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Top 10 American Mega Franchises

Josh S . . . Comments

While these are all iconic institutions in America, they are not all American owned any longer (as you can see in our Top 10 American Icons that are not American). This is a list of the ten top mega-franchises – the biggest of the big!




Costco is the largest membership warehouse club chain in the world based on sales volume, headquartered in Issaquah, Washington, United States and founded in Kirkland, Washington, with its flagship warehouse in nearby Seattle. Costco’s Canadian operations are based in Ottawa, Ontario. It is the fourth biggest general retailer in the United States.


K Mart


As of January 28, 2006, Kmart operated a total of 1,416 Kmart stores across 49 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This store count included 1,361 discount stores, averaging 92,000 square feet, and 55 Super Centers, averaging 165,000 square feet. Kmart’s world headquarters was located in Troy, Michigan, in a sprawling complex which, since Kmart’s relocation to Illinois, has been slated for demolition. Kmart became known for its “Blue Light Specials.” They occurred at surprise moments when a store worker would light up a mobile police light and offer a discount in a specific department of the store.



Target Store-Jj-001

Target is an American retailing company that was founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1902 under the name of Dayton Dry Goods Company. In 1962, the first Target store opened in Roseville, Minnesota, and in 2000 the company changed its name from Dayton Hudson to Target. It is the fifth largest retailer by sales revenue in the United States.




Kroger is an American retail supermarket chain and parent company, founded by Bernard Henry Kroger in 1883 in Cincinnati, Ohio. It reported over US$70 billion in sales during fiscal year 2008 and is currently the second-largest grocery retailer in the country by volume and third-place general retailer in the country.




Lowe’s is a US-based chain of retail home improvement and appliance stores. Founded in 1946 in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, the chain now serves over 14+ million customers a week in its 1,555 stores in every state and Canada. With the opening of the South Burlington, Vermont location, Lowe’s now operates stores in all 50 states. Expansion into Canada began in 2007, with the opening of a store in Hamilton, Ontario. Lowe’s Companies, Inc. is 48 on the Fortune 500 list. As of 2008, the chain is based in Mooresville, North Carolina, about 30 minutes north of uptown Charlotte. Lowe’s is the second-largest hardware chain in the U.S. behind The Home Depot and ahead of Menards.


Best Buy

Best Buy

Best Buy is the largest specialty retailer of consumer electronics in the United States and Canada, accounting for 21% of the market. The company’s subsidiaries include Geek Squad, Magnolia Audio Video, Pacific Sales, and, in Canada the Best Buy Canada subsidiary operates most stores under the Future Shop label. Together these operate more than 1,150 stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, China, Mexico and Turkey. The company’s corporate headquarters are located in Richfield, Minnesota, USA. On June 26, 2007, Best Buy announced a 40% increase in its operations, with plans to operate more than 1,800 stores worldwide, including 1,400 Best Buy stores in the U.S.


Coca-Cola Company


The Coca-Cola company is the world’s largest beverage company, largest manufacturer, distributor and marketer of non-alcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups in the world, and one of the largest corporations in the United States. The company is best known for its flagship product Coca-Cola, invented by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton in 1886. The Coca-Cola formula and brand was bought in 1889 by Asa Candler who incorporated The Coca-Cola Company in 1892. Besides its namesake Coca-Cola beverage, Coca-Cola currently offers nearly 400 brands in over 200 countries or territories and serves 1.5 billion servings each day. The company operates a franchised distribution system dating back to 1889 where The Coca-Cola Company only produces syrup concentrate which is then sold to various bottlers throughout the world who hold an exclusive territory.

The Coca-Cola Company is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Its stock is listed on the NYSE and is part of DJIA and S&P 500. Its current president and CEO is Muhtar Kent.



