By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Wal-Mart Stores reported an 8.3 percent gain in net sales and a 4 percent increase for income from continuing operations during its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Jan. 31.
Net sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2008 were $106.3 billion, an increase of 8.3 percent compared with the same time the previous year. Income from continuing operations for the quarter was $4.1 billion, up 4.0 percent from $3.940 billion from 2007.
"For the fourth quarter, we topped $100 billion in sales, the first time in history that any retailer has reached this milestone in a single quarter," said Lee Scott, Wal-Mart Stores president/CEO. "We had a very strong underlying operating performance, exceeding our expectations for the quarter. In addition to another year of record sales and earnings, we also delivered a record return to our shareholders this year through more than $11 billion in share repurchase and dividends."
Scott attributed the strong results to the company's price leadership and improved customer service, especially at the Wal-Mart Stores U.S. division.
In net sales for the fiscal fourth quarter by segment Wal-Mart Stores were up 5 percent to $67.4 billion compared with the previous year's fourth quarter, Sam's Club was up 6.3 percent to $11.8 billion and international was up 18.8 percent to $27.0 billion.
For segment operating income Wal-Mart Stores was up $5.3 billion, up 5.3 percent vs. the previous year's fourth quarter, Sam's Club was up 2.5 percent to $446 million and international was up 14.5 percent to $1.74 billion.
Comp-store sales during the fiscal fourth quarter, not counting sales, for Wal-Mart stores were up 1.6 percent vs. last year's final quarter of 1.3 percent. Sam's Club had a comp-store sales gain of 2.5 percent for the quarter, down from the previous year's 3.1 percent gain. Total U.S. comp-store sales gains were 1.7 percent in the quarter, up 0.1 percent from the previous year.
Corporately net sales for the fiscal year, ended Jan. 31, were $374.6 billion, an increase of 8.6 percent over fiscal year 2007. Income from continuing operations for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2008 increased 5.8 percent to $12.9 billion, up from $12.2 billion in the prior year.
"We know that the economy remains a critical factor in this new fiscal year," Scott added. "Customers were more cautious in their spending in January. In a volatile economy, I believe we are well positioned to succeed. We will continue to strengthen our price leadership around the world."
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.