BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores here said last week it had record sales and earnings for the third quarter ended Oct. 31, while sales and earnings were also up for the year-to-date.
lion for the year-to-date.
Same-store sales for the quarter increased 4.9%, including a jump of 4.5% in the Wal-Mart Stores segment, which includes supercenters, and 6.6% in the Sam's Clubs segment.
Sales in the Wal-Mart segment -- encompassing 1,723 discount stores and 866 supercenters -- rose 10.5% to $29.2 billion for the quarter and 12.2% to $86.4 billion for the 39 weeks.
Tom Schoewe, chief financial officer, said food sales at supercenters rose 34% in the third quarter, although he did not specify a dollar figure. He also said supercenter comps were higher than comps for discount stores because of the increased food component, "which produces more consistent traffic, allowing us to capture a higher percentage of consumer spending."
Schoewe said gross margins for food were up for the quarter and the year-to-date, while total gross margins at supercenters declined as food increased as a percentage of total sales during the quarter.
In the Sam's segment -- which encompasses 469 club units and 15 Neighborhood Markets -- sales rose 9.3% to $6.6 billion for the quarter and 8.8% to $19.3 billion for the 39 weeks. According to Schoewe, comparable-store sales at Sam's were higher than comp sales at discount stores because the clubs tend to attract a higher-income consumer who is less affected by concerns over high gas prices and winter heating bills.
He said the strong sales performance for the clubs came in the Southwest and Southeast.
Sales in the international segment -- which includes 1,045 stores worldwide, including the following countries: Argentina (11 units), Brazil (18) , Canada (169), China (eight), Germany (95), Korea (six), Mexico (483), Puerto Rico (15) and the United Kingdom (240) -- rose 25.8% to $7.4 billion for the quarter and 71.1% to $22 billion for the year-to-date.
Jay Fitzsimmons, corporate treasurer, said sales were particularly strong in three countries: Canada, where sales rose more than 15% for the quarter and 18% for the nine months, while comps were in "the low teens" for the quarter, due in part to 11 discount store openings during the quarter; Mexico, where sales rose 21.8% and comps rose 12% (including 10% at supercenters and 20% at clubs); and the United Kingdom, where sales rose "in the high single digits" and comps rose "in the solid mid-single digits," driven by high primary shopper growth, primary shopper loyalty and increased average ticket size.
He said Asda's market share in the United Kingdom rose to 14.2%, just 0.1% behind No. 2 J Sainsbury.
Fitzsimmons said sales in Germany "grew faster than the retail market, and we are gaining share." He said sales were up 7% for the nine-month period, and comps rose almost 11%, following remodeling activities at 22 stores. Results in Germany are still below Wal-Mart's business plan, Fitzsimmons added, "but we are moving in the right direction, though it will take several more quarters before we are back on plan."
The company said sales in the McLane segment rose 19% to $2.4 billion for the quarter and 17% to $7 billion for the nine months.