Walmart has reported that net sales for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2011 increased 3.4% to $419bn (£259.9bn), while international sales grew 12.1% to $109bn (£67.6bn).

Walmart has reported that net sales for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2011 increased 3.4% to $419bn (£259.9bn), while international sales grew 12.1% to $109bn (£67.6bn). In the US, its Walmart division saw total sales increase 0.1% to $260bn (£161.3bn) while Sam’s Club grew sales 3.5% to $49.5bn (£30.7bn).

On a comparable basis, Walmart US recorded its seventh consecutive decline in like-for-like sales. Comps, excluding fuel, at Walmart US declined 1.6% while Sam’s Club saw like-for-likes up 1.7%, resulting in a total decline of 1.1% for its total US operations.

Operating income grew 6.4% to $25.5bn (£15.8bn). By segment, it rose 3.1% to $19.9bn (£12.3bn) at Walmart US while Sam’s Club saw operating income increase 12.9% to $1.7bn (£1.05bn). Walmart International recorded a 14.4% rise in operating income to $5.6bn (£3.47bn).

After rationalising about 15% of its SKU base, Walmart US will now look to work with suppliers to “deliver the broadest assortment at the lowest price in the market”, according to a Walmart statement. “This includes continued focus on adding merchandise back on the shelves as well as in action alley in the stores.” But Walmart’s SKU rationalisation process has not entirely gone to plan; last year it reintroduced 300 items that had previously been delisted. More needs to be done.

While some shoppers have defected to competing grocers for assortment, others have explored alternative formats for better prices. Walmart has reported seven consecutive quarters of negative like-for-like sales growth while competing dollar stores have enjoyed like-for-like sales growth rising in the mid to high single-digits. It is no surprise a return to its core offering of well-known brands at Everyday Low Prices is very high on Walmart’s agenda.

President and chief executive Mike Duke noted that every international market contributed a sales increase during the year: “Walmart International continues to be our growth engine and we expect accelerated growth in emerging markets.”

Walmart de Mexico was one of the best performers, with net sales for the full year rocketing 24.2% to MXN335bn (£17bn). Scot Rank, executive president and chief executive for Walmart de México y Centroamérica, said: “During 2010 we achieved sound growth figures. We strengthened our leadership position in Mexico and incorporated Central American operations to our results, achieving increases of 24% in sales, 21% in operating income and 24% in EBITDA.”

Robert Gregory, global research director, Planet Retail. For more information contact us on:

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