BENTONVILLE, Ark., Nov. 6 -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) reported net sales for the four- and 39-week periods ending Oct. 31, 2008, and Nov. 2, 2007, respectively, as follows (dollars in billions).
Net Sales 4 Weeks Ended 39 Weeks Ended 10/31/ 11/2/ Percent 10/31/ 11/2/ Percent 2008 2007 Change 2008 2007 Change Walmart U.S. $18.362 $17.438 5.3% $183.485 $172.182 6.6% Sam's Club 3.443 3.296 4.5% 34.882 32.540 7.2% International (Note 1) 6.760 7.186 -5.9% 73.570 64.916 13.3% Total Company $28.565 $27.920 2.3% $291.937 $269.638 8.3%
On a constant currency basis -- without the effect of foreign exchange rate fluctuations -- total International sales increased 8.9 percent for the four-week period. The sharp strengthening of the U.S. dollar against most currencies during the October period reduced Wal-Mart International's reported U.S. dollar sales by 14.8 percentage points for that period. Constant currency is the current period's local currency sales translated into U.S. dollars at the exchange rate in effect for the comparable prior year period.
Comparable store sales for the four- and 39-week periods ending Oct. 31, 2008, and Nov. 2, 2007, respectively, appear below.
Four Weeks Comparable Store Sales Without Fuel With Fuel Fuel Impact 10/31/ 11/2/ 10/31/ 11/2/ 10/31/ 11/2/ 2008 2007 2008 2007 2008 2007 Walmart U.S. 2.2% 0.0% 2.2% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% Sam's Club 3.6% 2.7% 4.0% 4.2% 0.4% 1.5% Total U.S. 2.4% 0.4% 2.5% 0.7% 0.1% 0.3% Thirty-nine Weeks Comparable Store Sales Without Fuel With Fuel Fuel Impact 10/31/ 11/2/ 10/31/ 11/2/ 10/31/ 11/2/ 2008 2007 2008 2007 2008 2007 Walmart U.S. 2.9% 0.7% 2.9% 0.7% 0.0% 0.0% Sam's Club 3.5% 4.8% 6.4% 4.8% 2.9% 0.0% Total U.S. 3.0% 1.4% 3.4% 1.4% 0.4% 0.0%
Walmart's focus on price leadership resulted in positive comparable store traffic for the four-week October period. Traffic driving initiatives were led this month by the seasonal presentation of Halloween merchandise across multiple categories in the entire store.
"Customer comparable traffic is higher and our seasonal merchandising events are delivering improved sales," said Eduardo Castro-Wright, Walmart U.S. president and chief executive officer. "Highly competitive pricing, especially on basics throughout the store, is driving these results."
Walmart's latest marketing campaign, which includes a series of television commercials, is resonating with customers trying to stretch their budgets. One spot, for example, shows that a family of four can save $700 a year by shopping for groceries at Walmart.
"We see more customers shopping more often at Walmart," Castro-Wright added. "Customers see that we are broadening the price gap against our competitors. They saw it during the Halloween season and they will continue to see it during the Christmas shopping season."
In a separate news release issued this morning, Walmart U.S. announced price rollbacks across all categories in the store that could save customers an additional $200 million during the next seven weeks.
Sales at Sam's Club during the October period continued to be driven by strengths in fresh food, dry grocery and consumables. Produce, meat, baby care and pets were stand out categories. Weaker categories included electronics, jewelry and home-related products. Halloween inventory sold through well and at a higher rate than last year. Traffic and ticket were up for both Business and Advantage members.
"We introduced the October Savings Challenge program to show current and prospective members how much they can save by shopping at Sam's Club based on their own purchasing patterns," said Doug McMillon, Sam's Club president and chief executive officer. "In connection with this, we also offered a 10-week membership for $10 that added incrementally to membership with no significant impact on the trend of new regular one-year memberships."
