What Does it Cost to Run Big Business?

This post is by Marcus Lu from Visual Capitalist

The cost to run big business

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The Briefing

  • The cost of running a Fortune 500 company can easily exceed $100 billion annually
  • Walmart’s operating costs in 2020 were equal to 70% of U.S. military spending

What Does it Cost to Run Big Business?

How much does it cost to run one of America’s largest corporations? For household names like Apple, Costco and Walmart, well over $100 billion each year.

To get a better sense of their massive scale, this chart compiles financial data from some of the largest Fortune 500 companies, and includes U.S. military spending as an additional point of comparison.

EntityCost of Operations, USD billionsRevenues, USD billionsOperating Margin, %
U.S. Military Spending$778N/AN/A
CVS Health$255$2695%
Berkshire Hathaway$231$2466%
Costco Wholesale$161$1674%

To determine each company’s total cost of operations, we combined its selling, general & administrative expense (SG&A) and its cost of goods sold (Read more...)