Strong performance at Asda boosts Wal-Mart

| November 12, 2009 | 0 Comments
Strong performance at Asda boosts Wal-Mart

The world’s biggest supermarket, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, has described the current sales environment as “difficult”.

The retailing giant said sales were down 0.4% in the three months to 31 October at stores open for more than 12 months.

US consumers continue to rein in their spending as the economy continues to see a rise in unemployment, despite the US emerging from recession in the third quarter.

Wal-Mart said it continues to slash prices amid rising unemployment and is to take on major rivals such as Amazon.com and Target.

Meanwhile, the retailer reported a 9% increase in quarterly underlying profit at overseas businesses, outperforming its US operations with strong performances in the UK, Mexico and Brazil.

Wal-Mart, which employs over 2 million people, serves more than 100 million shoppers a year from over 8,000 stores across 15 countries.

Wal-Mart’s UK business, Asda, saw sales rise 5.6% in the period. According to chief financial officer, Judith McKenna, all parts of the business - food, home and leisure, and clothing - were outperforming their respective markets.

Meanwhile, there have been reports of a price war this Christmas among British retailers. Asda said today it was slashing prices on 50 home technology products and accessories, including a Philips Blu-Ray DVD player and an Intempo iPod Dock.

Asda said its price cuts would save customers £150 million this Christmas.

In the meantime, Tesco said it would also cut prices, which will see a BMX Anaconda bike at half price and said it would save shoppers £250 million this festive season.

Asda has been gaining market share during the recession. Tesco is currently the market leader with a 30% share.

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