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Published: Thursday, 5/5/2011 - Updated: 4 years ago

Despite revenue drop, Walmart remains atop Fortune 500 list

Customers check out at a Wal-Mart store in Alexandria, Va. Customers check out at a Wal-Mart store in Alexandria, Va.

NEW YORK — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. remains atop the Fortune 500 list even as it struggled to keep its U.S. customers coming in the door.

The world’s largest retailer held onto the top spot for the second year in a row thanks to gains at its international stores. Revenue in the U.S. has dropped for seven straight quarters.

Fortune Magazine’s annual ranking, released Thursday, was filled with examples of how rising fuel prices are affecting the economy. Wal-Mart was followed by three largest American oil companies: Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips.

Two of the three Toledo area companies on the Fortune list move down in the rankings from a year earlier. 
Owens-Illinois Inc., a Perrysburg bottle maker, slipped to No. 345 in the new list with revenues last year of $6.8 billion and Owens Corning, a Toledo shingles and insulation maker, dropped to No. 448 with $5 billion in revenue. O-I ranked No. 322 a year ago with revenues of $7.1 billion and OC ranked No. 432 a year ago with revenues of $4.8 billion.
Dana Holding Corp., a Maumee automotive parts manufacturer, climbed this year to No. 376 with $6.1 billion in revenue. Last year it was No. 398 with $5.2 billion in revenue.

Fortune, which compiled its closely watched list based on revenue for 2010, said that America’s top companies profited by boosting productivity and cutting jobs. Like Wal-Mart, they also relied on growing operations overseas. The strategy helped them increase earnings 81 percent to $318 billion. That’s the third-largest combined profit gain in the list’s history.

“We’ve rarely seen such a stark gulf between the fortunes of the 500 and those of ordinary Americans,” editors of the list wrote.

Fannie Mae jumped from 81st last year to round out the top 5, though the rise was mostly due to new accounting rules and continued support from the federal government. The company also faces an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is looking into statements that former CEO Daniel Mudd made about the mortgage giant’s exposure to risky loans.

General Electric Co., Berkshire Hathaway Inc., General Motors Co., Bank of America Corp. and Ford Motor Corp. rounded out the top 10.

Ten companies cracked the list for the first time this year. Nineteen others, including Chrysler and Fidelity National Information Services, returned to the Fortune 500 this year.

The list now includes just one newspaper company, Gannett Co. Inc., at No. 415. A decade ago, five newspaper companies were among the top 500.

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