Wal-Mart Stores Inc. solidified its position atop the Fortune 500 list as the nation's need for affordable staples boosted the retailer's revenue in 2002.
Wal-Mart held the top spot for a second consecutive year and Fortune editors conjectured that the discount merchant's worldwide growth might help it secure the position permanently.
The magazine's annual rankings, based on publicly traded companies' revenues for the year, showed the usual trading of spots in the top 5. At No. 2, General Motors Corp. rose from No. 3, switching places with Exxon Mobil Corp., while Ford Motor Co. retained fourth place and General Electric Co. moved up one to fifth.
Enron Corp., the energy trader that made it to No. 5 in the previous list, dropped off after filing for bankruptcy protection.
Two financial powers were among the 2002 top 10. Citigroup moved up one spot to sixth, and American International Group gained three spots to ninth.
San Ramon, Calif.-based ChevronTexaco Corp. was seventh, IBM eighth and Verizon Communications Inc. 10th. Each moved up a spot from the 2001 list.
The list of the largest publicly held companies has been compiled annually since 1955 by the editors of Fortune. The latest rankings are published in the magazine's April 14 issue.
Profits for the 500 plunged 66% to a collective $69.6 billion after a record drop in 2001. The magazine's editors said the latest decline largely was caused by accounting changes, which have made many companies far more conservative in their financial reporting.
But the effects of the sluggish economy were nonetheless apparent -- aggregate revenue slid for only the sixth time in the list's 48-year history, down 6% to $6.95 trillion. Wal-Mart, however, saw its revenue increase 12% to $246.5 billion, $60 billion ahead of GM.
"Wal-Mart has done more than retain its title as king of the mountain. It is rewriting notions of how big corporations are supposed to behave," Fortune writes in its introduction to the list.
A retailer with a different demographic, tony Neiman Marcus Group, concluded the list, ranking No. 500 with revenue of $2.95 billion.
There were 53 California companies on the list, ranging from ChevronTexaco, with $92 billion in revenue, to No. 489, San Diego-based Qualcomm Corp., with $3 billion in revenue.
Among the 36 newcomers to the list was ubiquitous coffee purveyor Starbucks Corp., which arrived as No. 465.
The highest-ranked new company on the list was AT&T; Wireless Services, at No. 119. Other prominent newcomers were beer maker Adolph Coors Co., No. 422, and Ace Hardware, No. 490.
Among the notables joining Enron in departing the 500 was WorldCom Inc., the telecom giant that was 42nd in last year's rankings but has filed for bankruptcy protection.
One of the biggest jumps on the list was the result of the merger of Conoco and Phillips Petroleum, completed in August. The combined company, ConocoPhillips Inc., moved to No. 12 from Phillips' No. 81 ranking.
* (BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX) * California companies on the list
The following 53 California companies made the Fortune 500 ranking of the nation's largest companies compiled by Fortune magazine on the basis of 2002 revenue. *--* Rank Company Headquarters Revenue (billions) 7. ChevronTexaco San Ramon $92.043 14. Hewlett-Packard Palo Alto 56.588 20. McKesson San Francisco 50.006 41. Safeway Pleasanton 32.399 46. Wells Fargo San Francisco 28.473 58. Intel Santa Clara 26.764 61. Walt Disney Burbank 25.329 76. Ingram Micro Santa Ana 22.459 95. Cisco Systems San Jose 18.915 99. Northrop Grumman Los Angeles 17.837 103. WellPoint Health Networks Thousand Oaks 17.339 130. Gap San Francisco 14.455 136. Tenet Healthcare Santa Barbara 13.913 140. PG&E; San Francisco 13.784 155. Sun Microsystems Santa Clara 12.496 158. Solectron Milpitas 12.276 163. Edison International Rosemead 11.838 167. Computer Sciences El Segundo 11.426 170. PacifiCare Health Systems Cypress 11.157 185. Health Net Woodland Hills 10.202 186. Fluor Aliso Viejo 10.190 190. Oracle Redwood City 9.673 209. Countrywide Financial Calabasas 8.875 214. Sanmina-SCI San Jose 8.762 246. Calpine San Jose 7.551 252. Occidental Petroleum Los Angeles 7.429 288. Science Applications Intn'l San Diego 6.104 291. Sempra Energy San Diego 6.020 292. Agilent Technologies Palo Alto 6.010 300. Apple Computer Cupertino 5.742 305. Amgen Thousand Oaks 5.523 316. Unocal El Segundo 5.297 326. Fidelity National Financial Santa Barbara 5.083 327. Applied Materials Santa Clara 5.062 332. KB Home Los Angeles 5.031 337. Mattel El Segundo 4.885 347. CNF Palo Alto 4.762 351. First American Santa Ana 4.704 359. Jacobs Engineering Group Pasadena 4.556 364. Charles Schwab San Francisco 4.480 367. Longs Drug Stores Walnut Creek 4.426 371. Dole Food Westlake Village 4.392 384. Avery Dennison Pasadena 4.207 387. Gateway Poway 4.171 389. Levi Strauss San Francisco 4.137 393. Providian Financial San Francisco 4.073 394. Clorox Oakland 4.061 416. Hilton Hotels Beverly Hills 3.847 419. Pacific LifeCorp Newport Beach 3.816 421. Maxtor Milpitas 3.780 425. Golden West Financial Oakland 3.744 444. Ross Stores Newark 3.531 489. Qualcomm San Diego 3.040 *--*
Source: Associated Press