But lately, the world's biggest retailer has become a lightning rod for critics who contend that it mistreats workers and that the company's low wages force employees to seek government aid in the form of Medicaid health insurance for the poor, food stamps and housing assistance.
Wal-Mart also faces the largest ever U.S. class-action lawsuit on charges that it discriminates against women in pay and promotions.
Last month, Wal-Mart said it was cooperating with a grand jury investigating whether [ex-Vice Chairman Tom] Coughlin misused company funds. Wal-Mart in March said that Coughlin resigned at the company's request over its probe into unauthorized use of corporate gift cards and personal reimbursements.
The Wall Street Journal said Coughlin may have used undocumented expense payments to finance anti-union activities."