Sam's Club fuel sales increased both in dollars and gallons sold. The retail price of fuel moderated during the period and finished the month at a level lower than in the October period last year. As a result, the fuel impact on comparable club sales was 0.4 percent for the four-week period, significantly less than the 2.9-percent fuel impact for the year-to-date period. The retail price of fuel is lower than the year-to-date average, which also impacted the Sam's Club total net sales increase for the period.
"Economic conditions around the world continue to put pressure on consumers," said Mike Duke, vice chairman, Wal-Mart International. "While this is impacting our and other businesses, we are uniquely positioned by our stability and every day low price strategy to help customers in these difficult times. This is reflected in our sales results, on a constant currency basis."
In the October period, sales results were significantly impacted by the strengthening U.S. dollar. Results from each country are discussed on a constant currency basis, before any impact from exchange rates.
In a difficult economic environment in the United Kingdom, ASDA had another strong month as a result of increased customer count and ticket. Comparable store sales were strongest in grocery and clothing. In general merchandise, sales of Halloween merchandise were ahead of expectations.
Hypermarkets and the Maxxi cash-and-carry business led Wal-Mart Brazil to a mid single digit real comparable store sales increase. Pharmacy, electronics and computer sales performed well in October.
The supercentre expansion program, which added two more openings in Ontario, fueled high single digit sales growth at Wal-Mart Canada. Comparable store sales there were in the low single digits, as a result of increased average ticket and electronics and food sales.
Higher average ticket pushed Wal-Mart China comparable store sales to the mid single digits. Trust-Mart comparable store sales were in the low single digits, driven by increased customer count.
At Seiyu in Japan, comparable store sales were in the negative mid single digits. While food sales were down, certain food categories were up due to improved pricing and higher sales of Great Value brand items. Consumables increased in the mid single digits, driven by a continued shift to every day low pricing.
The economic slowdown continued to impact sales in Mexico, where nominal comparable store sales were 0.4 percent lower. The strongest performances came from Bodega Aurrera and Sam's Club, with continued weakness in the discretionary spending formats, Suburbia and Vips.
"The Company expects U.S. comparable store sales for the four-week November period to be between one and three percent," said Tom Schoewe, executive vice president and chief financial officer. "Our underlying business in the United States and around the world remains strong. While there remain some uncertainties with the global economy, we believe falling gas prices could help customers as we enter this holiday season."
The November period runs from Saturday, Nov. 1 through Friday, Nov. 28, 2008, and includes one less week of post-Thanksgiving Christmas shopping due to the later occurrence of Thanksgiving this year. Ninety of the 3,491 Walmart U.S. stores and all 599 U.S. Sam's Clubs will be closed on Thanksgiving.
Wal-Mart will announce earnings results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2009 on Nov. 13, 2008.
Note 1: The Company's operations in Argentina, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua and the United Kingdom are consolidated for financial reporting purposes using a Dec. 31 fiscal year-end, generally due to statutory reporting requirements. The Company's operations in Canada and Puerto Rico are consolidated using a Jan. 31 fiscal year-end.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Walmart 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 and, through a joint venture, in India. 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 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, 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 our management's expectations regarding customers continuing to see a broadening price gap between the Company and its competitors during the Christmas shopping season, and our management's expectations for our comparable store sales in the United States for the November four-week reporting period to end November 28, 2008. These statements are identified by use of the words "will continue" and "expects" in the 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 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. The Company 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, our 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 we undertake no obligation to update such statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.
SOURCE Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. -0- 11/06/2008 /CONTACT: Investor Relations, Recorded Sales Message, +1-479-273-8446, or Carol Schumacher, +1-479-277-1498, or Mike Beckstead, +1-479-277-9558, or Media Relations, John Simley, 1-800-331-0085, all of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc./ /Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070927/WALMARTCOMLOGO AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org PRN Photo Desk, email@example.com/ /Web site: http://www.walmartstores.com / (WMT) CO: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. ST: Arkansas, China, Brazil, England IN: REA FOD SU: SLS LR-AE -- LATH065 -- 7221 11/06/2008 07:15 EST http://www.prnewswire.com