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BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- It's a good thing for Wal-Mart that people have to eat. The latest figures from ACNielsen's Wal-Mart Channel Service for the 52-weeks ended May 14, show that growth in food and beverage sales more than offset an actual decline in sales of UPC-coded general merchandise at Wal-Mart supercenters and discount stores over the past year.
General merchandise sales at Wal-Mart were off by 0.6 percent from a year ago, while sales in health & beauty aids were up 4.7 percent, and nonfood grocery sales were up 6.5 percent. In comparison, alcoholic beverages (beer, wine and spirits) were up 18.9 percent, dairy sales increased 21.6 percent; deli was up 31.7 percent, fresh produce was up 17.7 percent, frozen foods gains 21.3 percent, and packaged meat grew 23.1 percent. Fresh meat sales more than doubled.
Overall, all departments combined for an 8.9 percent sales gain from UPC-coded merchandise in the one-year period. Dry grocery, at over $30 billion in sales, comprised almost a third of Wal-Mart's $97.2 billion in annual sales of UPC-coded products.
Besides fresh meat, the categories that exhibited the biggest year-over-year percentage sales gains were frozen breakfast foods, butter & margarine, deli, yogurt, vegetables and grains, and cheese.
The categories with the biggest declines in sales were housewares appliances, film & cameras, women's fragrances, diet aids and fresh eggs.
For more information on sales in approximately 100 major departments, go to http://www.vnusmartsupplier.com.