Walmart Remains Fortune 500's King, but it's J.B. Hunt that's Rising Fast

Walmart remains king of the Fortune 500, but it’s one of Northwest Arkansas’ other leading companies that’s rapidly rising up the annual list.

Fortune magazine put J.B. Hunt Transport Services at No. 354, moving the logistics company up 41 spots from a year ago. Top-ranked Walmart and No. 80 Tyson Foods held the same positions as last year.

The impressive growth of the three companies over decades turned Northwest Arkansas into one of the world’s most important places for business. 

“J.B. Hunt is taking on some of the biggest challenges in the industry while maintaining a tradition of providing safe, reliable transportation and logistics services,” said John Roberts, president and CEO of J.B. Hunt, in a press release. “Our inclusion in this year’s Fortune 500 list demonstrates our commitment to excellence and efficiency as we grow and expand to meet customer needs.”

J.B. Hunt’s 2018 revenue was $8.6 billion, a 19.8 percent increase from the previous year. It first arrived on the Fortune 500 list at No. 485 in 2013, and it’s moved up in every subsequent year.

Yet, it’s the gap on the list between Walmart and No. 2 Exxon-Mobil that’s most incredible about the Fortune 500 list. Exxon-Mobil’s mere $290 billion doesn’t hold a candle to the $514.4 billion received by Walmart in 2018. As Fortune editors noted in some of their online commentary, it doesn’t appear Walmart has much chance of moving back anytime soon.

Walmart, founded in 1962, topped the Fortune 500 for the seventh consecutive year. It’s held the top spot 15 times in all.

No. 80 Tyson Foods increased its revenue to $40.1 billion in 2018, a boost from $38.3 billion in 2017. Tyson Foods’ revenue ranks second among food production companies on the list.

In all, Arkansas has six Fortune 500 companies on the 2019 list: Walmart, Tyson Foods, No. 257 Murphy USA, J.B. Hunt, No. 458 Dillard’s and No. 493 Windstream Holdings.