American and European companies dominate the ranks of the world's largest publicly traded retailers. Most are global companies with vast distribution networks and thousands of retail locations spanning the globe. While many of these companies operate retail websites, Amazon.com stands out as the only fully online retailer to make the list.
The companies are ranked according to sales figures reported in financial statements for the most recent fiscal year-end.
1. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) is the world's largest brick-and-mortar retailer by a substantial margin. The company reported worldwide revenue of $485.7 billion for its 2015 fiscal year, a year-over-year increase of about 2%. It operates 11,453 store locations in 27 countries. About $228 billion of its 2015 revenue, nearly 60% of the total, is attributed to operations in the United States. Most of the company's store locations worldwide operating under the Walmart brand. However, the company also operates a number of other retail chains, including Sam's Club membership warehouse stores around the world, ASDA stores in the United Kingdom, Bodega Aurrera stores in Mexico and Seiyu stores in Japan. As of December 2015, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has a market capitalization of about $194 billion.
2. Costco Wholesale Corporation
Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST) is a membership-only warehouse retail chain with operations in nine countries. The company reported worldwide revenue of $112.6 billion for the fiscal year 2014, including more than $2.4 billion in revenue attributed to annual customer membership fees. Year-on-year revenue growth amounted to about 7.1%. Costco operates 671 warehouse locations around the world, including 474 locations in the U.S. The company opened 30 new warehouse locations in 2014 and plans to open another 34 locations in 2015. As of December 2015, Costco has a market capitalization of $73.6 billion.
3. Kroger Company
Kroger Company (KR) is the third-largest retailer in the world by revenue and the largest grocery retailer in the U.S. It reported total sales of $108.5 billion for the fiscal year 2014, an increase of 10.2% over the prior year. Kroger operates 2,625 supermarkets and multi-department stores, which combine to make up 93% of company revenue. The company also operates 782 small-format convenience stores and 326 jewelry stores. It operates stores under more than 30 different brand names, including Kroger, Ralphs, Fry's, Fred Meyer, Food4Less, Littman Jewelers and QuikStop. Kroger has a market capitalization of $40.4 billion.
4. Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA) is a holding company formed during the merger of drugstore giants Walgreen Company and Alliance Boots at the close of 2014. For the fiscal year ending on Aug. 31, 2015, Walgreens Boots Alliance reported sales of $103.4 billion. However, this figure only includes sales arising from Alliance Boots operations after the merger was completed on Dec. 23, 2014. Consequently, true full-year results for the combined company are not yet available. The combined company operates more than 12,800 drugstore locations in 11 countries. It has a market capitalization of $92.2 billion.
5. Tesco PLC
Tesco PLC is a global grocery retailer headquartered in the U.K. For the fiscal year 2015, the company reported revenue of £62.3 billion excluding value-added tax (VAT), equivalent to approximately $101.3 billion at average exchange rates for the reporting period. This represents a 2% decline in revenue compared to the prior year, making Tesco one of only two companies on this list not experiencing sales growth. Tesco operates 6,814 stores in 11 countries. In addition to its grocery stores in the U.K. and Europe, Tesco has major operations in Thailand, Malaysia, India, and China. The company has a market capitalization of $19.9 billion.
6. Carrefour SA
France's Carrefour SA reported sales of €74.7 billion excluding VAT, equivalent to approximately $99.1 billion at average exchange rates for the period. Revenue growth amounted to 2.9% on the year. At the close of 2014, Carrefour had 10,860 store locations in 33 countries. It operates stores in a variety of formats, including small convenience stores, mid-size supermarkets and large-scale superstores offering both food and general merchandise. Carrefour opened or acquired a total of 1,128 new stores during the 2014 year, adding more than 650,000 square meters of retail space. The company has a market capitalization of about $22 billion.
7. Amazon.com, Inc.
Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) is the world's top online retailer. It reported sales of approximately $89 billion for the 2014 fiscal year, an increase of about 19.5% over the previous period. The company operates 14 country-specific retail websites and ships products to customers around the globe. About 62% of Amazon.com sales take place outside the U.S. Both domestic and international sales figures have shown continued fast growth in recent years. Sales of media products account for 25.3% of net sales, while electronics and other general merchandise account for about 68.4%. As of December 2015, Amazon.com has a market capitalization of $314 billion, the highest market cap of any company on this list by a substantial margin.
8. Metro Group AG
Germany's Metro Group is a European retail giant with far-flung operations in Russia, China, Japan, Thailand, Pakistan, and India. The company reported sales of €63 billion excluding VAT, equivalent to approximately $85.5 billion at average exchange rates for the period. Sales were down about 4% from the prior year. Metro Group operates 2,200 stores under several brands, including the warehouse retail chain, Metro Cash & Carry, which is responsible for more than 48% of the company's sales. Other Metro Group retail operations include the supermarket chain Real, the consumer electronics retailers Media Markt and Saturn, and the department store chain Galeria Kaufhof. Metro Group has a market capitalization of $9.9 billion.
9. The Home Depot, Inc.
Home Depot, Inc. (HD) is the world's biggest home-improvement retailer. It reported sales of $83.2 billion for the 2014 fiscal year, an increase of about 5.5% over the previous year. The company operates 2,273 stores in total, including 1,977 in the U.S. and its territories, and the remainder in Canada and Mexico. The Home Depot offers a variety of proprietary and exclusive brands in its stores, including Hampton Bay home products, Glacier Bay home fixtures, Vigoro lawn care products and Husky tools, among others. As of December 2015, The Home Depot has a market capitalization of just over $170 billion.
10. Target Corporation
Target Corporation (TGT) reported revenue of $72.6 billion for the fiscal year 2014, an increase of 1.9% over the prior year's results. Target is a big-box retailer with 1,790 stores across the U.S. In addition to its large-format stores, the company also operates eight CityTarget stores in an ongoing test phase. CityTarget locations are designed as small-format stores for densely populated urban areas. Further expansion in this segment is planned for the fiscal year 2015. Target has a market capitalization of $45.3 billion.