BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores here said Thursday sales of food, pharmacy and other consumables at its U.S. stores were essentially flat for the fiscal year that ended Jan. 31, but the company expects to see improvements before mid-year.
“Deflation continued to have an especially onerous impact on comparable sales for the year, dropping by more than 300 basis points from the inflation we experienced late last year,” Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman, said. "But the trends are improving, and we believe food deflation pressures will abate by the beginning of the second quarter.”
Castro-Wright made his comments during a prerecorded investor call in which Wal-Mart executives discussed financial results for the year and fourth quarter.
Net income for the quarter rose 22.2% to $4.6 billion, while sales were up 4.5% to $112.8 billion; for the year, net income increased 7% to $14.3 billion, while sales increased 0.1% to $405 billion. Excluding fuel, comparable-store sales in the U.S. fell 1.6% for the quarter, with Walmart declining 2% and Sam's Clubs up 0.7%. For the year, overall comps excluding fuel were flat, dropping 0.2% at Walmart and rising 1.4% at Sam's.
Read More of Today's Headlines