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Here are some stats and facts that capture Wal-Mart's size and scale.

  • 100 million: The number of people who shop at Wal-Mart's 3400 American stores every week.

  • 50 million: The amount of square footage Wal-Mart plans to add this year, including 50-55 new Wal-Mart stores, 220-230 new Supercenters, 35-40 new Sam's Club and 130-140 new international stores. [View a chart of Wal-Mart locations worldwide, as of Jan. 31, 2004.]

  • 1.2 million: The number of Wal-Mart associates in the U.S. Any full- or part-time Wal-Mart employee, up to and including the CEO, is considered an "associate," in Wal-Mart parlance. Internationally, Wal-Mart employs an additional 330,000 associates.

  • 600,000: The number of new employees Wal-Mart hires each year. The company's turnover rate is 44 percent -- close to the retail industry average.

  • 1979: The year Wal-Mart's sales first top $1 billion.

  • $256 billion : Wal-Mart's sales in 2003. In the words of Wal-Mart CFO Tom Schoewe, Wal-Mart's sales are equal to "one IBM, one Hewlett Packard, one Dell computer, one Microsoft and one Cisco System -- and oh, by the way, after that we got $2 billion left over."

  • 35: The number of Wal-Mart Supercenters in China.

  • $15 billion: The amount of Chinese products Wal-Mart estimates it imports each year; others suggest the number may be higher.

  • $120 billion: The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2003.

  • 8 percent: The amount of total U.S. retail sales, excluding automobiles, accounted for by Wal-Mart.

  • $9.98: The average full-time hourly wage for a Wal-Mart employee. The average full-time hourly wage in metro areas (defined as areas with a population of 50,000 or more) is $10.38. In some urban areas it is higher: $11.03 in Chicago, $11.08 in San Francisco, and $11.20 in Austin.