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Wall Street Journal--Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) reported today a 0.7% rise in U.S. same-store sales excluding fuel, the lower end of its forecast (see top chart above, click to enlarge). The firm's Sam's Club chain posted a 0.7% drop because of losing a day of sales to Easter closures. That hurt sales by 2 to 2.5 percentage points, the company said.

Wal-Mart's namesake chain had a 0.9% increase amid continued strength in groceries, health and wellness and entertainment. Wal-Mart described Easter sales as "good" despite the holiday's earliness this year shortening the season's selling period. Home-related sales remained weak.

What didn't make it into the WSJ's report was Wal-Mart's strong international performance (at stores in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom), with a 5-week sales increase of almost 19% (see bottom chart above), which might suggest that the economic slowdown in the U.S. has not spread internationally, and also suggests that U.S. companies can remain profitable from strong international sales despite a domestic slowdown.

“We are pleased with the overall performance of our International markets,” said Mike Duke, vice chairman responsible for Wal-Mart International. “We had strong sales performance in key countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and China.”

Source: Wal-Mart's International Surge