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Which US company had the greatest revenues this year. Hint: Amazon was #2 and closing in fast.

By Chart R

Turning over?

The Fortune 500, Fortune magazine’s yearly ranking of America’s biggest companies by annual revenue, was released on Monday, with Walmart taking the top spot for the 11th year in a row after sales rose 6.6% to $611 billion in the last financial year.

However, that streak of dominating the index could soon come to an end, as online retail giant Amazon continues its campaign to close the gap on its brick-and-mortar counterpart. Also looking to challenge for the top spot are ExxonMobil — the last company other than Walmart to top the list back in 2012 — and the most valuable company in the world, Apple.

Most fortunate

The Fortune 500 list was first published in 1955, and it certainly looked a little different back then. The tech giants, health companies, and retailers of today are notably absent in the upper end of the rankings, with 1955’s list topped by General Motors alongside food makers, steel and electric firms, and oil companies (two of which are now nested under the ExxonMobil umbrella).

And the names at the top of the list will likely dramatically shift again in the next 70 years too — only 10 years ago, Walmart’s fiercest rival Amazon sat 51st on the Fortune 500. Indeed, even back in 2017’s edition, Bezos’s company was $350bn a year off the number 1 spot, but the 6 years since have proved how quickly the business landscape can change.

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