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For the second year in a row, Bentonville-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. handily kept its top spot on Fortune magazine's list of the 500 largest companies in the United States.

Wal-Mart bested Exxon Mobil Corp., its rival for the No. 1 position on the 2014 list. It is Wal-Mart's 10th time at the No. 1 spot and the seventh time in the past decade. Since the list began in 1955, only three companies have held the No. 1 spot -- General Motors, Exxon and Wal-Mart.

The megaretailer reported revenue of $476.3 billion, up 1.5 percent with a profit of $16 billion, down 5.7 percent. This week the company holds its annual shareholders meeting in Northwest Arkansas.

Exxon ranked No. 2 and reported revenue of $407.7 billion, down 9.4 percent, with a profit of $32.6 billion, down 27.4 percent. Chevron, the nation's second-largest oil company, held on to its third-place ranking, with revenue of $220.4 billion, down 5.8 percent, and with a profit of $21.4 billion, down 18.2 percent.

The total combined revenue of the list was $12.21 trillion, up 1.2 percent, setting a record, and combined profits were $1.08 trillion, the first time the trillion-dollar mark was exceeded and also a record.

Marc Anthony Fusaro, associate professor of economics at the College of Business at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, said in an email that the list shows Wal-Mart is a powerhouse even among the nation's largest companies. Wal-Mart's revenue was $60 billion more than posted by second-place Exxon, double the sales of third-place Chevron and five times larger than second-place retailer Costco, No. 19 on the Fortune 500, Fusaro noted.

Companies on the list are ranked by total revenue for their respective 2013 fiscal years. The list includes companies incorporated in the U.S., that operate in the U.S. and file financial statements with a government agency. As a result, it features both publicly traded and some private companies.

Fusaro said the mix of private and public companies made the Fortune 500 noteworthy because other rankings that look at large companies tend to focus on market capitalization and therefore miss privately held businesses.

Among other Arkansas companies on the list, Tyson Foods Inc. held its rank at No. 93; Dillard's Inc. fell a few spots to No. 386; Windstream Holdings Inc. fell slightly in the rankings to 429; and J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. gained ground, moving up to No. 545.

Murphy Oil Corp. was ranked 104 last year but spun off its Murphy USA Inc. arm in late 2013. On the 2014 list, Murphy USA ranks No. 175, and Murphy Oil sits at 470. Both companies have headquarters in El Dorado.

In total, Arkansas companies on the list had revenues of $551 billion, and they employed more than 2.38 million people.

Springdale-based Tyson Foods, one of the world's largest meat producers, was unchanged on the list this year. It reported revenue of $34.5 billion, an increase of 3.6 percent with profit of $778 million, up 33.4 percent.

In a statement, Tyson spokesman Dan Fogleman said the company is proud of its place on the Fortune list.

Murphy USA made its first appearance on the list. It had revenue of $16.6 billion and a profit of $235 million. It was spun off from Murphy Oil last year and is made up of retail businesses such as gas stations. Murphy Oil now is an exploration and production company but remained on the list with revenue of $5.4 billion, down 81.3 percent with a profit of 1.1 billion, up 15.7 percent.

Retailer Dillard's was No. 386, down from 378 from the 2013 list. The Little Rock-based company had revenue of $6.7 billion, down less than 1 percent, and a profit of $324 million, down 3.7 percent.

Little Rock-based Windstream ranked No. 429, down from 414 the year earlier when the company made its first appearance on the list. The telecommunications company had revenue of $6 billion, down 2.7 percent, with a profit of $241 million.

J.B. Hunt gained ground, moving up to No. 545, from 586 in 2013, the first year the company made the top 500 list. The trucking and transportation company based in Lowell had revenue of $5.6 billion, an increase of 10.5 percent, and a profit of $342 million, up 10.3 percent.

At its shareholders meeting in April, CEO John Roberts said the company planned to move up in the rankings on the Fortune 500.

"It's a place we like to be and we're going north from there," Roberts told shareholders.

Information for this article was contributed by Chris Bahn of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

A Section on 06/04/2014

Print Headline: Wal-Mart again ranked largest U.S. company


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