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Wal-Mart Ups Income Despite Declining Sales

18 Feb, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Wal-Mart Feb. 18 reported a 5.4% increase in domestic fourth-quarter (ended Jan. 30) operating income to $5.6 billion (from $5.3 billion the previous year), despite declines in revenue and same-store sales.

Sales in the United States fell 0.5%, to $70.9 billion from $71.2 billion, due in part to deflationary measures in electronics and grocery segments.

Wal-Mart, which is the largest retailer of home entertainment, has aggressively ramped up consumer electronics offerings, including selling the lowest-priced Blu-ray player (at $78) on the market.

Same-store sales (open at least a year) fell 2% as the retail giant attracted more consumers who spent less.

Mike Duke, president and CEO of Wal-Mart, said the ongoing recession would hamper early 2010 results, underlining continued cost-cutting measures throughout the company.

Indeed, Wal-Mart recently shuttered 10 Sam's Club locations and initiated layoffs at its corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

"We remain focused on growing top line sales, and expect improvement in the United States as the year progresses," Duke said in a statement.



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