Top 15 World’s Biggest Retail Giants

The retail industry is one of the biggest and arguably the most profitable industries in the world. The sector has grown the most among few other global sectors and has seen a revolution in recent times. From local corner shops in early 1900s which dominated the sales in cities at that time to the more recent e-commerce websites that similarly dominate the user’s web browser history, retail industry has come a long way in the past century.

Corner stores evolved into department stores which in turn developed into huge shopping malls that became the landmarks of major cities worldwide. The business of the retail industry has been growing steadily for a long time with the rising demands and population growth. So it was understandable that big players would enter the market and try to dominate so that they can make away with most portion of the wealth the industry had to offer.

Thus, we take a look at the major players in the retailing market, some of them a household name and some lesser known counterparts:

15. Woolworths Limited


Founded: 1924

Country of Origin: Australia

Revenue: $58.6 billion

The largest retailer in Australia and New Zealand, Woolsworths opened its first store as Woolworths Stupendous Bargain Basement in Sydney, with an initial capital of just £25,000 in 1924. Woolworths has been an innovative member of the retailing industry and was the first store in the world to use cash registers that print receipts for customers.

It currently operates in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and India and has approximately 1700 stores in Australia alone. The company operates through six segments: Australian Food and Liquor, New Zealand Supermarkets, BIG W, Hotels, Petrol and Home Improvement segments. It has a tie up with Tata to operate in India.

14. Groupe Auchan SA


Founded: 1961

Country of Origin: France

Revenue: $59.4 billion

Headquartered in Croix, France, Auchan operates in 12 countries worldwide. With a staggering presence in 3,051 locations across the globe it is definitely one of the world’s most widespread retailer. It operates a chain of supermarkets and hypermarkets selling a wide range of food and non-food items.

The company also boasts many own-label product brands and also operates a retail website and various features such as online ordering, pickup facility stores etc. It also provides interior design services and household products to its customers. It operates in Italy, India, Portugal, Spain,  Hungary, Poland, Luxembourg, Russia, Taiwan, China, Romania and Ukraine along with France.

13. Aeon Ltd.


Founded: 1758

Country of Origin: Japan

Revenue: $63.1 billion

The largest retailer in Asia, the company operates 1,182 supermarkets and 3,083 convenience stores across Asia. It operates in a total of 10 countries and has a huge presence in China and Malaysia.

It provides a host of services including apparel, footwear, department store, pharmacy, supermarkets, discount stores and home improvement stores. It serves a large consumer base in Asia and has opened a new unit called Aeon Agri Create Co, that would be helpful in growing vegetables for sale.

12. CVS Caremark Corp.


Founded: 1892

Country of Origin: United States

Revenue: $63.6 billion

The american retailer and health care company has more than 7,000 stores pharmacy and drug stores. Its retail pharmacy segment sells prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, seasonal merchandise, beauty products and cosmetics, greeting cards, and convenience foods.

The company operates 7,705 retail drugstores, 860 health care clinics, 17 onsite pharmacies and 24 retail specialty pharmacy stores. It operates in 43 states of the US and also in Puerto Rico.

11. Walgreen Co.


Founded: 1901

Country of Origin: United States

Revenue: $71.6 billion

The largest drug retailer in the US, it has more than 8,500 stores across US, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands and Guam. It provides pharmacy as well as consumer goods through its chain of stores and also runs a few online stores for its customers.

The company also sells household products, fresh foods and beauty products. It has also forayed in the areas such as laboratory monitoring, medication profile review and nutritional assessments. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the company also sold liqour when it was banned in US as a prescription drug and stocks tobacco in its inventory even now.

10. Target Corporation


Founded: 1902

Country of Origin: United States

Revenue: $71.9 billion

The second largest discount retailer in the US, Target is ranked 36th in the Fortune 500 list of companies. It operates in over 1700 locations in US and 127 locations in Canada. It sells a host of different merchandise and food products.

Target claims to sell high-quality mechandise at a lower price and thus attracts younger customers and is a very famous brand among consumers. It sells a variety of household products mostly FMCGs(Fast Moving Consumer Goods) and also a wide range of appliances, apparel and jewelry and accessories. Target is famously recognized by its logo.

9. Aldi Einkauf GmbH & Co. oHG


Founded: 1946

Country of Origin: Germany

Revenue: $73 billion

Aldi is another discount supermarket store chain which operates worldwide in 18 countries with over 9,000 stores to its name and is one of the world’s largets privately owned companies. Founded by two brothers, Karl and Theo Albrecht, Aldi is a household name in Germany and as much as 95% of some sections of the population is believed to shop at Aldi.

It was started as a small grocery shop by the mother of two brothers and now sells food, liqour, kichenware, electrical products etc on 3 continents. On an average, one store opens in Britain every week! Aldi also operates some mobile networks in Europe.

