Wal-Mart Reports February Sales Results

March 5, 2009

9 Min. Read

Walmart U.S. Records 5.0% Comp, Sam's Club 5.9% Without Fuel

BENTONVILLE, Ark., March 5 -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) reported net sales for the four-week periods ending Feb. 27, 2009 , and Feb. 29, 2008 , as follows (dollars in billions).

                                            Net Sales
                                    4 Weeks Ended         Percent
                                2/27/2009    2/29/2008     Change

    Walmart U.S.                  $20.071      $18.560       8.1%
    International                   6.475        7.262     -10.8%
    Sam's Club                      3.472        3.366       3.1%
      Total Company               $30.018      $29.188       2.8%

On a constant currency basis (assuming exchange rates remained the same as the prior year), International sales increased 9.9 percent in the February period. With a 20.7-percent impact from currency exchange rates, reported sales decreased 10.8 percent in the International segment. These results include sales data from Distribucion y Servicio D&S S.A. , whose results are now consolidated in Wal-Mart International .

Comparable store sales for the four-week periods ending Feb. 27, 2009 , and Feb. 29, 2008 , appear below.

                               Four Weeks Comparable Store Sales
                      Without Fuel         With Fuel          Fuel Impact
                  2/27/2009 2/29/2008 2/27/2009 2/29/2008 2/27/2009 2/29/2008

    Walmart U.S.     5.0%      2.6%      5.0%     2.6%      0.0%       0.0%
    Sam's Club       5.9%      3.1%      2.1%     5.5%     -3.8%       2.4%
      Total U.S.     5.1%      2.7%      4.5%     3.0%     -0.6%       0.3%

With the implementation of new financial systems this fiscal year, Wal-Mart adjusted its classification of certain revenue and expense items, effective with the four-week February period and fiscal first quarter. Net sales and comparable store sales for last year's monthly reporting periods have been reclassified for comparability. These changes do not affect operating profit or net income. The prior year net sales for International presented in this release reflect the impact of discontinued operations.

Walmart U.S.

Walmart U.S. had strong sales performance during the four-week February period. Comparable store sales increased 5.0 percent, driven largely by an acceleration of traffic. Average ticket also increased.

"Our customers have come to trust our 'Save Money Live Better' promise and we exceeded our own expectations for the period," said Eduardo Castro-Wright , vice chairman, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. "We believe falling gas prices significantly boosted household disposable income in February and therefore allowed for both more trips and more spending towards discretionary categories."

Grocery, health and wellness and entertainment drove the period's comparable sales performance. Home and hardlines also were positive. Customer experience scores continue to trend upward and this was reflected in the sales momentum.

"Customers come to Walmart because they trust us for our price leadership, and experience scores indicate they are leaving our stores delighted," Castro-Wright said.

Sam's Club

Sam's Club sales for the four-week February period reflect the "stay at home" trends prevalent in today's economy. Traffic was higher than last year for Advantage and Business members. Average ticket increased for Business members, as they continue to rely on Sam's quality and value to supply their business purchasing needs.

Comparable club sales were driven by fresh food, dry grocery and consumables. Bread and pastry, meat and pet supplies were strong categories. Housewares sales were strong, as members are choosing to cook and entertain at home. Furniture, jewelry and other large-ticket categories remained soft.

Multiple price increases on tobacco products drove exceptionally strong sales for this category in February. With a federal excise tax increase scheduled for April 1 , Sam's expects to see a slowdown in units sold in April as the market adjusts to new higher prices.

Fuel sales during the period were lower compared to the same period last year, as a result of lower fuel prices.

Wal-Mart International

"We're meeting our customers' needs for value in all markets," said Doug McMillon , who became president and CEO of Wal-Mart International on Feb. 1 . "Examples of this are the expansion of EDLP in Japan and our supercentre growth in Canada . I've also seen first-hand how we are serving the underserved through innovative formats such as Todo Dia in Brazil and Ekono in Chile .

