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Wal-Mart Sales Up, But Comps Flat In Quarter

8/16/2011 09:28:05 AM Eastern
UPDATED! Bentonville, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores reported that Walmart U.S. and Sam's Club reported higher sales in its fiscal second quarter, but corporate comp sales were flat in the U.S.

Walmart U.S. stores had sales of $64.9 billion, up 0.4 percent, but comp-store sales, excluding fuel, was down 0.9 percent in the quarter, compared with a 1.8 percent drop the prior year.

Sam's Club reported sales of $12 billion, excluding fuel, an increase of 4.9 percent when compared with the prior year's second quarter. Sam's Club had a 5 percent increase in comp-store sales for the quarter vs. the prior year's 1 percent increase.

Total comp-store sales for Wal-Mart Stores were flat in the quarter, excluding fuel, compared with a 1.4 percent drop in last year's quarter.

Operating income for Walmart U.S. stores was up 2.1 percent to $4.9 billion compared with last year, while Sam's Club had a gain of 15 percent to $492 million.

Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president/CEO, commented, "Our hardlines [sales] are improving," but he noted, "We remain concerned about the economic pressure on our customers and the uncertain impact it can have on their shopping behavior."

In a recorded earnings announcement, Simon reported that "Double-digit deflation in TV prices still exists, but our unit sales were up again. Customers want innovation, and tablets continue to sell very well. We continue to see strength in our prepaid wireless business [and] Straight Talk remains a $1 billion-plus brand for Walmart U.S."

He added that during the quarter, "we also launched a delivery and installation service program for electronics. We're providing delivery, setup and installations for TVs. We also offer basic set-up for home theater and wireless networks. The in-home service network has up to 50,000 technicians available to service our customers. Our prices are very competitive, and this now puts us on par with other electronics retailers."

At Sam's Club, Brian Cornell, president/CEO, said, "We had an outstanding second quarter, and our sales momentum remains strong. New member signups have been growing. It was in the third quarter last year that our comp performance began to accelerate, so our comparisons for the back half of this year are more challenging, but we are confident in continuing our momentum."

And in the earnings announcement, Cornell noted, "Even with average selling price deflation, our consumer electronics business delivered a mid-single-digit comp sales increase. New products like tablets are driving greater sales in electronics."

For Wal-Mart Stores as a corporation, total sales in the quarter were $108.6 billion, up 5.5 percent. Consolidated net income for the quarter was $3.8 billion, up 5.7 percent from the prior year.

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