8. The Home Depot, Inc.


Founded: 1978

Country of Origin: United States

Revenue: $74.7 billion

Its a home improvement retailer and provides its customers with building materials, home improvement products, garden and lawn products along with services such as installation guides and consulting. It operate 2,263 stores across the US, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

The store operates from huge warehouse style buildings averaging 105,000 sq ft, with megastores operating in even larger facilities. Its online wing attracts as many as 120 million visitors annually. It houses many exclusive brands as well which sell their goods only through its warehouse style stores. It serves a lot of people associated with construction jobs, contractors, repairmen etc.

7. Metro AG


Founded: 1964

Country of Origin: Germany

Revenue: $85.8 billion

It is labelled as one of the most globalised retailer in the world and has the largest market share in the home market. It functions in 25 European countries, 5 Asian countries and in 1 country in Africa.

Hailing from Dusseldorf, Germany, it has 384 hypermarkets, 137 department stores, and 948 consumer electronics stores worldwide. The Company is also participates in real estate (Metro Properties), logistics (Metro Logistics), Information Technology (Metro Systems) and advertising services.

6. Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG


Founded: 1930

Country of Origin: Germany

Revenue: $87.2 billion

Lidl is another German giant in the retailing industry and a chief competitor of Aldi. Its a discount supermarket chain that operates globally and hails from Neckarsulm, Germany. Its presence is in over 20 countries and it has opened stores in excess of 9800.

Lidl is famous to follow the no-frills approach and provides its users with cartons of products that have come straight from the manufacturer thus also revealing their true price. These cartons are on display in its stores and consumers can directly pick up goods from them. It also runs a DVD rental business which is considered one of the cheapest.

5. Kroger Co.


Founded: 1883

Country of Origin: United States

Revenue: $96.6 billion

Kroger is an American retailer giant that currently and operates retail food and drug stores, multi-department stores, jewelry stores and convenience stores. It has numerous subsidiaries that allow it to operate worldwide. It is based in excess of 2,600 stores and is the twenty-third largest company in the world.

It was founded by Bernard Kroger with his life savings of just $372 as a grocery store back in 1883. It has partnered with multiple companies to form chains for food stores, department stores, jewelry stores etc. It also owns several manufacturing plants in the United States through which it can produce bakery products, grocery items etc.

4. Carrefour S.A.


Founded: 1958

Country of Origin: France

Revenue: $98.7 billion

Carrefour serves a huge number of consumers in countries like Argentina, Brazil, China, United Arab Emirates, Dominican Republic, Qatar and Saudi Arabia etc. It’s main market in Europe and it also serves some parts of North Africa and Asia. It has the largest chain of Hypermarkets – 1,452. It is situated in more than ten thousand locations worldwide.

Headquartered in Paris, it also houses many brands under its roof which include some department stores, convenience stores and discount stores. The company is particularly very famous for its different slogans over the years the most recent being “Low in price… but high in trust.”

3. Costco Wholesale Corporation


Founded: 1976

Country of Origin: United States

Revenue: $99.1 billion

It’s a one of a kind membership-only warehouse club. Though only a limited number of locations it still manages to be the second largest retailer in the United States. It presence is only in 8 other countries apart from the United States.

Costco aims to sell its products in bulk at a relatively low price. It is only open to members and their guests and American Express is the only accepted credit card. It also has a travel business, gas stations and pharmacies.

2. Tesco PLC


Founded: 1919

Country of Origin: England

Revenue: $101.2 billion

Started as a group of market stall by Jack Cohen in 1919, Tesco is now the grocery market leader in UK, Republic of Ireland, Malaysia and Thailand. It operates in 12 countries across Europe, Asia and North America. Its stores offer food, groceries, clothing and general merchandise.

It has approximately 7,300 stores across the globe and also an online store. It encompasses numerous brands under it which are diversified in their service providing food, communication, DVD rental services and much more.

1. Wal-mart Stores, Inc.


Founded: 1945

Country of Origin: United States

Revenue: $469.1 billion

And we’re here! The biggest of them all, Wal-mart!

Wal-mart was founded by Sam Walton in 1962 and now has operations in 27 countries with over 11,000 stores worldwide. It works with 55 different names in different countries partnering with other companies. It operates discount stores, supermarkets, supercenters, hypermarkets, restaurants, apparel stores, drug stores, and convenience stores, as well as various other retail websites, such as and

It’s headquarters are at Arkansas since 1962 and is occupied by a hardware store and an antique mall. The company is world’s largest corporation and the biggest private employer with over 2 million employees and yes, the largest retailer in the world!

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Ankit Rahate

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  • Greta

    Hi, thank you for the interest article. Which sources did you use for it?