Wal-Mart "disappointed" with US performance

Wal-Mart Stores, the world’s largest retailer, has continued to see its international operations drive growth as it recorded another quarter of declining sales in its US division.

The retailer’s president and CEO Mike Duke said today (February 22) that despite being “pleased” with Wal-Mart’s “strong earnings performance for the fourth quarter and the full year”, he was “disappointed” by its fourth-quarter sales in the US.

Wal-Mart’s US division recorded a 0.5% decrease in net sales to $71.1 billion during the fourth quarter ended January 31.

Duke said Wal-Mart president Bill Simon is implementing a “four-point plan designed to deliver better results” but that it will take time to see positive comparable-store sales.

“Some of the pricing and merchandising issues in Wal-Mart ran deeper than we initially expected, and they require a response that will take time to see results,” Duke said.

Excluding fuel, comparable-store sales were down 1.1% for both the year and quarter in the US, with the company attributing the fall in the fourth quarter to lower traffic.

Consolidated sales were up 2.5% for the quarter to $115.6 billion, and up 3.4% for the full year to $418.9 billion.

For the full year, net income rose 14.1% to $13.4 billion, while net income rose 27.3% during the fourth quarter to $6.1 billion.

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