NEW YORK -- Sam Walton gagged at -- and then bragged about -- spending $24 million in the 1980s for the satellite communications system that facilitated Wal-Mart's becoming the world's fastest-growing and largest retailer. Today, Wal-Mart's $165 billion revenues and ever increasing profitability are credited to a technology arsenal that allows it to operate lean and mean with astounding supply chain efficiencies worldwide. Its technology investments, along with aggressive global expansion ...

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