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    Wal-Mart Sees Higher Sales in July, Helped by Grocery

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Price cuts helped Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. post a 1.9 percent rise in July sales at U.S. stores open at least a year, toward the top end of its forecast. However, the retailer warned that its aggressive price reductions were hurting gross margins.

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Price cuts helped Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. post a 1.9 percent rise in July sales at U.S. stores open at least a year, toward the top end of its forecast. However, the retailer warned that its aggressive price reductions were hurting gross margins.

    Same-store sales rose 1.3 percent at Wal-Mart stores and 5.1 percent at the Sam's Club warehouse unit.

    Net sales in the four weeks ended Aug. 3 rose 6.5 percent to $27 billion, while total sales for the second quarter ended July 31 were about $92 billion.

    Grocery sales were still stronger than general merchandise, and demand for electronics, including televisions, computers, and digital cameras, was robust, Wal-Mart said.

    Perishables led the increase in grocery, with solid performance in dairy and bakery, as well as pharmacy. Electronics continued to show solid comparable-store sales gains over last year, with strength in TVs, computers, digital cameras, and video games.

    The retailer said it was encouraged by positive early signs in back-to-school categories and was seeing strong demand for dorm-room items such as microwaves, small refrigerators, and coffeemakers.

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