Fortune 500: Walmart Sits on Top for Fifth Year in a Row

The annual Fortune 500 list published this week has Northwest Arkansas’ leading company right where it belongs.

Walmart took the No. 1 position once again, topping the list for the fifth consecutive year. The Northwest Arkansas company’s revenue last year was near $486 million.

Its growth over two decades is nothing short of remarkable. Walmart has tripled its revenue and doubled its number of employees since 2000, when its $166.8 million in revenue ranked No. 2 on the Fortune list behind General Motors.

Two other Northwest Arkansas companies — No. 82 Tyson Foods and No. 407 J.B. Hunt Transport Services — made this year’s list.

Tyson Foods in 2000 ranked No. 241 on the list with revenue of $7.3 billion. That’s now swelled to more than $36 billion.

J.B. Hunt first joined the Fortune 500 in 2013 at No. 485. It’s moved up on the list in every subsequent year.

The three companies that turned Northwest Arkansas into one of the world’s most important places for business.

What’s interesting is just how big those companies are on a national stage.

Consider these facts:

  • Walmart employs about the number of people (2.3 million) as the combined total of Kroger, Home Depot, Lowe’s, McDonald’s, Target, Walgreens and Starbucks.
  • Walmart’s 2016 revenue was $100 billion more than the total of the next five largest retailers: Costco, Home Depot, Target, Lowe’s and Best Buy.
  • Tyson Foods would be the largest company in Phoenix, Denver, Kansas City, Tampa, Miami and Orlando. Tyson Foods would rank second if it was in the Chicago metropolitan area.
  • The nation’s top four food, beverage and tobacco companies in terms of annual revenue are Pepsi, Archer Daniels Midland, Coca-Cola and Tyson Foods.
  • Just 12 transportation companies in the U.S. are bigger than J.B. Hunt.