The Fortune 500 list has long been a who's who of the most influential and connected companies in the U.S., and while there will always be the same familiar names at the top of the list, the fast-moving pace of disruption in retail means that others are getting the chance to see their stars rise each and every year.
Unsurprisingly, Walmart managed to retain its top ranking on the Fortune 500 — the fourth year in a row the media outlet has dubbed the retail chain the largest company in the country. However, the title of most profitable goes not to Walmart but to Apple, which garnered the third spot on the list, up from number five the year before.
While Apple has to be happy with its modest gain in the rankings, it can't compare to the bump that Amazon enjoyed — going from number 29 in 2015 to number 18 now. The rapid rise was enough to pull Amazon ahead of companies like Walgreens Boots Alliance, HP, JPMorgan Chase and Microsoft, and recent news also has the eCommerce giant surpassing Facebook in stock market value — good enough for sixth-largest in the U.S.
No wonder some are saying that Amazon could capture the top spot on the Fortune 500 rankings as soon as 2020.
While Amazon, Walmart and a handful of other brands might have nowhere to look but up, the bottom of the Fortune 500 is another story entirely. Just breaking into the top 500 this year was Burlington Stores, with engineering and construction firm KBR missing the cut at the 501 position.