Are Wal-Mart’s Record Sales an Indicator?

Wal-Mart today announced record sales for its fourth quarter, topping $100 billion. According to CEO Lee Scott, this is the first time any retailer has ever done that in a quarter, and we have no reason not to believe him.

Earnings came in just under $4.1 billion, a 4% increase over last year. And though they weren’t terribly strong, same-store sales without gas rose 1.7% year over year at the retail giant’s US stores.

Though Wal-Mart has toned down it’s US expansion plans and there are problems with the overall economy, results like this are hard to put down. As Scott says: “Customers were more cautious in their spending in January. In a volatile economy, I believe we are well positioned to succeed.”

Is he right? And is Wal-Mart’s success an indicator of retail overall, or will we see discounters succeed more than others in this environment?


3 Responses to “Are Wal-Mart’s Record Sales an Indicator?”

  1. 1 deal junkie February 19, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Discount retailers like Wal-mart tend to do well in recession/slowdown, I believe. For the same reason, Wal-mart makes a good defense stock during recession.

    thanks for the link!

  2. 2 Dolores February 25, 2008 at 11:07 am

    I work in RE and we are seeing that tenants such as Dollar General are doing exceptionately well. Always a good buy, more consumers are shopping for the name brands and the DG label on staples. Even out doing the walmarts.
    These make a good solid buy for anyone looking at owning Real Estate right now.

  3. 3 joe March 3, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Since Mr. Sam passed away, sales at WalMart have increased four fold. One thing he wanted to see before death was $100 Billion in sales, he didn’t see it.

    A key gauge of WalMart’s expansion is the fact that in 1994, there were only 102 Supercenters!

    In my 30 years of retail development, I’ve watched WalMart gobble up precious retail dollars from a vast number of retail chains. Ever expanding it’s merchandising floor plan to lure more customers. The fact is, WalMart forces all retailers to be better in some fashion. Whether it be service, product, value, or convenience, all retailers competing against WalMart must adapt or fail. Grocers that succeed in the face of WalMart competiton must offer all of the above. In this trying economic period, most consumers will search out the best value for their hard earned paycheck.

    As the retailer landscape continues to change during these times, it is time to plan for the next twenty years.

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