7-11 Japan

The company has its origins in 1927 in Dallas, Texas, USA, when an employee of Southland Ice Company, Joe C. Thompson started selling milk, eggs and bread from an ice dock. The original location was an improvised storefront at Southland Ice Company, an ice-manufacturing plant owned by John Jefferson Green. Although small grocery stores and general merchandisers were present in the immediate area, the manager of the ice plant, Joe C. Thompson discovered that selling “convenience items” such as bread and milk was popular due to the ice’s natural ability to preserve the items. This significantly cut back on people’s need to travel long distances to the grocery stores for basic items. Joe C. Thompson eventually bought the Southland Ice Company and turned it into the Southland Corporation which oversaw several locations which opened up in the Dallas area. Initially, these stores were open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., hours unprecedented in their length, hence the name. The company began to use the 7-Eleven name in 1946. By 1952, 7-Eleven opened its 100th store. It was incorporated as the The Southland Corporation in 1961.



Fe Da 080201Microsoft

Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational computer technology corporation, which rose to dominate the home computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s, followed by the Windows line of operating systems. It develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of software products for computing devices. Microsoft’s best-selling products are the Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software.




Walmart is an American public corporation that runs a chain of large, discount department stores. It is the world’s largest public corporation by revenue, according to the 2008 Fortune Global 500. Founded by Sam Walton in 1962, it was incorporated on October 31, 1969, and listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1972. It is the largest private employer in the world and the fourth largest utility or commercial employer, trailing the British National Health Service, and the Indian Railways. Wal-Mart is the largest grocery retailer in the United States, with an estimated 20% of the retail grocery and consumables business. It also owns and operates the North American company, Sam’s Club.

It operates in Mexico as Walmex, in the UK as ASDA, and in Japan as Seiyu. It has wholly-owned operations in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Wal-Mart’s investments outside North America have had mixed results: its operations in South America and China are highly successful, while it was forced to pull out of Germany and South Korea when ventures there were unsuccessful.

This article is licensed under the GFDL because it contains quotations from Wikipedia.

Contributor: Josh S

  • Caroline

    Hooray Wal-Mart!! Everyone's favorite evil corporation!!

    They don't pay their employees a living wage or provide health-care. They told their managers a few months ago that a democratic president would support unionized workers. They basically told their managers who to vote for. When they move into a small town they destroy a lot of small businesses. (check out the PBS movie Store Wars; I live in Ashland, VA, I've seen it) Not cool.

    However for all its faults it still cannot be labeled as totally evil. People are able to afford things they normally would be able to. People can put food on the table because it is so cheap. And although the benefits are total crap they do provide a lot of jobs.

    Do the pluses outweigh the cons? I don't know. My morals are a little skewed anyway. I guess it's up to each person to decide for themselves what's good or bad.

    • eredy

      no there not affordable at first there a deal but when they run the better paying stores out of businesses . then they raise there prices. did you see they got rid of product choices ? and now there selling gmo corn ya there so good. No there pure evil and they settled a 760 million dollar law suit for not paying for over time or raises . watch the movie about wallmart .the high cost of low price.These mega corps come in and lower wages on purpose and raise there salaries. while ur in the poor house. the family owned store can pay any way more wallmart here in ms pays 840 in hr while the local store can pay 9 or 950 to start. its about them controlling the masses by pushing out the small business which is 78% all jobs in america so the next time u say there not that bad there why the wages dont go up they take away more jobs over all than they make just to sell over priced cheap made products . that will last half as long as other better made higher priced products.

  • Choosil1cious

    Nice list! ONe of the best content yet!

  • Choosil1cious

    Oh, first comment? Wow my first ever first comment!

    And I only know from number 4 onwards. Hehe.

  • Choosil1cious

    I expected McDonalds, or something. Maybe Intel, DBS….

  • She Wont Know Its Me

    How can 7/11 be on both lists?

  • astraya

    And they wonder why 95% of the world hates them, forcing their mega-franchises to the world whether we want them or not, so they can funnel our money back to their shore. (Runs for cover.)

  • manashiori

    Coke and Microsoft seemed to be the oddballs of the list. They’re the only ones that is not a grocery store/discount store etc.

  • 803cpkeenan

    exxon that is number 1 for me way above 7 11

  • 803cpkeenan

    I agree with manashiori, this is not a diverse list

  • Scar

    Never even HEARD of Kroger.. shouldn’t McDonald’s.. or Burger King be on here?

