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Retail behemoth Walmart released earnings Thursday, and many have used the report as a way to gauge how the American consumer feels. (Still strained, for the record.) That's because Walmart is the country's biggest retailer. Take a look at this animated GIF map by Excel Hero that illustrates the wildfire-like spread of Walmart stores that led to its domination of the United States.

 

As you can see, the stores pop up scarily fast—starting from Arkansas and growing outward from there, the GIF shows the speed and scale at which Walmart spread. 

Daniel Ferry of Excel Hero used data from Walmart's opening in 1962 until 2006 from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis to identify the stores and then found their coordinates using batchgeo.com and Yahoo Maps. Ferry was inspired by a Walmart growth movie by the blog Flowing Data

Walmart still made a profit last quarter, but its stock went down because growth has slowed due to the economy. This GIF shows why how well Walmart's doing is an indicator of how Americans are feeling about their own wallets.

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