Wal-Mart has been booming since the recession began, and with 2008 sales of $406 billion dollars, the retail giant had its best year ever. That didn't stop Wal-Mart from losing its grip on first place in the Fortune 500, though, as Exxon Mobil smoked all comers with $443 billion in sales last year. Exxon Mobil also topped all companies in profits last year, tallying a cool $45 billion in revenue.
Exxon Mobil's ascent to the top of the Fortune 500 comes as little surprise given the ridiculous rise of oil over the spring and summer of 2008. Oil rose from $60-$80 per barrel in 2007 to $147 per barrel in July, 2008. Even the surprising drop to under $40 per barrel in December didn't put a damper in Exxon Mobil's record year.
Exxon Mobil wasn't the only oil company to shine in 2008, as Chevron and ConocoPhillips moved up to third and fourth place. ConocoPhillips wasn't all smiles in 2008, though, as its over exposure to the money losing oil refineries resulted in $17 billion in losses last year. General Motors and Ford Motor Company finished sixth and seventh, respectively, on this year's list.
[Source: CNN Money]