  • smurff

    I like lists like these, you learn something about a country, especially if you have never been their before.

    Coca-cola and Microsoft are probably known worldwide.

    Nice list, thanks Josh S

  • sir fuxalot


  • LemonKiwi

    Doesn’t Kroger own the Dillons grocery stores?

  • Mom424

    Interesting if not entirely new information. 7/11 tried to foray into Canada and failed everyplace I ever lived. Unfortunately the same has not happened to Walmart. At least here Walmart can’t hire illegal aliens and pay them less than minimum wage or deny them benefits; everyone in Canada is protected by our labour laws.

    I didn’t know that Future Shop and Best Buy are owned by the same parent company. Seeing as we have both brands within driving distance to where I live and Best Buy is cheaper.

    K-Mart has closed up shop in Canada – we have Walmart, Sears, and Zellers; and we’ve never had a Krogers, Target or Lowe’s. (I think Lowe’s might be trying – good luck with that, home depot is quite entrenched as well as our own Canadian Tire)

    Personally I try to do most of my shopping in local stores in my little hick town. They are chain stores, but they are privately owned and operated. And the very best department store is Canadian owned and operated. Giant Tiger ftw!

  • bueno91

    Damn walmart with there cheap prices and old greeters who make us think ill buy some more unnecessary stuff I need……o well

  • guy

    cool list i guess. ummmmmmmm go USA!!

  • Chris

    Lol astraya, 95% of the world doesn’t hate the United States. They are just jealous that they don’t have the convenience of places like Walmart and 7-11 in their countries.

  • Kreachure

    Well, that’s weird. So McDonalds is NOT the biggest American mega franchise? Or the most iconic? Yeah, I think you’re wrong on that one.

    And what about Disney? What about automobile franchises? Are those actually smaller than these whole bunch of retail stores? Cause it sure doesn’t sound like it…

  • Chris

    I’m not sure Kreachure, but I think this list may be based on revenue, and I don’t think that America’s car makers are doing that well. However, I don think that McDonalds should be somewhere on here.

  • Chris

    I *DO* think mcdonalds should be on here.

  • Ghidoran


  • Gdogg

    Where the hell is mcdonalds?

  • AFJumper03

    I love how everyone hates walmart because they are so big and EVIL. Meanwhile they are the world’s biggest employer, give jobs to people who otherwise would be robbing you, and keep consumer prices so low that white trash can afford anything when before they would have had to rob you.
    Thank walmart next time you go a year without being mugged.

  • Caroline

    Well crap.

    People are able to afford things they normally wouldn’t be able to.

    My bad, I just woke up.

  • deepthinker

    I have never been to a 7-11. I’m from East Texas, and there are none around here. So, tell me- what’s the 411 on 7-11?

  • deepthinker

    Yeah really… where is McDonald’s? Well, I guess it really is a World Mega Franchise.. not just America.

  • Emar

    On the contrary, here in Jersey,and even my last trip to Asia,7-11 is always around. Maybe I need to move to East Texas

  • Cubone

    MOM424 –
    you have Sears which is owned by KMart!

  • Cubone

    . . . Isn’t 7-11 owned by a Japanese company?

  • islanderbst

    Is there some logic behind this list? No way KMart is in any top 10 in terms of sales. And there are other comapnies mssing, AT&T, ExxonMobil, GM, IBM, etc that should be there

  • Maggot

    Microsoft isn’t exactly a “franchise”, is it? Replace that with McDonalds. I’d ask the same question of Coca Cola, but according to the write-up I guess it is a franchise system, so I learned something there!

  • Cheeshygirl

    Kroger owns many grocery stores. We have Dillons here as well. They are also known as: Fry’s, Smith’s, King, Ralph’s, Food4Less, and many others. If you ever find yourself at one of their other stores, your Plus Card works there as well. :)

    Nice list. I was also surprised that McDonald’s didn’t make the top 10 but 7/11 did. I haven’t seen a 7/11 in years. I was not surprised that Wal-mart was #1.

