BENTONVILLE, Ark., March 6 -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) reported net sales for the four-week periods ending Feb. 29, 2008, and March 2, 2007, respectively, as follows (dollars in billions).
4 Weeks Ended Percent
2/29/2008 3/2/2007 Change
Wal-Mart Stores $18.563 $17.572 5.6%
Sam's Club 3.363 3.159 6.5%
International 7.262 6.063 19.8%
Total Company $29.188 $26.794 8.9%
Comparable store sales for the four-week periods ending Feb. 29, 2008, and March 2, 2007, respectively, were as follows.
Four Weeks Comparable Store Sales
Without Fuel With Fuel Fuel Impact
2/29/2008 3/2/2007 2/29/2008 3/2/2007 2/29/2008 3/2/2007
Stores 2.5% 0.4% 2.5% 0.4% 0.0% 0.0%
Sam's Club 2.8% 3.9% 5.2% 3.3% 2.4% -0.6%
Total U.S. 2.6% 0.9% 3.0% 0.8% 0.4% -0.1%
Comparable store sales during the four-week February period exceeded the Company's expectations because of continued strength in the grocery, health and wellness and entertainment U.S. business segments. Sales trends in apparel improved when compared to the last several months. Softness remained in the home area, due in part to pullback in the housing market and the economy.
"We're very pleased with the way customers responded to our merchandise offerings and the ongoing 'save money, live better' messaging across our U.S. stores in February," said Eduardo Castro-Wright, Wal-Mart Stores U.S. president and chief executive officer. "The comp sales results in our three largest businesses continued to outperform the market."
February sales strength continued in key categories including food, flat-panel TVs, digital audio, video games and the pharmacy. Valentine's Day seasonal categories did well.
For the February four-week period, sales at Sam's Club were driven by increased ticket for both business and Advantage members, with greater strength in the small business segment. Strong sales areas included dry grocery, consumables and video games. Home furnishing-related items and apparel experienced softer sales relative to other categories.
During the February period, a combination of higher gas prices versus the prior year and volume increases impacted comparable club sales by a positive 2.4 percent. Excluding fuel sales, comparable club sales were up 2.8 percent.
In the United Kingdom, ASDA's sales strengthened in February and exceeded management's expectations, with solid results from seasonal sales for Valentine's Day and Mother's Day events. ASDA's strong focus on rollbacks is proving very effective in a market where disposable income is down, with the rollbacks driving further growth in weekly customer traffic. ASDA's traffic has increased by one million in the February period when compared to February last year.
Wal-Mart Brazil continued its trend of solid comparable sales growth, with real comps in the high single digits. This was driven by double-digit comparable sales growth in our soft discount and cash and carry formats. Pharmacy and soft lines were highlights for the southeast and northeast regions. In the southern region, sales were strong in house wares, electronics and soft lines.
In Canada, the positive sales trend evident in the fourth quarter continued this period, with strong sales growth in electronics. Spring apparel and Easter goods are selling well. February sales were stronger in western and eastern Canada, with softness in Ontario, a province with more pronounced effects from the slowdown in the economy.
Sales at Wal-Mart Mexico were driven by increases in customer traffic at stores, clubs and restaurants. Superama and Sam's Club performed well, with the best overall sales performance occurring in southern and central Mexico. Suburbia and the VIPs restaurants continue to lag the rest of our formats in Mexico.
"Comparable store sales without fuel for the March five-week period in the United States are estimated to be between flat and two percent," said Tom Schoewe, executive vice president and chief financial officer. "With consumers increasingly concerned about their personal financial status and a higher cost of living, we will continue our commitment to price leadership across all categories."
The March five-week period runs from March 1, 2008 through April 4, 2008.
Wal-Mart announced details yesterday of the opening of 81 new stores and clubs in the United States during March, representing more than one-third of the new stores and clubs the Company plans to open in the United States during fiscal year 2009.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart discount stores, supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam's Club locations in the United States. The Company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. The Company's securities are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting http://www.walmartstores.com. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.
This release contains statements that Wal-Mart believes are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are intended to enjoy the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements provided by that act. These forward-looking statements relate to our management's expectation for comparable store sales in the United States for the March five-week reporting period to end April 4, 2008, and our management's expectation that Wal-Mart will continue its commitment to price leadership across all categories. These statements are identified by use of the words "estimated" and "will continue," in these statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, domestically and internationally, including general economic conditions, the availability of consumer credit, consumer spending patterns and debt levels, unemployment levels, fuel prices, inflation levels, weather conditions, competitive pressures and other risks. The Company discusses certain of these matters and other risk factors more fully in its filings with the SEC, including the last annual report on Form 10-K. This release should be read in conjunction with that annual report on Form 10-K and certain other Company filings with the SEC through the date of this release. The Company urges you to consider all of these risks, uncertainties and other factors carefully in evaluating these forward-looking statements made in this release and not to place undue reliance on such statements. As a result of these and other matters, including changes in facts, assumptions not being realized or other circumstances, our actual results may differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements included in this release are made only as of the date of this release, and we undertake no obligation to update it to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.
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