Mexico's Walmex Posts Fourth-quarter Net Rise of 13.5 Percent

MEXICO CITY - Mexican retailer Wal-Mart de Mexico said on Monday its fourth-quarter net profit rose 13.5 percent, beating market expectations as better price negotiations with suppliers boosted operations, Reuters reports.

Walmex, majority owned by U.S. giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said in a statement its 2002 full-year results were its best ever.

"We are very satisfied and we will continue with our long- term vision and policy of reinvesting profits to modernize our operations, be more efficient and to relay to our clients, through lower prices every day, the savings we generate," said Cesareo Fernandez, Walmex's chairman.

For several successive quarters, Walmex has gained market share from competitors because of its pricing policies amid a difficult economic climate. Mexico's economy is still struggling to pick up steam after falling into a recession in 2001.

"Walmex stands out from its competitors given its strategy of negotiating (lower prices) with suppliers which allows the company to transfer savings onto customers and obviously to hold onto their confidence," said Mauricio Brocado, analyst with Ixe brokerage in Mexico City.

Walmex posted a fourth-quarter net profit of 2.108 billion pesos ($192.66 million) up from 1.858 billion pesos a year earlier.
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