  • smurff

    Does KFC get a mention – now guys dont shoot me down in a hail of bullets, as I mentioned in an earlier comment I have never been to the States, Im sure I saw an news snippet somewhere that stated that the KFC franchises started in the States.

    Just a comment.

  • I don’t know what to make of the fact that I’ve never even stepped inside of any of the stores on this list, except a 7-11, back when they still sold petrol.
    My husband drinks Coca Cola, and I’m sure *something* I use/eat/drink must be owned by the company, but I have no idea what.
    My husband uses PCs, so uses microsoft products, while I have always used Macs…since they were Apples…so no microsoft for me.
    I must be completely *untrendy* or trendy, I just don’t know, nor do I care.

    • Nile

      Smug douchbag

  • Mr. Plow


    No one is ‘forcing’ anything on anybody. These companies do well because they give consumers something they need/want at a price they are willing to pay.

    Supply and demand…that is all it is…simple really.

  • byaskal

    KFC (and Taco Bell and Pizza Hut) are all owned by Pepsi so maybe that’s why it’s not on the list?

  • cambrexia101

    While I do see why people hate these corporations,
    as somebody on here mentioned, it’s all supply and demand.

    AND I would just like to say that Faygo (regional soft drink company) is better than Coca Cola, and it has more flavors.
    When is the last time you saw Peach flavored coca cola?

  • Robert

    I work for Kroger. :/

    We only started getting Wal-Mart around here a couple years ago and they’re mostly in malls. The only time I’ve ever been there was last week to buy the new AC/DC album.

  • Jono

    Hmmm… A lot of these stores aren’t even franchises at all. A franchise isn’t a chain store, it’s a specific way of marketing and producing a chain store. This is where a franchisor sells a licence of a franchise, to a franchisee, who will basically either “own” that store, or produce a product (such as brewing a beer).

    And what’s with the anti-corporatism?
    Calm down. You would be absolutely livid if you knew the true extent of it as well.

  • Corey

    Cambrexia101 – Totally agree on the Faygo! I live in Detroit, where it’s made, so it’s pretty much an essential food group here. It’s disappointing to go to other states where they don’t have it.

    And whoever said that 95% of the world hated America for forcing superstores on them… the superstores wouldn’t be in your country if your people weren’t shopping at them. And I hate when people claim that 95% of the world hates the U.S., when really, about 50% of the world would give their right leg to move to America, Canada, England, or ANY first-world country. Be more grateful of the conveniences you have.

  • juan

    JFRATTER….didn´t you said that 7/11 wasn´t american?

  • MrSelfdestruct

    How come Lowe’s got on the list and Home Depot did not? Home Depot is more than twice the size of Lowe’s.

    Also, what are you using as the definition of franchise? I didn’t think that Microsoft could be considered a franchise, but I am no economist.

    All in all, it is good to see that K-mart is pulling out of their financial troubles early this decade.

  • Kreachure

    Sigh. In terms of market capitalization, these are the biggest American companies:

    1. General Electric
    2. Microsoft
    3. Wal-Mart

    By revenue, the largest companies are:

    1. ExxonMobil
    2. Wal-Mart
    3. Chevron
    4. ConocoPhillips
    5. General Motors
    6. Ford Motors
    7. General Electric

    So… I don’t know.

  • cdavis

    Many an issue with this one. GM, GE, Disney(ABCESPN), Honeywell, PepsiCo.(YUM! Brands), Proctor and Gamble, SC Johnson all ignored. There are by far more YUM! (KFC, PH, TacoBell) stores in America than all of the list combined. As for KMart, since Sears bought them out, are they even still in business?

  • cdavis

    Also, check,, and for evidence of a little “overzealous” cut and paste action.

  • walmart! i like the south park episode with “wallmart”

  • maximuz04

    mc donalds?

  • Scott

    Wby Lowes vs Home Depot?

  • †ragik

    I dont mean to be a dick, but with the exception of 7-11, I dont think most of thee fit the definition of “franchise”. Where as the nearest McDonalds to you is probably owned by a real person in the city you live in, the nearest costco is not. Its owned by costco.

