Wal-Mart Posts Gains For U.S., Sam's Club Units

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Bentonville, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores reported higher corporate net sales in its fiscal third quarter, with gains in its Walmart U.S. and Sam's Club operations.

Net sales for the third quarter of fiscal year 2012 were $109.5 billion, an increase of 8.2 percent from $101.2 billion in net sales in last year's third quarter. Net sales for the quarter included $2.1 billion in sales from acquisitions in the U.K. and South Africa, and a currency exchange translation benefit of $1.3 billion.

Consolidated net income attributable to Walmart was down 2.9 percent to $3.34 billion compared with last year's third quarter.

Net sales for Walmart U.S. were $63.8 billion in the quarter up 2.7 percent from last year. Operating income for Walmart U.S. was $4.63 for the quarter, up 5.1 percent from the prior year. Comp-store sales without fuel for the segment vs. the prior year were up 1.3 percent.

Sam's Club net sales were $13.3 billion in the quarter, up 2.7 percent from the prior year. Operating income in the quarter was $390 million, up 6.3 percent. Sam's Club comp-store sales without fuel were up in the quarter by 5.7 percent.

Mike Duke, Wal-Mart Stores president/CEO, said, "Both Walmart U.S. and Sam's Club exceeded comp sales guidance, and I'm pleased that the sales momentum positions us exceedingly well for the holidays."

The economy continues to weigh on Walmart U.S. customers, and Duke said the stores are continuing a strategy of investing in low prices for the holidays.

"Beyond everyday low price, Walmart U.S. has a number of additional programs in place for the fourth quarter, including the Christmas price guarantee, holiday layaway services and free online shipping options," said Duke.

Walmart U.S. said that comp sales were driven by an increase in average ticket, partially offset by a decline in traffic versus last year, but that hardlines was one of the categories that had positive comps during the quarter.

 "Three key elements drove the comp improvement in the third quarter," said Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president/CEO. "Our focus on expanded assortment, product innovation and local relevance improved merchandise offerings throughout the store and customers responded. Productivity initiatives improved in-stock levels, and we continue to drive price leadership in all our stores."

For Sam's Club, comparable traffic and ticket, excluding fuel, were both higher than the comparable period last year and increased for both Business and Advantage members for the 13-week period.

In a pre-recorded earnings call, Walmart U.S. president/CEO Bill Simon said the chain's third-quarter comp sales within the entertainment category, which includes CE and toys, fell by the mid-single digits, "reflecting the ongoing impact from electronics

Simon noted that "Shoppers are clearly aware of the pricing environment, and more of them are turning to Walmart for unbeatable prices, leading to an overall increase in our units for the quarter." He added that Walmart's exclusive Straight Talk prepaid mobile plan through TracFone "continues to sell well, and the release of the Straight Talk Android phone in September drove sales even further."


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