Grocery Helps Wal-Mart's December Comps Rise 2.7 Percent

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. here said yesterday its total comparable store sales for the five-week period ending Jan. 4, 2008 rose 2.7 percent, including fuel, driven by strengths in grocery, pharmacy, and electronics. Total sales were up 8.4 percent to $46.597 billion.

"In a difficult retail environment, we were pleased with our comparable store sales during this period," said Eduardo Castro-Wright, Wal-Mart Stores U.S. president and c.e.o. in a statement. "Wal-Mart's food performance was very strong, which helped drive traffic to other areas of the stores."

Castro-Wright also cited the retailer's "price leadership position," which he said "was clear very early in the holiday season.

"Customers were also pleased with the improvements they saw through our faster, friendlier check-outs, as well as their overall in-store experiences," he added.

Within the food category, products related to entertaining and holiday baking performed well, Wal-Mart said.

The Wal-Mart Stores U.S. segment (supercenters and conventional Wal-Marts) saw a 2.6 percent jump in comps, while Sam's Club experienced a 3.4 percent increase in comps. (Both figures include fuel sales.)

Net sales at Wal-Mart U.S. were $29.689 billion -- a 5.6 percent jump from the same period last year -- and net sales at Sam's Club rose 4.3 percent to $4.938 billion.
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