Wal-Mart tops Fortune 500 list
World's largest retailer edges out Exxon Mobil, marking the fifth time in the last six years it has claimed the No. 1 spot.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, reclaimed its spot as America's largest corporation on this year's Fortune 500 list, according to the most recent issue of Fortune Magazine.
The annual list, which ranks companies based on revenue, saw the Bentonville, Ark.-based firm edge out oil giant Exxon Mobil (Charts), which held the top spot in 2006.
This marks the fifth time in six years that Wal-Mart (Charts) has claimed the No. 1 spot.
Wal-Mart, which has struggled recently to grow its U.S. operations and attempted to reshape its image by offering more upscale items and organic food, raked in over $350 billion in sales and $11 billion in profits last year.
Helped by high energy prices, big oil firms fared particularly well this year, taking three of the top five spots this year, with Chevron and ConocoPhillips coming in at fourth and fifth place respectively.
Rounding out the top ten was General Motors (Charts) (No. 3), General Electric (Charts) (No. 6), Citigroup (Charts) (No. 8), Bank of America (No. 9) and American International Group (No. 10).
Last year, Fortune 500 firms, which cover a large swath of the U.S. economy including 31 non-public companies, earned a record $785 billion, up 29 percent from 2005.
"Put simply, American companies are enjoying the most sumptuously profitable period in the 500's 53-year history," said Shawn Tully, Fortune's editor at large.
"Virtually every conceivable force, from mild labor costs to a falling dollar to soaring productivity, has favored big companies."
The automotive sector was one of the few industries to lose money in 2006. That decline was particularly apparent as Ford Motor Co. fell out of the top five for the first time since the Fortune 500 ranking began in 1954.
US Airways Group experienced the biggest gain on this year's Fortune 500 list, climbing 208 spots to No. 216. Avis Budget Group was the biggest decliner, falling 291 spots to No. 405.
Other notable moves included the Internet search giant Google (Charts), which jumped 112 spots to No. 241, while IBM slipped to No. 15.
Revenues grew fastest in the securities industry, followed by oil and gas equipment; Internet services and retailing; commercial banks; and the engineering and construction sectors.
New York boasts the most Fortune 500 firms this year with 57 companies, while Texas and California took the No. 2 and 3 spots, with 45 and 22 headquarters respectively.
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