached another milestone, reporting $1 billion in annual sales for the first time.

Today, there are more than 4,700 Walmart stores and nearly 600 Sam’s Club locations globally. Even after 11 2-for-1 stock splits throughout the years, Walmart stock now trades at around $85 per share and the company has a market cap of $252.7 billion.

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Photo by Mike Kalasnik/Wikimedia. 

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