Rank: 2 (Previous rank: 1)
Compare tool: Wal-Mart Stores vs. Top 10
CEO: Michael T. Duke
Address: 702 S.W. Eighth St.
Bentonville, AR 72716
Wal-Mart may have fallen to second place, but shareholders surely don't mind: Last year Wal-Mart boasted the seventh-best one-year stock return of any Fortune 500 company: 19.99%. (Dollar Tree had the highest return: 60.8%.) With credit-crunched consumers looking for bargains, Wal-Mart has emerged as a rare recession-buster -- consistently growing same-store sales at the expense of Target and other higher-priced rivals.
The biggest threat to Wal-Mart comes not from the economy or other retailers but from Congress: The union-backed "card check" bill, if passed, could lead to rapid unionization of Wal-Mart stores. - J.B.
Industry: General Merchandisers
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