Who says retailers with physical stores are hurting? For the fifth year in a row, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT), a company with an outsized physical store presence, has taken the top spot in Fortune magazine’s ranking of the top 500 companies.
The Arkansas-based company, which is also the world’s largest retailer, reported revenue of $485.8 billion final year. That figure is more than double the $223.6 billion revenue of moment-region company on the list, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK-A). With reported revenue of $215.6 billion, tech behemoth Apple Inc. (AAPL) rounded out the top three. Energy giant Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) dropped two places from final year to the fourth position, and pharma company McKesson Corporation (MCK) placed fifth. (See also: Fact Sheet: What Is the Fortune 500 List?)
In recent years, investor sentiment has turned bearish toward Wal-Mart’s future growth largely because the company has been late on the uptake as far as e-commerce is concerned. However, an outsized revenue is not a guarantee of overall profits. On an overall basis, Wal-Mart ranked 11th in profits. The top spot in that category was taken by Apple, which reported profits of $45.7 billion. (See also: Wal-Mart to Consolidate Buying Operations.)
Healthcare and pharma firms accounted for three of the top 10 largest companies in America, according to Fortune. Meanwhile, General Motors Company (GM) and Ford Motor Company (F) represented the automotive sector on the list. The tech sector, which has powered much of the S&P 500’s growth this year, had only one company – Apple – within the top ten. In a display of the margins and efficiency that are possible within the tech sector, Alphabet Inc. (GOOG) joined Apple among the top five most profitable companies. (See also: The Tech Bubble Will Burst: The Question Is When.)
A change in the presidential administration has also brought approximately a change in priorities for Fortune 500 companies. According to a survey conducted by the publication, the rapid pace of tech innovation has displaced the threat of increased regulation as the most urgent concern for American CEOs. (For a summary of final year’s list, check out Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobile and Apple Top the Fortune 500 List.)