Wal-Mart shrugged off weak consumer spending to remain atop the 2008 Fortune 500 list, edging Exxon Mobil for the second straight year in...
NEW YORK — Wal-Mart shrugged off weak consumer spending to remain atop the 2008 Fortune 500 list, edging Exxon Mobil for the second straight year in the magazine’s annual ranking of the nation’s largest publicly traded companies.
Fortune compiled its list based on companies’ 2007 revenues. Wal-Mart raked in $378.8 billion in revenue last year, up 7.9 percent compared with 2006, and had $12.7 billion in profits, according to the list released Monday. The discount retailer has topped the list six times in the past seven years, having been unseated only by Exxon Mobil.
Though consumer spending fell sharply last year, Wal-Mart weathered the slowdown better than other retailers as shoppers have been trading down to cheaper stores amid a difficult economy, falling home values and increased unemployment.
Because the list is based on revenues rather than profits, Wal-Mart was able to come in ahead of Exxon Mobil, which was a close second with $372.8 billion but far outdistanced the retailer in earnings, with $40.6 billion. Exxon Mobil last topped the Fortune 500 list in 2006.
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Collectively, revenues for all companies listed reached $10.6 trillion last year, up 7.1 percent from 2006. However, profits dropped 17.8 percent over the same period, falling to $645.2 billion amid rising expenses, including the price of oil.
Skyrocketing energy prices also helped other oil producers claim several of this year’s top spots. ChevronTexaco moved up one place to No. 3 with $210.8 billion in revenue and $18.7 billion in profits. ConocoPhillips stayed at No. 5.
Declining U.S. auto sales battered General Motors, which fell one position to No. 4 on revenue of $182.3 billion and a loss of $38.7 billion.
General Electric came in sixth, followed by Ford in seventh place, Citigroup at No. 8 and Bank of America at No. 9. AT&T cracked the top 10, moving from No. 27 to 10th place.