2005 A Year of Growth for Arkansas Businesses

DECEMBER 27, 2005 - Posted at 8:04 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Among major Arkansas businesses, the year 2005 was one of growth, direction changes, and, for at least one huge company, public image problems.

Wal-Mart Stores Incorporated worked in 2005 to keep its good name while the Bentonville-based company faced unprecedented attacks from its critics.  But its sales continued to grow steadily, as did the number of stores operated by the world's largest retailer.

Alltell Corp. expanded its wireless division and announced a plan to sell its traditional phone business, setting the future course of the Little Rock-based communications company.

The state also saw auto-related industries develop in east Arkansas as local economic development officials work toward getting an automaker to build an assembly plant in the region.  The chairman of Hino Motors Ltd., which is building a parts plant in Marion, said an assembly plant would follow.  But state and company officials said Tadaki Jagawa's statement didn't constitute an official announcement.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)