Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.
Thank you very much;
you're only a step away from
downloading your reports.

Clean Sweep in Aisle Three: Wal-Mart Sales Exceed Expectations


Bentonville's finest continues to outperform battered retail sector.

Wal-Mart's (WMT) February sales exceeded analysts' estimates as consumers hunted for bargains in the deepening recession.

But other major retailers reported sharp declines. Luxury goods and department stores were especially hard hit.

Wal-Mart said February's same-store sales, or sales at stores open a year or more, rose 5.1%, beating analysts' consensus estimate of a 2.4% increase.

Buyers scooped up groceries and personal care products. The world's largest retailer said housewares and entertainment products also sold well, suggesting more people are preparing meals at home and reducing trips to the movie theater. The sales figures exclude gasoline.

Meanwhile, rival Target (TGT) said same-store sales fell 4.1%, lower than the 4.8% drop analysts expected, underscoring Wal-Mart's marketing savvy and muscle.

Costco (COST), the nation's largest operator of membership warehouse stores, said February same-stores sales increased 4%. Sales at Wal-Mart's Sam's Club, the number 2 chain in the sector, were up 5.9%. Sales at BJ's (BJ), which is number 3 in the sector, rose 8.2%. The common theme: Bargains.

The few bright spots in retail sales probably aren't the first signs of a turnaround. The US Labor Department says the number of new jobless claims and the number of people receiving unemployment benefits dropped last week, but analysts expect forthcoming employment data will show joblessness climbed to 7.9% in February from 7.6% in January.

Rising unemployment suggests more bad news ahead. The Conference Board's consumer confidence level -- a survey of 5,000 households -- fell to 25 in February from 37.4 in January, the lowest level since data collection began in 1967.

Look for more retail sales reports like this: Macy's (M) said same-store sales declined 8.5% and J.C. Penny (JCP) reported an 8.8% decline.

Not surprisingly, luxury stores have been among the hardest hit as the market for $5000 purses and expensive clothing evaporates. Nordstrom (JWN) said February sales fell 15.4%. Saks (SKS) said same-store sales were off 26% in February.

Surprisingly, the recession is taking a bite out of hanky-panky. Limited Brands (LTD), operator of Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Works, reported a 7% drop in sales.
< Previous
  • 1
Next >
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Videos