BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores here said last week in a pre-recorded conference call that comparable-store sales in food products were up in the mid-single digits in the third quarter ended Oct. 31. The company noted that consumers seem to be "gravitating more toward opening price points."
er year-ago results. Wal-Mart said it was able to increase its margins in the quarter through decreased markdowns, reduced shrink and a better mix of higher-margin sales.
Through three quarters, Wal-Mart reported profits of $5.51 billion, up 22.9%, while sales increased 12.9%, to $173.45 billion.
In its international division, the company said Brazil, Canada, the United Kingdom and Puerto Rico were its strongest markets in the third quarter.
Separately, Wal-Mart's effort to bring its discount style of retailing to Germany was dealt a blow last week when that country's highest court reportedly ruled that selling staples such as milk and butter below wholesale prices damaged competition.
Two years ago, Germany's Federal Cartel office ordered Wal-Mart and two German retailers, Aldi and Lidl, to stop selling below cost but Wal-Mart challenged the ruling in court, according to reports. Wal-Mart was not available for comment.