  • McSquida

    I agree. Most of these are not franchises. They’re big businesses but not franchises. McDonalds is THE ultimate franchise, too, and it’s not even on here. What franchise has a wider reach than McDonalds?

  • smurff

    Thanks byaskal n0. 36 for the info re: KFC

  • mitochondrial adam

    Was an interesting read but seems most of the write-ups are copied from Wikipedia. Is that standard?

    Still an interesting mix of companies to hear the background on. I really did think Target was owned by the French.

  • Precision

    Not really my favourite list, but that has something to do with the fact that I’m not American and therefore it’s all a bit irrelevant to me.

    Still there were some interesting facts mentioned, and I suppose the majority of people that visit this site are from the USA so I can’t really complain. I prefer the lists that appeal to the complete listverse audience (although “appeal” probably isn’t the best word to use here…perhaps “caters” instead?).

  • gezzanater

    Costco is just inroads here in Australia now, I know their is a store opening in Melbourne down at Docklands in the near future. Aldi has also done a huge expansion in Australia over the past 2 years and is giving our 2 biggest supermarkets, Coles & Safeway a run for their money.
    Gotta love competiton.

  • Lana

    Screw Wal-Mart.

  • Gauntlet3D

    Top 10 American Mega Franchises

    Are you serious? Here is what you have to do, right now. Go to the dictionary and open it up. Define all the words in the title of this list. Rewite the title. That is all.

  • maraluarte

    hehehe…wal mart the best

  • Hillery

    I won’t comment on the love/hate walmart thing, but I do have to ask: Is it really the perception that America is forcing walmart on the rest of the world? Are there really people out there foaming at the mouth that the Ugly American is purposely forcing walmart on them? I would have assumed the decision to branch out of the U.S. was made by the people who run the company, a group of people that make up about .000000001 percent of the country you hate for it. It just seems a bit excessive to hate a whole country based on the decisions of one company, that’s all I’m saying.

  • bigski

    Well said Hillery !

  • appie too. I’m wondering why Macdonald’s is not on the list,.and as far as I could remember 7/11 is not I right?

  • Emily

    Whoa! I work at Menards. That is so weird to see it mentioned on this website!

  • sugen

    I would have been happy if you had provided us with the countries of the other partners.

  • Lilith Hel

    i’m surprised k-mart made the list. they closed up shop in houston like 3-5 years ago and if they do own sears, i haven’t seen one of those in awhile either.

  • puffy

    i dont know why all you canadian pussy´s cry about walmart. its fucking great! :O they have everything. its cheap. and atleast they give people jobs you short thinking POOF!

  • Kathleen

    Very cool…I expected Wal Mart to be #1, and Microsoft and Target to be somewhere on there too…totally didn’t expect to see Kroger though, lol. In my area there’s almost all of these stores except Costco and 7/11, and just ONE kroger…I thought Lowe’s foods or Harris Teeter grocery stores would make it.

    And wal mart isn’t a bad store, so don’t hate ;D

    Whatever, awesome list.

  • Denzell

    Dairy queen?

  • LS

    Mom424: I see 7-11’s all over the place, I live in BC. Especially in Vancouver, there are quite a few of them. I’m in a small town and there is one. So I wouldn’t say 7-11 failed at getting into Canada.

    Also, I like wal-mart. There I said it. It does in fact supply jobs, while they are retail (and we all know how much retail sucks) they are jobs. Wage really depends on what the minimum is where you live among other things.

  • Ironcross

    Hate to admit it but Wal MArt is #1 for a reason – they have the best prices, I saved $60 on an NFL shirt compared to Dick’s Sporting Goods. Also they consistently post profits when the economy is in the sh*tter as they did last quarter, probably because they do are not being raped by a union. Finally I thought Target was French – it is pronounced
    Tar-ghay afer all!

  • hoperdoper

    7\11 ???? I read somewhere its a Japanese brand !!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • eroe777

    How does Lowe’s make the list when Home Depot, which is the second largest retailer in the world is a whole hell of a lot bigger?

  • geeknik

    7-Eleven might have started in the US, but it’s no longer a US company. 7-Eleven is owned by Seven & I Holdings Co., Ltd. which is a Japanese company and the fifth largest retailer in the world.

