Wal-Mart Sees Steady Growth, Keys On Pricing Heading Into Holidays

by Roby Brock (roby@talkbusiness.net) 2 views 

Retail behemoth Wal-Mart reported third quarter earnings increases of nearly 9% as steady growth across its three major divisions boosted sales and profits.

The Bentonville-based retailer reported quarterly sales of $113.204 billion, up from $109.516 billion one year ago. The 3.4% rise in sales was driven more heavily from increases in U.S. sales and Sam's Club sales, up 3.6% and 4.7% respectively. International sales rose 3.4% compared to one year ago.

Third-quarter sales at U.S. Wal-Mart stores open at least a year and excluding fuel increased 1.5%.

Total revenue for the quarter topped $113.929 billion compared to $110.226 billion in the third quarter of 2011.

Net income for Wal-Mart rose to $3.635 billion, up 8.7% from a year ago when profits topped $3.344 billion.

“We’re very pleased with our financial performance for the third quarter and the dedication and hard work of our associates serving Walmart customers and communities around the world,” said Mike Duke, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. president and CEO.

“Our disciplined approach to operating the business and to the productivity loop drove profitability and expense leverage,” said Duke. “Our fundamentals are strong, and we are well-positioned for the fourth quarter, including innovative plans to drive traffic, especially in our U.S. stores.”

Duke said pricing will continue to be a major factor for U.S. customers heading into the holidays.

“Our strong price position and broad assortment are clear competitive advantages,” he said. “Across all of our markets, we are seeing the same price consciousness as we do in the United States. More customers are part of a growing global middle class, looking for quality, value and a better life, and our EDLP [everyday low pricing] model matters to these customers.”

Duke also noted that the company is continuing investments in e-commerce.

“We made significant progress this quarter in enhancing our walmart.com site for U.S. customers, and we are expanding e-commerce opportunities for shoppers in our key markets, including China, the U.K. and Brazil,” said Duke. “We also increased our position in China e-commerce retailer Yihaodian to 51 percent.”