"Factoring out the effect of exchange rates and the strong dollar, our international businesses continue to grow steadily," McMillon added.

Sales from each country are covered on a constant currency basis, excluding any impact from changes in exchange rates, for the comparable February periods.

Sales at ASDA in the United Kingdom remained strong. Food continued to outperform, with the strongest sales coming in the grocery, meat and frozen categories. In general merchandise, the fastest growing areas were children's wear, baby products, music, video and games, particularly during the half term school holiday. ASDA continues to gain market share, as noted by the latest TNS data.

Comparable store sales at Wal-Mart de Mexico increased 4.7 percent, led by strong performances at Sam's Club and Bodega Aurrera. Customer traffic continues to increase month over month, with the strongest growth in supercenters. Average ticket also increased.

Total sales at Wal-Mart Canada increased in the mid single digits, despite an increasingly weak consumer market place. Strengths were seen in food and consumables. Comparable store sales turned slightly negative as customers continued to focus on necessities and avoid purchasing discretionary items in home, apparel and shoes. Last week, Wal-Mart Canada announced plans to open an additional 26 supercentres, reflecting strong consumer demand for its grocery and food offerings. Wal-Mart Canada will have 82 supercentres and 316 stores overall by the end of the fiscal year.

In Brazil , real comparable store sales were in the low single digits. Strong performances came from the small discount format Todo Dia, Maxxi and supermarkets. Sales were strong in liquor and pharmacy.

In Japan , comparable store sales were positive, reflecting the rollout of EDLP to additional departments. EDLP is now in 100 categories, covering 47 percent of Seiyu's offerings by sales. Grocery sales were positive on strength from EDLP in processed and chilled foods. Additionally, grocery sales benefited from the company's global leverage, as sales of wine directly imported from ASDA contributed to positive results. Strong sales in consumables were driven by pet food, household chemicals and health and beauty aids -- all categories impacted by EDLP. Apparel and general merchandise continue to show weakness from lower discretionary spending.

Comparable Store Sales Guidance Policy

In lieu of providing "monthly" estimates of U.S. comparable store sales this fiscal year, Wal-Mart on Feb. 5 , began providing an estimate only for each 13-week period, based on the 4-5-4 NRF calendar. The company will report comparable store sales for the five-week March period, from Saturday, Feb. 28 through Friday, April 3, 2009 , on April 9 .

Impact of Easter Calendar Shift

For Sam's Club , the five-week March sales period will pick up an additional sales day compared to last year because of the Easter shift. Sam's Clubs are closed on Easter Sunday .

The Easter shift is expected to similarly affect sales for Wal-Mart International in the March and April sales periods, as many stores and clubs in the U.K., Canada , Brazil and Argentina will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday .

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Walmart discount stores, supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam's Club locations in the United States . The company also operates in Argentina , Brazil , Canada , Chile , China , Costa Rica , El Salvador , Guatemala , Honduras , India , Japan , Mexico , Nicaragua , Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom . The company's common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com and 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, as amended, and 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 Wal-Mart's management's expectations for the number of supercentres and total stores that Wal-Mart Canada will have by the end of the fiscal year, for a slowdown in tobacco sales at the Sam's Club segment in April 2009 , and for the effects of Easter occurring in April 2009 , on the sales of the Walmart U.S. segment and the International segment during the five week March and April sales periods. Those statements are identified by use of the word "expected" "expects" or phrases "is expected" or "will have" in the statements. Those 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, construction-related risks with respect to the new supercentres being constructed in Canada and other risks. Wal-Mart discusses certain of these matters and other risk factors more fully in its filings with the SEC, including its most recent annual report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC. 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. Wal-Mart urges you to consider all of these risks, uncertainties and other factors carefully in evaluating the 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, Wal-Mart's actual results may differ materially from those discussed in such forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements included in this release are made only as of the date of this release, and Wal-Mart undertakes no obligation to update such statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.

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