  • PH

    “16. Chris:Lol astraya, 95% of the world doesn’t hate the United States. They are just jealous that they don’t have the convenience of places like Walmart and 7-11 in their countries.”

    Jealous?We have our own stores.Convenience is not a good thing.

  • schizo

    My 1st comment on listverse… yay!

    First, the list doesn’t match the title about franchise, technically speaking.

    Second, WalMart is a huge predators who killed and swallow their entire spectrum of competitors (shops / specialties). Providing jobs you say? They just change the entire workforce on those business into their employees, be it store-clerks, even former shop owners. Employees with meagre rewards, little benefits, zero job-securities.

    Low price you say? With all competitors gone, then suppliers has nowhere to go except WalMart. What they do about that? Correct, it’s walmart who has the authority in supply pricing. Thus, without heavy discounts, kiss your wheat farms bye bye…

    • nicolelynnw

      I realize this list is almost two years old but my mom works at Wal-Mart and she has medical and dental insurance for me(I’m 16) which she gets through Wal-Mart and we definitely have enough money to live a solid middle-middle class lifestyle. So, yeah, walmart’s not evil or a bad place to work by any means.

  • bob

    they must all burn who’s with me!

  • Lex

    … the americans just bought it.

  • Kay

    I knew walmart would be #1.

  • kristi

    cant be bothered reading but those who think that McDonalds is American….it’s not

  • Dim

    7 – 11 isnt american you said so in another list =s

  • Dim

    7 – 11 isnt american you said so in another list

  • Dim

    top 10 amercan icons that are not american. #2. Its japanese

  • natapillar

    we have ASDA in UK which is ‘Part Of The Wal-Mart Family’ (so it says on my shopping bag!). and I guess 7-11 is like our version of Spa, Co-Op or Circle-K.

    incidently,wasn’t Circle K the shop Bill And Ted stood in front of in their film? it seems there are a lot of discount,thrift chains in America. bit like our Pound Shops. they get everywhere!!

  • Jubbs

    I havent even heard of “Kroger”… And why wasnt McDonalds on this list? They are the one of the, if not the, largest company in the world.

  • Walmart worker

    I hate walmart…they don’t pay worth a shit ! Where I live you can’t afford to live on a walmart sal. furthermore they know you need the job so they can fuck with you anyway they want! They give you more jobs to get done in less time with quotas. If you don’t get shit done…you are out the door and God help you if you have a disabilty…(well unless they hire you to look p.c.) to the world for hiring you because of your disabilty. But if you have a chronic illness or something..and miss time….YOU’RE FUCKED! I hate HATE HATE fucking Walmart! They make the rulz and they can dictate whatever they want.

  • James Team

    How come it says in this list that seven eleven was founded in texas, but another list “top ten american icons that are not american” its said to be from japan, and its in that list?

  • ironwolf56

    It’s funny where I live in the US I’ve never even SEE a Costco or Kroger’s and the closest 7-11 is about 3 hours away. The big gas station chain here is Irving’s which while technically Canadian seems to be a powerhouse in northern New England too.

  • PilontheNidal

    Wal-Mart eliminates more jobs than it possibly creates.
    Most of the American population has just as much control over what the corporation does as you ladies and gentlemen in other contries in which its Supercenters appear.

    There’s a high, high cost for these “low prices”.


  • I_Speak_LOLcat

    @Choosil1cious [3]:
    I expected to see Google.

  • Google, McDonald's, NBC, Home Depot, Burger King?!?

    Never heard of Kroger…

  • Tlaloc

    Really? Walmart in Mexico is "Walmex"? I am from Mexico, and Walmart is just called Walmart here

  • getwebsitelog

    wal mart deserve the 1st no.

  • Spellbinder

    Never heard of any except Coca Cola and Microsoft, for obvious reason's.

  • bpay


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  • Samuel D

    this really needs to be updated…

    *cough* APPLE *cough*

  • Luis

    Apple? Biggest corporation in the world? Anybody? No? Ok…

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