According to the Harvard Business Journal, Wal-Mart's core competencies are buying power, supply chain management and logistical superiority. These core competencies allow Wal-Mart to sell their goods at lower prices than many of their competitors.
Wal-Mart received the top spot on the Fortune 500 list in 2014. According to Fortune, Wal-Mart's sales for the 2014 fiscal year were 473.1 billion dollars. How Stuff Works reports that one of the reasons Wal-Mart is so successful is because of its highly efficient supply chain.
Wal-Mart had an influential role in establishing the universal bar code. The company has effectively used the information from this bar code to improve their inventory management and streamline their supply chain. Additionally, Wal-Mart's tremendous size and purchasing power also give it tremendous leverage when it comes to negotiating prices with its suppliers.
Economists disagree about whether or not Wal-Mart helps or hurts the economy, according to How Stuff Works. Some economists feel that Wal-Mart helps the economy by offering lower prices on goods, thus making them more affordable, and by creating pressure on rival retailers to do the same. Other economists argue that Wal-Mart harms the economy by forcing competitors out of business and by moving jobs overseas to cut costs.