BENTONVILLE, Ark., April 10 -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) reported net sales for the five- and nine-week periods ending April 4, 2008, and April 6, 2007, respectively, as follows (dollars in billions).
Net Sales 5 Weeks Ended Percent 9 Weeks Ended Percent 4/4/2008 4/6/2007 Change 4/4/2008 4/6/2007 Change Wal-Mart Stores $23.213 $22.116 5.0% $41.776 $39.689 5.3% Sam's Club 4.287 4.156 3.2% 7.650 7.315 4.6% International 9.473 7.983 18.7% 16.735 14.045 19.2% Total Company $36.973 $34.255 7.9% $66.161 $61.049 8.4%
Comparable store sales for the five- and nine-week periods ending April 4, 2008, and April 6, 2007, respectively, were as follows.
Five Weeks Comparable Store Sales Without Fuel With Fuel Fuel Impact 4/4/2008 4/6/2007 4/4/2008 4/6/2007 4/4/2008 4/6/2007 Wal-Mart Stores 0.9% 3.4% 0.9% 3.4% 0.0% 0.0% Sam's Club -0.7% 7.4% 2.1% 6.8% 2.8% -0.6% Total U.S. 0.7% 4.0% 1.1% 4.0% 0.4% 0.0% Nine Weeks Comparable Store Sales Without Fuel With Fuel Fuel Impact 4/4/2008 4/6/2007 4/4/2008 4/6/2007 4/4/2008 4/6/2007 Wal-Mart Stores 1.6% 2.1% 1.6% 2.1% 0.0% 0.0% Sam's Club 0.8% 5.7% 3.4% 5.2% 2.6% -0.5% Total U.S. 1.5% 2.6% 1.9% 2.6% 0.4% 0.0% Wal-Mart Stores
In the Wal-Mart Stores U.S. segment, comparable store sales during the five-week March period were driven by continued strength in the three largest business units: grocery, health and wellness and entertainment, with solid Easter sales. Food, consumables and dry grocery were strong during the period. Cold weather negatively affected the overall performance of apparel; however, sales of basic items, including t-shirts and licensed apparel, were strong. Softness continued in the home unit.
"Customers continued to turn to Wal-Mart for price leadership throughout the store, and they continued to see a better shopping experience," said Eduardo Castro-Wright, Wal-Mart Stores U.S. president and chief executive officer. "In addition, we benefited from better integration of merchandising, operations and marketing.
"Our initiatives in electronics have improved customer access to leading brands and made Wal-Mart the retailer of choice for entertainment products," Castro-Wright added. "The U.S. stores continued to generate triple-digit comparable sales in flat-panel TVs and GPS units, as well as double-digit growth rates in laptop computers, video games and digital cameras."
This year's Easter calendar change from April to March negatively impacted the March period, when compared to last year. Wal-Mart discount stores historically are closed on Easter Sunday. In addition, with Easter coming much earlier this year, the traditional selling period for the holiday was shorter.
Fresh food, dry grocery and consumables led sales at Sam's Club during the period, with strong sell-through of Easter merchandise and favorable positions of seasonal inventories. In the general merchandise categories, home furniture, office supplies, and video games were highlights, while house wares and apparel continued to experience softer sales.
"As with the last sales period, our strongest categories are in the areas most important to our core members," said Doug McMillon, president and chief executive officer, Sam's Club. "Average ticket increased for both Business and Advantage members."
Fuel sales impacted comparable club sales by 2.8 percent, driven by an increase in gallons sold, combined with an increase of approximately 28 percent in the average price per gallon, compared to the same period last year.
Sam's Clubs also were closed on Easter Sunday, resulting in one less selling day in the March five-week period than in the same period last year. Easter negatively impacted the March sales period by approximately 200 to 250 basis points. As a result, the April sales period will pick up an additional selling day, compared to last year.
"We are pleased with the overall performance of our International markets," said Mike Duke, vice chairman responsible for Wal-Mart International. "We had strong sales performance in key countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and China."
ASDA's sales were ahead of plan, driven by high traffic and the Easter season, with the strongest performances in confectionary, fresh foods, children's wear and video game software.
Wal-Mart Canada continued to experience increases in traffic and average ticket, leading to a low double-digit increase over the prior year, with sales strong in electronics. Apparel and shoes were soft, due to adverse weather.
Wal-Mart Brazil continues to perform well, with a double-digit increase in comparable store sales on a real basis, led by the hypermarkets and the lower-income format Todo Dia, and driven by sales of Easter-related products.
Improved weather in areas where Wal-Mart China is located and better merchandise availability at Trust-Mart generated healthy customer traffic and higher average ticket, yielding double-digit comparable sales growth in both businesses.
"Because of the Easter calendar change and its potential positive impact on the April sales period, we expect comparable store sales without fuel for the April four-week period in the United States to be between one and three percent," said Tom Schoewe, executive vice president and chief financial officer. "This guidance is slightly higher than our comparable sales guidance of the previous two months, which has been flat to two percent.
"Inventory in Wal-Mart Stores U.S. has been well managed and has resulted in lower markdowns, expense leverage and reduced shrink," said Schoewe. "Therefore, we are raising our guidance for earnings per share from continuing operations for the first quarter of fiscal year 2009 to a range of $0.74 to $0.76. This is an increase from the previous earnings guidance of $0.70 to $0.74 per share from continuing operations."
The April four-week period runs from April 5, 2008 through May 2, 2008.
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 April four-week reporting period to end May 2, 2008, and our management's expectations for earnings per share from continuing operations for the first quarter of fiscal year 2009. These statements are identified by use of the words "expect" and "are raising," 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 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. 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.
SOURCE Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
CONTACT: Investor Relations, +1-479-273-8446, or Carol Schumacher +1-479-277-1498, or Media Relations, John Simley, 1-800-331-0085, all of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Web site: http://www.walmartstores.com