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NEW YORK - With 2002 revenues of nearly $250 billion, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. topped the Fortune 500 ranking of the nation's largest companies for the second consecutive year.
Other supermarket retailers cited in the Fortune 500, which is based on annual revenues of publicly traded companies, include: The Kroger Co., ranked at No. 18; Costco, slotted at No. 33; Albertsons, Inc., at No. 35; Kmart, at No. 39; and Safeway, Inc., pegged at No. 41.
Wal-Mart maintained its top rank for the second straight year and Fortune editors speculated that the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer's global growth might help it secure the position permanently. With revenues increasing 12 percent to $246.5 billion, Wal-Mart amassed $60 billion more than runner-up General Motors Corp., which switched places this year with third-ranked Exxon Mobil Corp.
"Wal-Mart has done more than retain its title as king of the mountain. It is rewriting notions of how big corporations are supposed to behave," reads the magazine's introduction to the list.
Among the 36 newcomers was Starbucks Corp., which debuted as No. 465. The latest rankings are published in the April 14 edition of Fortune, which has compiled the list of the largest publicly held companies annually since 1955.