Wal-Mart remains largest global retailer, says survey

Wal-Mart Stores has remained the world's largest retailer, according to a new survey.

Wal-Mart Stores has remained the world's largest retailer, according to a new survey.

The US company increased its lead over second-placed French retailer Carrefour, with retail sales growth more than double the pace of its rival.

The 2008 Global Powers of Retail report, from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, in conjunction with STORES magazine, shows that total sales for the Top 250 rose to $3.25 trillion (€2.11 trillion) in fiscal 2006, up 8% from the previous year.

Ten of the top 50 global retailers have a presence in Ireland. These include Tesco (number four), Schwarz (Lidl) (ten), Aldi (11), TJX Cos (TK Maxx) (42), Marks and Spencer (43), Kingfisher (B&Q) (44), Gap (45), Baugur Group (47), Office Depot Inc (48) and DSG International (49).

In total, 28 of the top 250 retailers have a presence in Ireland.

Globally, only 36 retailers saw declining sales in 2006, compared with 49 in 2005.

According to the report, the average net profit for the group (based on available figures from 187 companies) was 3.6%, a small increase from 3.5% the previous year.

Just seven of the 187 companies reported a net loss in 2006, compared with 15 of 188 companies in 2005.

The big mover was Tesco, which overtook German retail giant Metro AG to take fourth place, the first movement among the top five since 2003.

In doing so, Tesco also became the second largest retailer in Europe and is gaining ground on Carrefour.

During the past decade, Tesco has rapidly climbed the Global Powers of Retail list. In 1996, the company was ranked 18th and by 2001 it had reached 13th.

Between 2001 and 2006, Tesco achieved the fastest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of any of the current Top 10 retailers in 2006 and continued its ascent into the Top Five.

Susan Birrell, consumer business partner with Deloitte Ireland said: "The Top 10 retailers' share of Top 250 combined sales continued to inch up.

"With combined sales of $978.5bn (€638.1bn) in fiscal 2006, the world's 10 largest retailers accounted for 30.1% of Top 250 sales, compared with 29.4% in 2005.

"Indeed, the 10th largest retailer, Schwarz, is growing at a faster rate than its closest rival, Aldi GmbH & Co., meaning the gap between the Top 10 and the rest is widening."

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