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NEW YORK - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is on pace to record more than $220 billion in revenue for the 2001 fiscal year, which would make it the world's largest company according to Fortune magazine's annual list, The Associated Press reports. Wal-Mart would replace oil giant ExxonMobil Corp., which reported $212.9 billion in revenue in 2001.
Analysts note that one of Wal-Mart's most impressive achievements is that a company that makes nothing would launch to the front of a list long dominated by blue-chip manufacturers.
"It's indicative that we've made a big shift in this country to a service economy," Warren Batts, professor of strategic management at the University of Chicago School of Business, told the AP. Service companies became part of the Fortune 500 only in 1995, according to the AP.
The worldwide economic slowdown also played a role in this year's results, Batts noted.
Wal-Mart reported $203.66 billion in sales through December. In January 2001, it reported $16.7 billion in sales. Conservatively assuming that Wal-Mart will have no sales growth in January 2002, its revenue for fiscal 2001 will surpass $220 billion.
The company's fiscal year ends Jan. 31 and it will report its financial performance for the fiscal year on Feb. 19.