As of September 2015, the top five United States companies in the Fortune 500 listing are Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Berkshire Hathaway and Apple Incorporated. Exxon Mobil and Chevron are both in the petroleum refining business. Berkshire Hathaway dominates the insurance industry, and Apple computers and devices lead the field of technology. Wal-Mart, the only retail merchandising chain in the top five, leads the list with nearly three-billion dollars in annual revenue.
Wal-Mart operates nearly 4,000 stores in the United States, some of which double as distribution centers, allowing for faster deliveries across the country. The long-standing relationships Wal-Mart holds with its suppliers keep prices low and merchandise selections high. Offering selections in household goods, clothes, food, outdoor items and automotive services, Wal-Mart has topped the Fortune 500 list for two consecutive years. Problems Wal-Mart is facing include shoppers who are choosing to go elsewhere for healthier, fresher foods and low-income shoppers who cannot afford to buy beyond necessity.
At its inception in 1955, the Fortune 500 only ranked companies whose revenue came from energy, mining and manufacturing. The Fortune corporation simultaneously published a Fortune 50 list of the highest-grossing or asset-producing banks, utilities, transporters and retailers. Today, the Fortune 500 ranks the top revenue-grossing, public U.S. corporations, along with private companies whose annual revenues are made public.