Walmart and Target are two of the largest retailers in the United States. Both companies operate thousands of stores across the country and offer a wide selection of products including clothing, household items, electronics, groceries, and more. When looking at overall size and reach, Walmart is the undisputed bigger retailer. However, Target has its strengths as well. Let’s take a closer look at how Walmart and Target compare on key metrics.
Number of Stores
Walmart has over 10,500 stores worldwide, with 4,750 stores located in the United States. This includes 3,570 Supercenters that offer a full line of groceries in addition to general merchandise. Walmart also operates 597 Sam’s Club warehouse locations in the U.S. In comparison, Target has 1,926 stores in the United States all under the Target name. Target does not have an equivalent to Sam’s Club warehouses. Clearly, Walmart has a much larger physical retail presence overall.
|Company||Number of U.S. Stores|
In terms of total revenue, Walmart far exceeds Target. For fiscal year 2021, Walmart reported $559 billion in total revenue globally. In the U.S., Walmart had over $370 billion in sales for 2021. By comparison, Target had $106 billion in total revenue for 2021. So Walmart’s U.S. sales alone are over 3 times higher than Target’s global sales. The revenue gap highlights Walmart’s unmatched scale as the largest retailer in the world.
|Company||2021 Total Revenue|
|Walmart||$559 billion globally
$370 billion U.S.
|Target||$106 billion globally|
Looking at bottom line profitability, Target has an advantage over Walmart. In 2021, Target reported $6.9 billion in net profit with profit margins of 6.5%. Walmart had $13.7 billion in net profit globally but lower margins of 2.4%. So while Walmart makes more total profit in dollars, Target is generating higher profit margins on its sales. Target’s focus on owned brands, Black Friday deals, and omnichannel convenience have driven its profitability improvements in recent years.
|Company||2021 Net Profit||Profit Margins|
Both retailers have invested heavily in their e-commerce capabilities in recent years. For 2021, Walmart reported $77 billion in U.S. e-commerce sales, representing growth of 17% year-over-year. Walmart has leveraged its stores to enable online order pickup and returns. Target saw its digital sales grow even faster at 29% in 2021 to reach $25 billion globally. So Walmart edges out Target in total online sales dollars, but Target is growing e-commerce at a faster pace.
|Company||2021 Online Sales||YOY Growth|
Walmart and Target both offer broad product selections across categories like clothing, home goods, personal care, books, toys, electronics and more. However, there are some key differences in their merchandise mixes.
Walmart generates a majority of sales from grocery items and everyday basics. It aims to be a one-stop shop for total retail needs. Walmart offers value-priced goods and has a reputation for affordability. Its brand portfolio focuses on private labels to offer lower priced alternatives.
Target has put more emphasis on owned and exclusive brands to differentiate its merchandise. It has developed popular private labels like Threshold in home decor, Cat & Jack in kids clothing, and Goodfellow menswear. Target stocks more upscale and discretionary items versus Walmart’s everyday essentials. About one-fifth of Target’s sales come from its owned and exclusive brands.
Target also devotes more store space to its curated assortment of owned brands. The differentiated merchandising helps Target stand apart from Walmart and other discount retailers. However, Walmart’s vast selection still appeals to shoppers looking for one-stop convenience.
Key Merchandise Differences
- Walmart: broader assortment, especially in grocery; value pricing
- Target: trendier discretionary items; owned and exclusive brands
As public companies, we can also compare Walmart and Target based on their stock performance. Over the past 5 years, Walmart’s shares returned about 50% while Target’s returned around 130%. So Target has significantly outperformed Walmart in shareholder returns over this period.
Some key factors in Target’s stock run-up include:
- Higher profit margins from owned brands and e-commerce
- Well-executed store remodeling and expansion plans
- Omnichannel conveniences like in-store pickup and same-day delivery
However, Walmart remains a solid blue-chip stock with steady performance due to its consistent earnings and dividend growth. But Target has been gaining momentum with investors given its strategic wins.
In summary, Walmart is clearly the larger retailer in terms of physical stores, overall revenue, and product selection. Its massive scale and focus on low prices has made Walmart the #1 retailer worldwide. However, Target excels in certain areas like profit margins, e-commerce growth, owned brand success, and stock performance. Target generates less total sales but has positioned itself as a more differentiated shopping experience. Both retailers have strong loyalty among shoppers for convenience, value, and brand assortment.