Strong performance at Asda boosts Wal-Mart

Strong performance at Asda boosts Wal-Mart

The world’s biggest supermarket, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, has described the current sales environment as a�?difficulta�?.

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 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-Marta��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 A?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 A?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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